Introduction to this document

Flexible working request - invitation to meeting

Use our flexible working request - invitation to meeting to arrange a meeting with your employee to discuss their formal request for flexible working. However, there’s no need to arrange a meeting if you’re happy to agree to the employee’s request as it stands.

What changes?

The right to request flexible working includes the right for the employee to ask for changes to one or more of the:

 number of hours worked, e.g. part-time working, term-time working, etc.

 times of work, e.g. the days of the week worked and start/finish times

 place of work, e.g. a request to do some or all of the work from home.

Provided the employee’s application for flexible working is valid, you must then deal with it in a reasonable manner.  

Meeting to discuss

Whilst there is no longer a set statutory flexible working procedure to follow, the Acas Code of Practice on Handling in a Reasonable Manner Requests to Work Flexibly provides that you should arrange to discuss the request with the employee as soon as possible after receiving it. Obviously, the purpose of this is to see whether the request could be made to work in practice and, if not, to explore alternative work patterns with the employee. A meeting will also help you get a better idea of what changes the employee is looking for and how they might benefit the business and the employee. You must then consider the request, make a practical business assessment on it and notify your decision to the employee as soon as possible. You should do this in writing as this can help avoid further confusion on what was decided. You are not obliged to agree to a request for flexible working but you should consider any request carefully. Our Flexible Working Request - Invitation to Meeting will help you set up the meeting and provide the employee with all relevant information in advance of it.  

In particular, it emphasises that the employee should be ready to discuss alternative work patterns if their request cannot be accommodated. The Acas Code of Practice recommends that you should allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting by a work colleague (but not by a trade union representative).

No meeting

There is no need for a meeting if you wish to agree to the employee’s request as submitted