3. Applying for flexible working

Employees can apply for flexible working if they’ve worked continuously for the same employer for the last 26 weeks. It’s known as ‘making a statutory application.’

The basic steps are:

  1. The employee writes to the employer.

  2. The employer considers the request and makes a decision within 3 months - or longer if agreed with the employee.

  3. If the employer agrees to the request, they must change the terms and conditions in the employee’s contract.

  4. If the employer disagrees, they must write to the employee giving the business reasons for the refusal. The employee may be able to complain to an employment tribunal.

Employees can only make one application for flexible working a year.

Writing to the employer

An employee should email or write a letter to their employer.

Employers may ask employees to use a standard form to make an application.

What the email or letter must include

The application must include:

  • the date
  • a statement that this is a statutory request
  • details of how the employee wants to work flexibly and when they want to start
  • an explanation of how they think flexible working might affect the business and how this could be dealt with, eg if they’re not at work on certain days
  • a statement saying if and when they’ve made a previous application

Withdrawing an application

Employees should tell their employer in writing if they want to withdraw their application.

The employer can treat an application as withdrawn if the employee misses 2 meetings to discuss an application or appeal without good reason, eg sickness.

The employer must tell the employee they are treating the request as withdrawn.