Toggle high contrast

All employees from the first day of employment have the right to request flexible working arrangements. This can be especially important for working mums, dads and carers.

Flexible working can take lots of different forms, including working from home, job-sharing, compressed hours, predictable shift patterns and term-time working.

If you’re going to request flexible working, an informal conversation with your line manager might be a good place to start. Your union rep can also help you with your application.

Once you’ve made the request, your employer is legally required to consider it. But they can refuse to grant flexible working on certain business grounds (e.g. if it causes extra costs, or if they can’t recruit the extra staff required). If your employer plans to reject all or part of your request, they must consult with you first.

Many good employers will offer better flexible working rights than the legal minimum. These should be included in your contract of employment or your staff handbook.

When requesting flexible work arrangements, make sure that what you’ve agreed is clear and recorded in writing. You should also consider how your request might affect other parts of your working life, such as take-home pay and holidays.

Remember that any change to your contract terms will be permanent unless you and your employer agree something different.  You could consider asking your employer whether you can try out the new arrangements first, to see how they will work out.   

Are you a rep? You can find more practical advice on a range of workplace issues in our support for reps section

I've got a young family and would like to change my work patterns. What are my rights?
As long as you are an employee, and you have been working continuously for your employer for at least 26 weeks, you have the right to make a request to work flexibly, and for your employer to consider that request.
How should I go about making a request for flexible working?
Acas has put together a Code of Practice for employers on handling requests to work flexibly in a reasonable manner, plus guidance which includes some worked examples. You can find these documents on the Acas website.
Under what circumstances can my employer refuse my request for flexible working?
Your employer may only turn down a request for flexible working on one or more of a number of ‘business’ grounds. These include reasons such as the burden of additional costs, detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand, inability to reorganise work among existing staff and insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work.
What should my employer do when they get my flexible working request?
The rules your employer must follow are set out in the Acas Code of Practice on handling requests to work flexibly in a reasonable manner. Your employer must consider your request and arrange to discuss it with you as soon as possible.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication

To access the admin area, you will need to setup two-factor authentication (TFA).

Setup now