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Requesting flexible working

How to get your flexible working request right the first time.

Putting in a formal flexible working request can be a daunting prospect, especially when you know that you can only put in one per year – you want to get it right the first time. Firstly, if your company has one, read the flexible working policy.

Then, informally, you’ll want to have a conversation with your line manager about what you’re looking for and what their expectations are. Ideally, you’ll have some kind of understanding between the two of you before you put in your formal written request so it’s not something that comes out of the blue for your manager.

Be open to negotiation and be flexible yourself.

The more rigid you are with your request, the more difficult you’re potentially making it for your line manager to accommodate the request. It’s a good idea to know your ideal working arrangement but also some other options that you’re willing to consider.

And now for the formal part.

If you've been working for your current employer for at least 26 weeks, then you have the statutory right to request flexible working. (This goes for everyone, not just parents.)

You must

  • Make your request in writing

  • Include the date

  • Explain how you want to work flexibly and from what date

  • State if and when you made a previous application for flexible work Include a statement that this is a statutory request

  • Address how you think this may affect the business (include positive gains for the business, but also address any possible detrimental impact and how you would mitigate this impact)

Your employer

Employers are required to consider requests in a reasonable manner and can only refuse them if there is a business reason for doing so. This reason must be one of the following:

  • extra costs that will damage the business

  • an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff

  • an inability to recruit additional staff

  • a detrimental impact on quality

  • a detrimental impact on performance

  • a detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work a planned structural change to the business.

The process

  1. You write to your employer.

  2. Your employer considers the request and makes a decision within three months.

  3. If your request is approved then your employment contract will be updated. If your request is rejected then your employer must respond with their business reasons for the refusal.

  4. You can appeal if your employer has a policy which allows you to do so. Or you may be able to go to an employment tribunal. You can only make one application for flexible working a year.

For more information visit ACAS and gov.uk

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Doyenne Flex Ltd, (Company No. 11582231 England & Wales)

59 Southerngate Way, London, SE14 6DW