What is flexible working?
Flexible working covers how you work, when you work and where you work.
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 request flexible working. Employees with less than 26 weeks’ service and people who are not employees can still make a request but the statutory request rules will not apply. The statutory request rules require 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 request rules, requests must be made in writing.
Discrimination and flexible working
In some cases an employer’s refusal of a flexible working request will be unlawful discrimination.
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.
Our employment team frequently advise on flexible working and part-time rights. We can help you make the strongest possible application and challenge 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.