When the legislation regarding the right to request flexible working first came into effect under the provisions set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996, it would be fair to say that the world of business took a slight sharp intake of breathe for fear of negative impact.  However, the actual impact has been opposite – employees benefitting from this statutory right prove to feel more committed & motivated to their employer.  Flexible Working – if done correctly – can boost productivity and morale.

In recent years there has been a growing demand for flexible working.  This is mainly driven by employees wishing to maintain a level of work-life balance, but also sometimes driven by employers wishing to flex their business in line with differing customer needs.  Latest figures show that 39.3 million adults are accessing the internet everyday, and the amount of employees requesting flexible working will continue to rise as people have increasing access to high-quality internet and therefore an increased ability to work from home .  A recent report by Enrst & Young revealed that 8.7million people in the UK want flexible working, while 82% of managers believe that flexible working benefits their business.

Often maintaining motivated and passionate employees means adapting your business to their needs and providing them with benefits over and above the statutory requirement.  Bit in this case, employees with 26 weeks continuous service have a statutory right to request flexible working.  That is, a change to their contractual terms and conditions of employment to work flexibly.  In the past the right only applied to the parents of children under 17, or 18 in the case of parents of disabled children or to those caring for an adult.  But in the June 2014 the legislation was changed so that any eligible employee can apply to work flexibly for any reason.

There is a mis-conception in some industries where ‘flexible working’ conjures up the idea of career mums wanting to spend less time in the office and more time with their children.  But flexible working offers the same benefits to every employee, and employers need to ensure their decision making processes regarding flexible working are applied consistently across the board.  Flexible working practices include Part-time working, Term-time working, Job sharing, Flexitime, Compressed hours, Annual hours, Working from home on a regular basis, Mobile working/teleworking, Career Breaks, Commissioned Outcomes & Zero Hours Contracts.


For the Employer – C4HR can develop your family friendly policies, including the right to request flexible working .  We have HR professionals with expertise knowledge in the areas of policy development and employment law .  Click HERE to see how we could help you today.

For the Employee – We can advise you on the best way to write your flexible working request and guide you through the process to ensure your request has been considered to an acceptable level, and within the realms of your statutory rights.  Click HERE to see details of our Support Line where you can talk to one of our qualified friendly HR Experts.