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Guide to handling a flexible working request

2 minute read
£ 20

If you have received a flexible working request, this model guide sets out an effective, legal framwork to follow when handling it, and determining your response.

There is no set procedure for employers to follow when dealing with statutory requests for flexible working, but they must deal with such requests in a reasonable manner.

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What is a Guide to handling a flexible working request?

The purpose of this Guide to handling a flexible working request is to provide you with a flexible and customisable document to serve as a robust and effective starting point for you.

By using our Guide to handling a flexible working request, you can streamline your process, maintain consistency and accuracy, and save time, and it can be easily adapted to fit your specific scenario.

Guide to handling a flexible working request
guide to handling a flexible working request

Guide to handling a flexible working request


All requests should be considered positively but it may not be possible to agree to the proposal if, despite looking at alternatives, there is no sensible way to make the proposal work either for financial, organisational, business or some other substantial reason.

You must give your employee a decision within 3 months of receiving the request, including factoring in any possible appeal.

Temporary changes to working hours/patterns

Employees should discuss a request for a temporary change to their working hours/pattern with their Manager/Supervisor.

Managers/Supervisors should:

  1. Inform HR and the Director of that department that a request has been made.
  2. Review the request and make a decision in conjunction with advice from HR.
  3. Be responsible for the decision made.

HR will:

  1. Document the decision.
  2. Apply a pro-rata adjustment to the employee’s salary when a temporary change is made to total working hours per week.

Permanent changes to working hours/patterns

Any employee with at least 26 weeks of employment service has a statutory right to request a permanent change to their working hours and/or start and finish times.

Requests considered to be detrimental to the business, departmental cover, team working, co-ordination and cross-functional working should not be approved.

Employees should:

  1. Make a request by email or letter to their Manager/Supervisor, and include:
    • the date of the application
    • the changes that the employee is seeking to their working hours/patterns and the reasons for seeking the change
    • the date from when the employee would like the proposed change to come into effect (with as much notice as possible)
    • what effect the employee thinks the requested change would have on the organisation
    • how, in their view, any such effect could be dealt with
    • whether it is a statutory or non-statutory request
    • whether a previous application for flexible working has been made
    • the dates of any previous applications

NOTE: If the employee is making the request in relation to the Equality Act, e.g. as a reasonable adjustment relating to a disability, this should be made clear in the application.

Managers/Supervisors should:

  1. Inform HR that a request has been made.
  2. Meet with the employee to review the details of the request.
  3. Recommend whether the request should be accepted, rejected or modified.

The Director of the department concerned should:

  1. Make a decision in conjunction with advice from HR and the recommendation from the Manager/Supervisor.
  2. Be responsible for the decision made.
  3. Ensure any change agreed is implemented in accordance with the terms agreed and that the proposal does not result in detrimental effects to the business or department.

HR will:

  1. Arrange the initial meeting for the Manager/Supervisor to review the request with the employee as soon as possible but not later than 4 weeks from the date of receipt.
  2. Notify the employee in writing of the decision within 3 months of the original application.
  3. Allow the employee the opportunity to appeal any refusal of their request, and arrange that meeting where appropriate.
  4. Apply a pro-rata adjustment to the employee’s salary when a change is made to total working hours per week.

 

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