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Flexible Working

Flexible working opportunities can benefit everyone - employers, employees and their families. Most employers now recognise that it makes good business sense to provide flexible working opportunities for their staff. Find out below if you have the right to request a flexible working pattern.

What is it?

'Flexible working' is a phrase that describes any working pattern adapted to suit your needs. Common types of flexible working are:

  • Flexi time: choosing when to work (there's usually a core period during which you have to work)
  • Annualised hours: your hours are worked out over a year (often set shifts with you deciding when to work the other hours)
  • Compressed hours: working your agreed hours over fewer days
  • Staggered hours: different starting, break and finishing times for employees in the same workplace
  • Job sharing: sharing a job designed for one person with someone else
  • Homeworking: working from home
  • Part time: working less than the normal hours, perhaps by working fewer days per week

Remember, this list is not exhaustive and there may be other forms of flexible working that are better suited to you and your employer.

How to request flexible working?

All employees have the legal right to request flexible working - it isn't solely for parents and carers. Unless agreed when your contract was drawn up, you must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks to be eligible. 

What employers must do?

Your employer must deal with your request in a 'reasonable' manner. They can refuse your application if they have a good business reason for doing so, but they must have assessed the advantages and disadvantages of your flexible leave request, have held a meeting to discuss this with you and offered an appeal process if the request was refused.

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