Can anyone make a flexible working request?
In order to make and write a flexible working request letter, the employee must have been employed by the same employer for 26 weeks.
An employee is only entitled to make one flexible working request every 12 months. If the request is rejected, the employee is entitled to appeal. However, they cannot make a new but slightly different request for another 12 months.
In light of this, the employee should make sure that the request they make suits the way in which they wish to work for the foreseeable future.
Who can make a flexible working request?
Any employee who has been employed for 26 weeks or more can make a flexible working request. The employee does not have to be returning from maternity leave or have any sort of caring responsibility in order to qualify.
Flexible working request letter – Sample
[Date] (Do not forget to put the date, this is a legal requirement and it will also provide the date by which your employer must respond)
Dear [Insert name]
Flexible Working Request
Please accept this letter as a statutory request for flexible working. (NOTE: You must use the term statutory request)
I have been employed as [insert job title, department, any employee reference number or other details so that you can be easily identified] since [insert date that you began employment with the company]
I currently work [insert details of times, locations, working hours etc].
I would like to work flexibly because/so that [insert brief details of why you are making a flexible working request. For example for childcare issues, spending time doing voluntary work etc].
I would like to propose changing my working [hours/times/location/home working etc] in the following way. [Set out details of any potential changes you wish to make to the way in which you work.]
I think this change will affect the business in the following ways [set out any potential hurdles that your employer might need to overcome in order to allow you to work flexibly. Think about how it might impact on your colleagues, clients/customers, the area or department in which you work and the business as a whole].
I think these difficulties could be overcome by [insert suggestions of the best way to manage the change or lessen the impact.]
I would like the change to take place on [insert date].
I look forward to hearing from you. (NOTE: The law states that all requests including any appeal must be dealt with within three months of the date of the letter.)
It is a good idea to ask for a receipt so that you can prove the date that your flexible working request was made. This will not be necessary if you have emailed it.
Flexible Working Request Letter The employer must respond within three months of the date of the request. They must also give reasonable consideration to the request and not dismiss it out of hand.
If the employee is invited to a meeting to discuss the flexible working request then they are entitled to take a colleague or trade union representative with them.
There are only 8 reasons that the employer can give for refusing a flexible working request.
- Additional cost to the business;
- Impossibility to cover the employee’s work with existing staff;
- Difficulty in recruiting additional staff;
- An impact on quality;
- An impact on performance;
- An impact on ability to meet customer demand;
- Insufficient work for the period that the employee wishes to work;
- A planned structural change to the business.
It is, however, fairly easy for an employer to find a reason which fits into one of the categories above.
Should the employer reject the request then the employee is entitled to appeal that decision. The employer may then be happy to accept the proposed changes. At this point the employee’s contract should be changed to show the changes in the terms and conditions.
An employee must not be treated less favourably because they have made a flexible working request. They cannot, therefore, be expected to accept a pay cut because of changes made to working due to an application to work flexibly. (Obviously if you work less hours then your employer will reduce your pay on a pro rata basis.) You should not, for example, have your pay reduced if you start to work from home.
Tom Street qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and has over 20 years experience in employment and litigation law. He studied law at the University of Manchester before undertaking the legal practice course at the College of Law in Guildford, going on to complete his legal training at a firm in Chancery Lane, London. Once fully qualified, he moved to a niche litigation practice in the City of London.
In 2010, Tom set up his own legal practice, Tom Street & Co Solicitors and as part of this, in accordance with his strongly held objective to provide everyone with an easy pathway to justice he established the online portals Do I Have A Case? and Tribunal Claim. These websites are trading names of Tom Street & Co Solicitors.