3. Making a statutory application

The basic steps for making an application are:

  1. The employee writes to the employer.

  2. The employer should request a meeting within 28 days to discuss the application.

  3. The employer must make a decision within 14 days of the meeting and tell the employee about it.

  4. If the employer agrees to flexible working they must give the employee a new contract. If they don’t agree the employee can appeal.

Employees can only make a statutory application if they have worked continuously for the same employer for the last 26 weeks.

Employees can only make 1 statutory application each year.

Writing to the employer

Employees can write their own email or letter to their employer, or use a template.

Employers can also ask the employee to use a standard form to make an application.

What the letter must include

All applications must be in writing.

The application must:

  • be dated
  • say that the employee either has responsibility as a parent or carer (or expects to have it)
  • say that they’re making the application under the statutory right to request a flexible working pattern
  • give details about how they want to work flexibly and when they want to start
  • explain 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)
  • say if and when they’ve made a previous application

The employee doesn’t have to include proof that:

  • they’re a parent or carer
  • no-one else can care for the child or adult they’re responsible for

Meeting to discuss the application

The meeting must happen within 28 days of the employer receiving the application.

If the responsible manager isn’t at work, the 28 days start when they get back.

The employee must give a reasonable explanation if they can’t attend the meeting. Otherwise the employer can treat the application as withdrawn.

Bringing someone to the meeting

Employees can bring a work colleague or trade union representative (‘rep’) to the meeting. The rep can discuss things with the employer but they can’t answer questions on behalf of the employee.

If the colleague or representative can’t make the meeting, it should be rearranged to take place within 7 days. The employer must allow the work colleague paid time off to attend.

Withdrawing an application

Employees should tell the employer in writing as soon as possible. The application will be treated as withdrawn if the employee misses 2 meetings (without good reason) with the employer.

If the employee doesn’t provide the extra information that the employer needs to make a decision, the application might be treated as withdrawn.

If the application is withdrawn, the employee can’t make another one for 12 months.

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