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Flexible Working

A statutory flexible working request is a request from an employee to make a change to his or her terms and conditions of employment relating to:

  • the hours that he or she is required to work
  • the times when he or she is required to work or
  • the place where he or she is required to attend

If you have at least 26 weeks' continuous service you have the right to make a statutory request to work flexibly.

The request must specify the change being sought and the date when you propose that it should take effect. The request must also explain what you think the effect of the change will be on your team/department and how that effect may be dealt with.

You are allowed to make only one request in any 12-month period.

If you have at least 26 weeks' continuous service then you have a statutory right to apply for a more flexible pattern of working hours or for more flexible working arrangements. Your manager is required to deal with such an application in a reasonable manner, and can refuse it only on certain specified business grounds. However, you do not have the automatic right to change to a more flexible working pattern.

If you request a work schedule that reduces your regular scheduled hours/days, your pay and annual leave will be pro-rated accordingly.

You have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or work colleague at the meeting and/or the appeal meeting concerning your application for flexible working.

A flexible working request must be in writing and:

  • using a formal application for flexible working form FW (A)
  • be dated
  • specify the change(s) to working arrangements that the you would like
  • state the date on which you propose that the requested change(s) should take effect
  • indicate the effect(s), if any, you think the change(s) will have on the team/department, and how you think any such effects might be dealt with and
  • state, whether you have previously submitted a request for flexible and, if so, when.

If you have already had a statutory request for flexible working accepted you can make a subsequent request to change your working pattern again, provided that 12 months has passed since the initial request. You can make only one statutory request for flexible working arrangements in any 12-month period.

Once a flexible working request has been agreed it forms a permanent change to your contract, unless agreed otherwise, and cannot be changed without further agreement between you and your manager. You can both agree that the arrangements are temporary, or subject to a trial period. In some circumstances, for example where an employee is caring for someone with a terminal illness, the employee may wish to have only a temporary period of flexible working, which the manager may be able to accommodate.

In most cases it will be in both parties' interests for the new working arrangement to be permanent. Employees who request flexible working because they have caring responsibilities may have difficulty changing their care arrangements should the manager wish to revert to the previous working arrangements. Similarly, the manager may be unable to accommodate the employee's request for a return to a previous working pattern due to budget constraints, another employee may have been recruited to cover the work, or the work may have been rearranged.

Yes, you can appeal if your request is refused. The appeal meeting provides an opportunity for a further review of you request and for you to question in detail why the decision has been reached and whether the grounds for refusal were based on correct facts. As with the initial decision, the rejection of a request on appeal must be in writing, dated and state the ground relied upon.

You will need to note the following:

  • If the request is agreed, it normally will be on a permanent basis.
  • Whether you would like to ask for a trial period to see if the proposed arrangements suit your needs, the requirements of your role, and the team/department.
  • If you are requesting an arrangement which involves reducing your hours of work, your salary and other terms and conditions will be reduced on a pro-rata basis.
  • There will also be implications for your pension.
  • It is to your advantage to provide as much detail on the application form as possible about the pattern you would like to work, to ensure you Manager fully understands your request.
  • Consider the impact on colleagues, your manager and your job if the working pattern or arrangements change. You should aim to show on the form that your application will not harm your performance, job, team or the department in any way. In some cases, flexible working may be beneficial to the team/department – for example, if it allows you to provide additional cover at peak hours.
  • Think about any potential problems which could arise from your request. How could these be overcome?
  • Consider if there are any health and safety implications which may arise out of your requested flexible working arrangements. For some forms of flexible working, such as home-working, it will be necessary to carry out a risk assessment in conjunction with you as outlined in the Agile Working Policy.
  • Getting advice from colleagues (particularly if they are already working flexibly) or from your trade union on your application and completing your form.
  • Be familiar with the details on your Flexible working application and be prepared to expand or explain any of your application.
  • Prepare to be flexible. Your manager may ask you to consider a trial period or alternative forms or patterns of flexible working.
  • If you wish to be accompanied, ensure you inform your manager (or HR if it is an appeal meeting). Ensure that you fully brief your colleague or trade union representative in advance.
  • Read the Authority’s Flexible Working Policy and Procedure.
  • Your trade union representative should be able to assist you and may have further information for you.
  • Your designated HR Officer can also provide assistance.
  • You can also find information online – the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform produce a comprehensive Guide for Employees and Employers on Flexible Working on the .gov website.


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Page updated: 16/04/2021 14:30:02