Your right to flexible working hours

Published: 07/10/2014

There’s been a lot in the news recently about flexible working hours so we thought, to make it easy for you, we’d explain what this latest development in employment law means to you and/or your loved ones.

If you’re anything like us, you’ve got a lot of plates spinning so the possibility of some flexibility from your employer would definitely be welcomed by many workers. Well good news…

As of 30th June 2014 all UK employees can now ask their employer for flexible working hours, an opportunity that had previously only been available to parents and carers.

There are a number of different types of flexible working hours so, before you apply, be sure you know what type you would like to request.

  • Job sharing
  • Working from home
  • Part time
  • Compressed hours
  • Flexitime
  • Annualised hours
  • Staggered hours
  • Phased retirement.

You will then need to write to your employee with your request. Your letter will need to include:

  • The date
  • A statement that this is a statutory request
  • Details of how you would like to work flexibly including a start date
  • An explanation of how they think flexible working might affect the business and ways they believe such issues could be overcome
  • Confirmation that this is their first application or, if not, when they made their previous application (you can only make one application for flexible working per year).

Download Sample Application Form

No guarantees

The change in law means employees can ask for flexibility; it doesn’t mean employers have to agree to it. A business has three months to make a decision and can reject an application for any of the following reasons:

  • Extra costs which will damage the business
  • The work can’t be reorganised among other staff
  • People can’t be recruited to do the work
  • Flexible working will affect quality and performance
  • The business won’t be able to meet customer demand
  • There’s a lack of work to do during the proposed working times
  • The business is planning changes to the workforce.

Right to Appeal?

You can only appeal your employer’s decision if they:

  • Didn’t handle the request in a reasonable manner (e.g. assessing the pro and cons of the application and/or holding a meeting with you to discuss the application)
  • Withdrew the application
  • Treated you poorly following the request (e.g. overlooked for a promotion or pay rise)
  • Rejected the application based on incorrect facts.

You cannot simply appeal because your request was rejected.

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