Flexible Working – No More 9-5?

Flexible Working – No More 9-5?


Interested in working in a way that suits you? You may want to consider flexible working.

YouGov recently conducted a survey which has discovered that 6% of people in the UK still work a traditional ‘9am to 5pm’ working day, 66% of people surveyed said that they would prefer to start and finish earlier.

Flexible working is a way for employees to work in a way that suits them and meets their needs. Flexible working is any type of working that is different to the standard 9-5 working day, this could involve different working times, working from home or even changing to job sharing.

If you’re an employee and have worked with the same employer for 26 weeks or more you’re entitled to make a flexible working request. There is no right to flexible working, but you can be considered for it.

How to request flexible working

There will be a procedure that you have to follow when putting in your request.  To start with, you’ll have to write your employer a letter/email, employers are allowed to take up to three months to respond to your request. You’re only able to make one working request each year.

In order to assist your case and make it more likely that the employer will agree to accepting your request, it may be helpful to explain the proposed new working arrangements, although it is not a legal requirement to state why you want flexible working hours. However, it will help to provide a solution, for example, if you want to work less hours suggest how you’ll reorganise the work load.

Refusal of flexible working

Employers must consider all working requests within 3 months unless you’ve agreed to a longer time frame. Your employer can reject flexible working requests for a number of reasons such as:

  • planned structural changes to the business
  • unable to reorganise work amongst existing staff
  • unable recruit additional staff
  • detrimental impact on quality/performance
  • detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand
  • burden of additional costs on the business.

If your employer turns down your request for flexible working, they should give you a good explanation of why they have made this decision, the reason should not be discriminatory.

Your employer should allow a right of appeal as part of the procedure.

If your request is denied and you and your employer can’t reach a compromise, there are a number of different options if you want to take things further including:

  • contacting ACAS or using alternative dispute resolution
  • raising a grievance via your employer’s grievance procedure
  • bringing a claim to an employment tribunal if certain circumstances apply
  • brining a discrimination claim
  • resigning and claiming constructive dismissal.

If you need employment-related advice, contact Elaine Parkes Solicitors on 01424 883183