Flexible working

Topic Index
What is flexible working?
Making a flexible working request
Employers’ obligations re flexible working requests
Reasons for refusing a flexible working request
Competing flexible working requests
Discrimination and flexible working
Tribunal powers re flexible working requests
Tips for handling flexible working requests
Flexible working resources


  • All employees who’ve been employed for 26 weeks can ask to work flexibly. It’s a right to ask, not to demand.
  • The government’s expressed objective is to bring about a culture where flexible working is accepted in every workplace, for any legitimate reason, and there is no link between an employee’s status, potential or prospects and their working pattern.
  • The previous statutory procedure whereby employers had to deal with flexible working requests in a prescribed and process-driven manner has been replaced with a duty on employers to deal with requests in a reasonable manner, and within a reasonable period of time.
  • Employees must be told of the decision within 3 months.
  • As previously, only one request can be made in any 12 months.
  • An employer can still refuse a request on prescribed business grounds.
  • The revised scheme is amplified in a statutory ACAS code of practice and related guidance.
  • Micro-businesses (fewer than 10 employees) are not exempt.
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