Do employees have the automatic right to change to a more flexible working pattern?

Employees with at least 26 weeks' continuous service have the statutory right to apply to their employer for a more flexible pattern of working hours or for more flexible working arrangements. The employer is required to deal with such an application in a reasonable manner, and can refuse it only on certain specified business grounds. However, employees do not have the automatic right to change to a more flexible working pattern.

Prior to 30 June 2014, employees were eligible to make a statutory request for flexible working only if the purpose was to carry out certain caring responsibilities. This requirement no longer applies.