If an employee withdraws their statutory application for flexible working can they then make another request?

An employee who withdraws their application for flexible working will not be entitled to make another application under the statutory procedure for a period of 12 months from the date of the original request. The same is true where, pursuant to s.80G(1D) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employer treats an application as having been withdrawn because the employee has failed, without good reason, to attend two meetings to discuss the request.

Despite the restriction on making another application within 12 months, an employee may choose to make an informal request. The employer will not be required to consider it under the statutory procedure, but it can decide to consider the request on an informal basis, or under its own procedure. Employers should be aware of the risk of an indirect sex discrimination complaint if they ignore a request for flexible working, or reject it without giving it serious thought, even where the request does not come under the statutory procedure.