Flexible working requests: the rules


Any employee who has worked for their employer for 26 weeks is eligible to make a formal request for flexible working provided that they have not previously made a request within the last 12 months. The request to work flexibly can be made for any reason despite the misconception that flexible working are only for new parents returning from family friendly leave or people with caring responsibilities.

A flexible working request can be made for a number of reasons including to request:

  •  job sharing  (two people do one job and split the hours)
  • working from home (it may be possible for an employee to do some or all of their work from home or anywhere else other than their normal place of work)
  •  part time hours (working less than full-time hours, usually by working fewer days)
  • compressed hours (working full-time hours but over fewer days)
  • flexitime (the employee chooses when to start and end work (within agreed limits) but works certain ‘core hours’)
  • annualised hours (the employee has to work a certain number of hours over the year but they have some flexibility about when they work)
  • staggered hours (the employee has different start, finish and break times from other staff members)
  • phased retirement (as there is no longer a default retirement age, older workers can choose when they want to retire. This means they can reduce their hours and work part time)

Requests should be made in writing, setting out the flexible working arrangements an employee is requesting, how the employee thinks those arrangements might affect the business and how this could be dealt with, the date of the request and whether any previous application has been made and the date of that application.

Many employers are now encouraging their employees to work more flexibly, particularly in relation to working from home to give employees more freedom as to when they need to be in the office. For example, some employers have given their employees the ability to work from home one day each week or per fortnight. If an employee chooses to work flexibly in circumstances where it has been permitted by their employer, there is no need to make a flexible working request to do so.

Employees need to be mindful, however, that any flexibly offered by their employer could be revised or revoked at any time as such an arrangement is unlikely to amend their terms and conditions of employment. Unlike a formal flexible working request, which does, when granted, amend an employee’s terms and conditions of employment.

Kayleigh Leonie

If you have questions about flexible working and how it may affect or benefit your business, get in touch with us on hello@tandonhildebrand.com.

Wellbeing + TandonHildebrand