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Flexible working

January 17th, 2010

An employee with child care responsibilities (or with responsibilities for an adult relative who requires care), can make a formal application for a variation of their contract to enable them to care for the child or relative, by completing a prescribed form and following a set procedure.

An employee must have worked for their employer for 26 weeks and must not have made another application to work flexibly in the last 12 months.

The request can specify hours, days, place of work including working from home) and shift patterns requested.

There is a specific form which can be used:

On receipt of an appplication for flexible working, the employer must arrange a meeting to discuss the application within 28 days. The employee may bring a work colleague with them for the meeting.

The employer then has a further 14 days to make a decision in relation to the application.
The employer is entitled to refuse the application on a number of grounds:-
· Burden of additional costs.
· Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
· Inability to reorganise work among existing staff.
· Inability to recruit additional staff.
· Detrimental impact on quality.
· Detrimental impact on performance.
· Insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work.
· Planned structural changes.

If the employee is not happy with the employer’s response they have the right to appeal against this decision. The appeal should be in writing and should state the reason they think the employer’s decision was wrong.

The employer must arrange an appeal meeting within 14 days and the employee is entitled to bring a work colleague to the meeting.

The employer must make a decision in relation to the appeal within 14 days of the appeal meeting.


ACAS guidance

Government guidance



 Please note that the information on this page is intended to be a guideline and is therefore a summary of the law only and not a complete guide. Before taking any action based on this information you are strongly advised to take legal advice. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained on this page is up to date and accurate, no guarantee can be given to this effect.

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