Q: Am I eligible for flexible working?

A: If you have 26 weeks’ continuous service as an employee (not a contractor, company director, shareholder or agency worker), whether you work full or part time, you are entitled to request flexible working.

Q: What types of flexible working can I request?

A: Flexible working includes options to change where you work (e.g. working from home or at another of the business’ premises); the amount of time that you work (e.g. from full time to part time or a job share) and the hours that you work (e.g. starting earlier or later).

Q: How would flexible working impact on my holiday allowance?

A: This will depend on what is in your contract of employment.  For example, if you were to ask for a reduction in working hours after using all of your holiday allowance for the year, your employer may be entitled to deduct money from your wages or decrease the amount of holiday that you can take the following year. Any reduced working week (compared to full time) will entitle you to holiday which is pro-rata to the legal minimum of 28 days (including bank holidays) or the number of holiday days given for full time workers under their contract (if greater).

Q: Why are some employees allowed to work flexibly but not others?

A: Your employer should consider every employee’s request for flexible working independently of each other.  If there is a valid reason for not granting a request (such as unacceptable additional costs to the business or creating a need to employ another worker) they can choose to not allow your request.  There are a number of business reasons why an employer may refuse a request.

Q: How should I go about requesting flexible working?

A: Your request must be made in writing to your employer and should comply with flexible working legislation, which includes: stating that you are making a statutory request for flexible working with the date of the request and also the date that you wish the change to take place; detailing the change that you are requesting and suggesting solutions to any detrimental effects that your flexible working might present to the business.

If you have made a request in the previous 12 months, you are not entitled to make another request until 12 months after making the original request.  Thereafter, your employer had a legal obligation to also consider all future requests, even if you request a change every 12 months.

Q: What can I do if my request is denied?

A: Your employer should give you the right of appeal, to reconsider the reason for the request being denied.  Unless your request has been rejected for a business reason that is allowed by the flexible working legislation, a refusal could be classed as unlawful discrimination.  If you feel that the decision made was unfair, or if you have not had a decision confirmed to you within three months of making your request for flexible working, you are entitled to make a claim to an employment tribunal.