Flexible working and work-life balance: the statutory request process
If you qualify for, and choose to use, the statutory right to request flexible working arrangements there is a process you must follow.
Making a request
You need to make your request as soon as possible. Your employer has up to 3 months to deal with it from the date the request is made.
Your request for flexible working arrangements under the law must:
- be in writing.
- state your name.
- be dated.
- state that your are making the request under the law.
- explain your desired working arrangement and whether the new working arrangement will be permanent or for a period of time.
- specify the date on which you would like the new working arrangement to take effect and, if the new working arrangement is for a period of time, the date on which the new working arrangement will end.
- explain how the variation will help you to provide better care for the person concerned.
- explain, in your view, what changes (if any) your employer may need to make to their arrangements if the request is approved.
You can make a request in any format as long as it’s in writing. A standard form has been developed and can be used but is not mandatory.
It is a good idea to mention in your request, the benefits to the business of flexible working.
You’re only allowed one request under the law in each 12 month period and any changes agreed will be permanent, unless agreed otherwise.
We have developed a Guide that explains how to make a request.
Discussing your request
Your employer may suggest you meet to discuss your request. This is a good opportunity to discuss how the proposed arrangement will work for you and how it will work for the business. Flexible working arrangements work best when they suit the needs of all parties - the employee, the employer and your colleagues.
At the meeting your employer might suggest alternatives to the arrangement you asked for, or perhaps a trial period. It is up to you whether to agree to this. Bear in mind that your employer might be unable to agree to your request but may be able to agree to a compromise.
Finding out the outcome
Your employer must deal with your request as soon as possible, and no later than 3 months after receiving it. If you and your employer agree, this time limit can be extended.
If your request is declined
If your request is declined, your employer must explain why. They must give a reason from the eight allowable in the law along with an explanation of why that reason applies.
Your employer can also refuse your request if they think you are not eligible for the right to request. This may happen if, for example, they do not believe that you have the care of another person. The law doesn’t require a certain level of care nor does it require you to have a particular relationship with the person you care for. It is best to include in your request as much information as necessary about your circumstances so your employer can make the best decision regarding your eligibility.
What to do if you have problems
If you or your employer has questions about your eligibility or any other part of the process, visit our website or call the Department of Labour on 0800 20 90 20.