Editor's message: All employees who have a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service have the right to request flexible working. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has estimated that approximately 20 million people currently qualify for this right.
The right to request flexible working gives employees the possibility of shaping their working week around their other commitments or outside interests. Employers are not obliged to agree a request, but they are required to give it serious consideration and handle the request in a reasonable manner.
A request may be rejected if the reason for refusing it falls within one of the grounds set out in the legislation. A key consideration for employers is how to deal with competing requests from employees in wide-ranging situations. This is a popular question in the FAQs section of our resources. Please email me if you have any suggestions for new FAQs or if there is any other aspect you would like covered in our resources.
Fiona Cuming, employment law editor
When can an employer turn down an employee's request for flexible working on her return from maternity leave? In two recent tribunal decisions, employers were able to show that the potential disruption to the business justified their rejection of a new mother's flexible working request.
This employment tribunal held that an employer properly handled a new mother's rejected flexible working request to work from home primarily in the evenings.
This employment tribunal held that it was not indirect sex discrimination for a small investment banking firm to require a single-parent mother to work full time as an executive secretary.
We discuss dealing with flexible working requests, including the wider benefits of flexible working for employee wellbeing and addressing gender pay imbalances in the workplace.
All roles should be advertised as flexible unless there is a strong and continuing business reason otherwise, a committee of MPs has concluded in a report on the gender pay gap.
Additional information on the law on the right to request flexible working for NHS employers. To be read in conjunction with the general information on the law on the right to request flexible working.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to the right to request flexible working.