From 30th June 2014, all employees will be able to ask their Employer for flexible working. Prior to this date only those with ‘caring’ responsibilities were able to make a statutory request to work flexibly.

There are also changes to the timescales Employers need to consider requests in and clarity of the information an employee needs to provide when requesting flexible working.

In addition, from 8th March 2013, to comply with the Parental Leave (EU Directive) Regulations, agency workers with at least one year’s service have a right for the time to request flexible working, but can only apply on their return from unpaid parental leave.

If you do not have enough service your employer may still may be prepared to consider you working flexibly, although they have no legal responsibility to do so.

The (legal) request to work flexibly can be with regards to:

  • Hours of work (you may want to work flexi-time or do term-time working)
  • Times of work (shorter or different starting/ending times of work)
  • Place of work (you may want to work from home).

To be eligible to apply you must:

  • Be an employee who has worked with your employer continuously for 26 weeks at the date you apply for flexible working (for more information about continuous service, read our Guide here).
  • From 8th March 2013, be an agency worker who has at least one year’s service and has returned from unpaid parental leave. As your employer is likely to be the agency not the client (end-hirer) it is their decision, although this is complicated as they will need knowledge of whether this is acceptable to the client!
  • Only apply to work flexibly once in every 12 months.
  • We also look at – making the request, how the Employer should handle the request, the Employers decision. An employer has the right to agree to a trial period or a temporary change to see how a change works in practice before confirming a permanent change. If a temporary period is agreed the Employer does not have to review or consult with the employee about this time period ending.

    It is important that a business is consistent in its approach to flexible working requests, however it is accepted that business needs change over time and each request should be carefully considered on its own basis/merits.

    If you are unhappy with your employer’s decision you may be able to appeal against it, although there is no legal requirement to provide an appeal. The Company should arrange any appeal as soon as possible.