Changes to Flexible Working Law

Can't find the time for a new course? Flexible working could be the answer

Changes to Flexible Working Law Would you like to spend more time studying? Or start a new course and train for a new career? All too often, it can be hard to find the time to study or take on the additional commitment of a training course.

However, on June 30th the Government's rules about flexible working will change. This means that you could be entitled to request flexi time, a job share, remote working, term-time working or 'compressed' hours from your employer.

Many employees are unaware of the changes in flexible working law or do not fully understand how it will affect them. So we've created a short Q&A to provide you with the key information.

What is flexible working?

Flexible working is a variation in your normal working pattern. It could mean job sharing, working from home, working part-time, working full time but over fewer days (compressed hours) or flexitime (choosing when to start and end work within agreed limits).

What rights do the new rules give me?

Under the new rules, you have the right to request flexible working from your employer. Please note that this doesn't mean you have the right to be given flexible working.

Who can make the request?

From June 30 all employees who have 26 weeks' service under their belt can submit a flexible working request. Employees who have been employed for less than 26 weeks and agency workers do not have a statutory right to request flexible working.

How do I make a request?

You should write to your employer and say that you are making a statutory request for flexible working. On the letter you should give the date of your application. You should state what change to your working conditions you are seeking and when you would like these changes to come into effect. It will also help to outline in your letter what effect this change will have on your employer and how you believe that effect could be dealt with. A template letter is available from the GOV UK website.

How should my employer deal with my request?

Your employer should request a meeting within 28 days of receiving your letter to discuss your application. Your employer must write to you within 14 days of the meeting and let you know what the decision is (this time limit can be longer if you both agree to it).

Changes to Flexible Working Law

What happens if my employer says 'yes'?

If your employer agrees then they should give you a new contract.

What happens if my employer says 'no'?

An employer can reject your request for any of the following reasons:

  • the additional costs will be too high
  • the business will not be able to meet customer demand
  • the business will not be able to re-organise work amongst existing staff
  • people can't be recruited to take on the additional work
  • the change will have a detrimental impact on the performance of the business
  • there will be a lack of work during the periods you are proposing to work
  • the business is planning changes to the workforce that will not fit in with your proposal

Can I appeal?

You can appeal to your employer if you disagree with the business reasons given for the rejection or if you believe the information your employer used to make the decision was incorrect or incomplete.

Is flexible working a good idea for everyone?

No. You should not make a request for flexible working without giving it careful thought, thinking about your personal and financial circumstances On the plus side you could free up time to devote to study or a new course, which could lead to a new career or an improvement in your employment prospects. On the other hand, if you reduce your hours you will have to adapt to a reduction in your salary. Remember, too, that a new contract from your employer will represent a permanent change. You do not have the right to return to the original terms of your contract in the future unless this is agreed by your employer.

Where can I get more information?

Further details about the changes in flexible working law are available from the GOV UK website.