Introduction to this document

Flexible working application form

Both male and female employees benefit from the right to request flexible working arrangements provided they have 26 weeks’ continuous employment and they have not made another application to work flexibly under the statutory right in the previous twelve months. If an employee makes a formal request, you need to deal with their application in a reasonable manner.

Flexible working entitlement

Employees may benefit from a number of statutory rights, including the right to request flexible working arrangements. To be eligible to make a request, an employee must have worked for you for a continuous period of 26 weeks at the date the application is made and they must have not made another application to work flexibly under the statutory right in the previous twelve months. Employees can apply to vary the hours they work, the times they work or their place of work (between their home and your place of business).

Dealing with requests in a reasonable manner

Under the legislation, you are required to deal with the employee’s flexible working application in a reasonable manner and notify them of your decision on their application within three months. This includes any appeal period. There is also a statutory Acas Code of Practice on Handling in a Reasonable Manner Requests to Work Flexibly and this will be taken into account by employment tribunals in deciding relevant cases. The Code of Practice states as follows in relation to dealing with a request in a reasonable manner:

        the employee must make a formal written request setting out the flexible working arrangement they seek and the date on which they want it to start: see the Flexible Working Application Form. Note. The employee must also provide details in their application of both the effects that they envisage the proposed arrangement will have on your business and how they think any such effects might be dealt with and they must confirm if and when they have made a previous application for flexible working

        once you have received a written request, you must consider it and should arrange to discuss it with the employee as soon as possible (although a meeting is not needed if you simply intend to approve the request). You should allow the employee to be accompanied by a work colleague at this meeting (and at any appeal meeting): see the Flexible Working Request - Invitation to Meeting

        you should consider the request carefully and make a practical business assessment on whether flexible working can be arranged. You must then notify your decision to the employee, preferably in writing, as soon as possible

        if you accept the employee’s request, you should discuss with the employee how and when the changes might best be implemented - you will need to establish a start date and provide a written note of the contract variation: see the Flexible Working Acceptance Letter

        if the application is refused, it must be for one of eight business reasons and you should explain the grounds for refusal and confirm any internal appeal procedure: see the Flexible Working Rejection Letter

        you should allow the employee to appeal any decision to reject their request: see the Flexible Working Appeal - Invitation to Meeting and the Outcome of Flexible Working Appeal Meeting Letter

        all requests, including any appeals, must be considered and decided on within a period of three months from first receipt, unless you agree with the employee to extend this period

        the employee cannot make a further application for twelve months.