Flexible Working Rights

What is flexible working?

The principle of flexible working covers how you work, when you work and where you work.

For example, working from home, reducing your hours, changing shifts, agreeing a new type of contract, or fixing your hours, are all examples of flexible working arrangements.

What are my flexible working rights?

All employees with at least 26 weeks’ service have a legal (statutory) right to work part-time, and be able to request flexible working. Employees with less than 26 weeks’ service and people who are not employees can still make a request but the statutory right to flexible working request rule will not apply. The statutory right to request flexible working requires employers to properly consider the request, including holding a meeting with you and offering you the right of appeal.

Employers can only refuse a statutory request if one of the specified business reasons below apply:

  • the burden of additional costs
  • an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
  • an inability to recruit additional staff
  • a detrimental impact on quality
  • a detrimental impact on performance
  • detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
  • insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
  • a planned structural changes to the business

To trigger the statutory rules, requests must be made in writing.

Discrimination and flexible working


In some cases an employer’s refusal of a flexible working request will amount to unlawful discrimination.

Most commonly this arises when the reason for wanting to change the way you work is because of difficulties caused by a disability or because of childcare or other caring commitments.

If your employer is inconsistent in the way it deals with flexible working requests, this too can be unlawful discrimination or give rise to a breach of contract claim and you can open a flexible working appeal.

Our services

Our lawyers frequently advise on flexible working and part-time rights. They can help you make the strongest possible application and assist you in challenging a refusal.

If you want advice about your flexible working rights, or a flexible working appeal, you can telephone our employment team direct on 020 7653 3222 or email us enquiries@pattinsonbrewer.co.uk.