Introduction to this document

Response to invalid flexible working request

A flexible working application can be invalid for various reasons including if it’s not dated, doesn’t specify the change being applied for and the effective date, or doesn’t explain the effect of the change on your business and how any such effect might be dealt with. Our letter covers all the invalidity reasons and invites the employee to resubmit their application.

Flexible working entitlement

To be eligible to make a request for flexible working, an employee must have worked for you for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks at the date their application is made, and they must not have 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). Under the legislation, you’re then required to deal with the employee’s flexible working application in a reasonable manner. However, when might their application be invalid from the outset?

Invalid requests

The legislation sets out minimum information that must be covered in the employee’s flexible working application in order to make it valid. The application must be in writing and it must:

  • be dated
  • state whether the employee has previously made a flexible working application to you and, if so, when
  • state that it’s a statutory application for flexible working
  • specify the change being applied for and the date on which it’s proposed the change should become effective; and
  • explain what effect, if any, the employee thinks making the change applied for would have on your business and suggest how, in their opinion, any such effect might be dealt with.

If the employee misses out any of this essential information, their request will be invalid.

Declined application

Our Response to Invalid Flexible Working Request acknowledges the employee’s application but then outlines that you’re unable to consider it at this stage because it’s invalid. You can go on to specify which item or items of information, as outlined above, the employee failed to include in their application and we’ve provided a bullet point list for this purpose. Our letter also invites the employee to resubmit their application, this time including all the necessary information, at which point you can then deal with it. Ideally, provide our Flexible Working Application Form to the employee for this purpose – that way, they shouldn’t go wrong a second time.