Tag Archives: Flexible working

Tips for achieving flexible working

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors 

Flexible working has a number of benefits for both employers and employees, with increased motivation and retention of talent being key. If you are an employee and you would like to work flexibly, here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Talk to your boss informally about the concept of flexible working. There’s no need to follow the statutory procedure for the sake of it and informal arrangements can work very well.
  2. Give real consideration to how your proposed work pattern will impact on your colleagues or the workplace. If there are potential barriers that your boss may be concerned about think about how these can be overcome.
  3. Be prepared to be flexible yourself. If possible have other options so that if your proposed work pattern is not feasible there may be a slightly different alternative that could work for both you and your employer.
  4. Ask your boss if you can try your proposal for a trial period. This can help allay any fears your boss may have about whether the changes will impact on the business.



Flexible working – what kind of a right is it?

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors

There is a commonly held misunderstanding about the statutory right to request flexible working.  The right is not an absolute one.  (Small businesses as well as employees sometimes think it is.)

It is not a case of “ask and ye shall receive”; rather, ask and your employer must reasonably consider your request.

The right to request flexible working was originally available only for childcare reasons but since 30 June 2014 employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment have been able to make a request for flexible working for any reason.

The common sense behind this, and sensibly, is that employers who can accommodate flexible working patterns may have a more productive and happier workforce.  It really  doesn’t matter if the flexibility is to allow the employee to play golf every Monday or to write that novel all of us have within us.

The employee triggers the procedure by making a written request.  The employer then has a three-month decision period (which can be extended by agreement) within which to:

  • discuss the request with the employee,
  • give it some proper consideration, and
  • notify the employee of the outcome.

Applications must be dealt with in a reasonable manner and employers may only refuse a request for one of the eight reasons set out in the legislation (The Flexible Working Regulations 2014).

One potential downside for both parties is that once a flexible working application is agreed it is a permanent change to an employee’s contract.

Generally though, in my experience, employees will first broach the subject with their line manager. This is a great opportunity to try and agree a trial period for the arrangement, assuming it is workable, or to work together to try and find a happy medium. It avoids having to go through the statutory procedure and if one or both parties decides it is not working out then there is the option to revert to the original working pattern, or try an alternative.

An ACAS booklet guiding handling requests is here: Booklet