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Flexible Working

Duncan Lewis Employment Law Solicitors – Flexible Working


From 30 June 2014, every employee – and not just parents and carers – had the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks of employment.


Flexible working is a work schedule that suits an employee’s individual needs, to take into account their lifestyle balance and family commitments.


An employee may need to have flexible start and finish time to accommodate childcare – or may need to schedule remote working from home to accommodate family responsibilities.


Employees with disabilities may find working from home for part of their working schedule is more manageable, particularly if they have family commitments or transport problems.


Requests for flexible working – employees


Requesting flexible working from an employer is called making a statutory application and there is a formal procedure to be followed:


  • The request should be in writing, stating the date of the request – and whether any previous application has been made and the date of that application
  • Requests and appeals must be considered and decided upon by an employer within three months of receipt of the request
  • Employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting any request
  • Employees can only make one request in any 12-month period.


If an employer fails to handle a request in a reasonable manner, the employee is entitled to take their claim for flexible working to an Employment Tribunal.


Requests for flexible working – employers


When an employee makes a request for flexible working, an employer must deal with requests in a “reasonable manner”.


Examples of handling requests in a reasonable manner include:

  • Assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the application
  • Holding a meeting to discuss the request with the employee
  • Offering an appeal process to the employee.
An ACAS Code of Practice for handling requests in a reasonable manner is available to employers.


An employer can refuse an application if they have a good business reason for doing so. However, to refuse a request for flexible working in an unreasonable manner would entitle an employee to take their claim for flexible working to an Employment Tribunal.


Flexible Working Options


There are different types of flexible working:

  • Job sharing – two people do one job and split the hours
  • Working from home – it might be possible to do some or all of the work from home, or anywhere else other than the normal place of work
  • Part-time – working less than full-time hours (usually by working fewer days)
  • Compressed hours – working full-time hours but over fewer days
  • Flexitime – the employee chooses when to start and end work (within agreed limits), but works certain “core hours” (eg 10am to 4pm every day)
  • Annualised hours – the employee has to work a certain number of hours over the year, but they have some flexibility about when they work. There are sometimes “core hours” which the employee regularly works each week – and they work the rest of their hours flexibly, or when there is extra demand at work
  • Staggered hours – the employee has different start, finish and break times from other workers
  • Phased retirement – default retirement age has been phased out and older workers can choose when they want to retire. This means they can reduce their hours and work part-time.


Duncan Lewis Employment Law Solicitors – How we can help you


It is vital to take expert legal advice in cases where an employee wishes to work flexible hours – or an employer has refused a request for flexible hours and an employee wishes to take their case to an Employment Tribunal.


Duncan Lewis employment lawyers act on behalf of claimants and respondents in all Employment Tribunal related matters.


The Duncan Lewis employment team can represent all types of employers, large and small – as well as advising individual employees on matters relating to the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the right to work flexible hours, or a claim for flexible working at an Employment Tribunal.


Duncan Lewis Employment Law Solicitors – Fees


Duncan Lewis employment law solicitors operate a transparent fee scale – and can offer a range of competitively priced funding options for claimants and respondents:


  • No-win-no-fee
  • Damage based fee
  • Contingency fee
  • Fixed fees (for specific tasks)
  • Insurance funded cases.


Some cases may be funded with Home Contents Insurance or Contents/Buildings Insurance with Employment Protection Cover.


Duncan Lewis believes clients should always know what they will be paying – and will advise on the best funding option at the initial client meeting.


Duncan Lewis Employment Law Solicitors – When to contact us


If you have a problem with employment involving flexible hours, it is important to take legal advice and find out what your rights are as soon as possible.


Duncan Lewis can offer clear legal advice on employment law at any stage of an employment matter, including claims for flexible working at an Employment Tribunal.


Duncan Lewis also has a successful track record in advising companies and employers on employment matters and disputes.


The sooner you call us, the sooner we can help with an employment claim.


Duncan Lewis Employment Law Solicitors – How to contact us


Duncan Lewis has offices nationwide and in most major cities, with more than 20 offices across London and the southeast.


For expert legal advice on employment law and flexible working claims or disputes, call Duncan Lewis employment solicitors on 020 7923 4020.

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