Introduction to this document

Ineligible for flexible working letter

An employee is ineligible to request flexible working if they don’t have 26 weeks’ continuous service or they’ve already made a statutory flexible working request in the previous twelve months. Our letter confirms their ineligibility.

Eligibility criteria

Our Ineligible for Flexible Working Letter enables you to inform an employee that they’re actually ineligible to submit a request for flexible working once they’ve already purported to do so. An employee may be ineligible if either they don’t have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with you as at the date their application is made, or they’ve made a previous statutory request for flexible working in the past twelve months. So, our letter covers both of these alternative options.

Previous requests

As far as the previous requests ineligibility criterion is concerned, this only covers previous requests made under the statutory right to request flexible working; it doesn’t cover informal requests that might have been made and dealt with outside the statutory provisions. It does, however, cover earlier requests which were either subsequently voluntarily withdrawn by the employee, or which you treated as having been withdrawn in accordance with statutory provisions because of the employee’s conduct, i.e. because, without good reason, they failed to attend both the first meeting that you arranged to discuss their request and the next meeting that you arranged for that purpose, or because, without good reason, they failed to attend both the first meeting that you arranged to discuss their appeal and the next meeting arranged for that purpose. As for determining the twelve-month point, you need to look at the date when their previous application was made, not the date on which their flexible working request, or any appeal, was finally decided upon.

Re-submission entitlement

As the employee isn’t eligible to make a statutory flexible working request, their application doesn’t count as a request. This means they can simply re-submit it as soon as they do meet the eligibility criteria. Our letter therefore advises them of this. In practice, it means that you could see their application being re-submitted within a matter of weeks or even days, and certainly within the next year, assuming their circumstances haven’t changed in the meantime. With this in mind, there’s nothing to stop you considering their flexible working request now anyway, outside the statutory procedure, should you wish to do so.