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How to make a successful flexible working request

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Following on from our briefing to employers on flexible working requests and how should employers respond to a flexible working request. Lucy Croft a solicitor working in the Employment Law department advises employees on what to do when they need to consider making a flexible working request.

Making a request for flexible working

If you have worked for your employer for 26 weeks or more, then you have a statutory right to make an application for a flexible working request.

It is your duty to commence the process, by writing to your employer with a letter that must include the following:

  • The date that the application was made;
  • A statement that it is an application made under the statutory procedure;
  • Specific details of the change that will be made;
  • You must clearly explain any effect you believe the change may have on your employer, and how that change could be dealt with;
  • If you have previously made an application to your employer (i.e., 12 months ago or more), you must disclose that and state the date that the previous application was made.

It is important for you to consider exactly what changes you want to make to your employment.

You may request a change of:

  • how many hours you work;
  • a change to the times you are expected to work;
  • a change to your place of work etc; or
  • any other change.

You have a right to request a permanent change, but you can request for a temporary one also. If it is a temporary change that you wish to make, you will need to agree when your employment will revert back to how it originally was. (An example would be that you have applied to study for a course and may agree that you will go back to regular hours once the course is completed.)

It can be daunting when you need to make a change to your employment, and while your employer can refuse any changes you may wish to make, you should always remember that it is your statutory right to make a request.

Hopefully, by taking our advice you will be more relaxed and know how to make the request properly.  It is simple and all you have to do is follow the guidance above, your employer will then be obliged to deal with your case in a reasonable manner and return their decision to you within 3 months.

Reasons for refusing flexible working

The grounds for your employer refusing your flexible working request are as follows:

  • if it would be too costly to accommodate the change;
  • if the change would impact ability to meet customer demands;
  • inability to reorganise work among existing staff;
  • inability to recruit additional staff;
  • if the change would make a detrimental impact to quality of work;
  • if the change would make a detrimental impact to performance;
  • insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work; or
  • planned structural changes.

It is important when you make a request that you clearly address how the changes you are requesting can be dealt with to alleviate any impact on your employer.

How can we help

Pearson's Employment Law Solicitors work with employees and employers to resolve any matter in the workplace. For employees, it can be daunting when challenging or making a request to your employer, but our friendly and professional employment lawyers are here to help. Contact our employment lawyers on 0161 785 3500 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Lucy Croft


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