1. Overview

Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, eg having flexible start and finish times, or working from home.

Flexible working rules are different in Northern Ireland.

All employees have the legal right to request flexible working - not just parents and carers.

This is known as ‘making a statutory application’.

Employees must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks to be eligible.

What employers must do

Employers must deal with requests in a ‘reasonable manner’.

Examples of handling requests in a reasonable manner include:

  • assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the application
  • holding a meeting to discuss the request with the employee
  • offering an appeal process

If an employer doesn’t handle a request in a reasonable manner, the employee can take them to an employment tribunal.

An employer can refuse an application if they have a good business reason for doing so.