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How to request flexible working

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If you are an employee, you have a statutory (legal) right to request flexible working from your first day of employment.

You will have the right to two requests a year – with employers needing to respond within two months.

Your employer can accept, partially accept or reject your request based on the needs of the business.

Have a conversation with your employer first

Before writing a formal request for flexible working, it is generally a good idea to have a discussion with your employer.

In this way you can:

  • Tell them about your intention to submit a statutory request for flexible working
  • Ask about the company’s flexible working policy
  • Explain why you need a new arrangement for your working hours (for example, childcare or caring responsibilities, reducing the cost and time of your commute, phased retirement) and how this could have a positive impact on your wellbeing and productivity
  • Show that you have understood the business peaks and troughs in activities during the week, and that you are flexible and willing to compromise as well to avoid any loss in productivity.

Demonstrating how the flexible work pattern will benefit them as well as you is called “making the business case”.

Making a formal request

After this initial conversation with your employer, it’s then time to put your formal request in writing.

Find more information on making a flexible working request on the acas website (external website), including a request letter template. There’s also more information on flexible working on (external website).

Your employer should respond within 2 months of you making the written request. This could be longer if you’ve agreed that with them.

If you are a parent or a carer who would like to change working hours, you can find more advice on flexible working from Working Families (external website).

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