Employment Advice

Flexible working requests – changes from April 2024

From 6 April 2024, all employees are entitled to make a flexible working request from day one of their employment.

17 May 2024

Team name
Esther Marshall

Esther Marshall

Previously, only those employees with 26 weeks’ service could make a request. Given this change, it is worth all employers taking the opportunity to refresh themselves as to what flexible working is, and what they need to do when an employee makes a request.

Flexible working is designed to allow employees to change the way they work. This could be a change to the number of hours or days they work, a change to their start or finish times, or to allow working from home. There is no need for the requested change to be linked to a need to provide care for a child or other dependant.

In order to access flexible working, the employee must make a “statutory request”. This just means that the application must be made in writing.

Once an employer has received a request, they must give it “reasonable” consideration. This should include giving genuine thought to the application and whether the employer can accommodate the request. If the request cannot be accommodated, then consideration must be given to whether any alternatives are available.

There is no obligation upon an employer to agree to a request, but if it is to be refused, there must be a genuine reason for the refusal.

A response to a flexible working request must be given within 2 months (or longer if agreed with the employee). The employee should be given the right to appeal against a refusal. It is unlawful to subject an employee to detrimental treatment because they have made a request for flexible working.

ACAS have published an updated Code of Practice for employers on dealing with flexible working requests, which is available here: Code of Practice on requests for flexible working | Acas

M&P Commentary

Esther Marshall, specialist in Employment law, said:

“There are benefits to employers of allowing employees to work flexibly. Valuable staff members who may otherwise leave the business can often be retained if changes can be made to the way in which they work. In addition, goodwill and loyalty can often be generated by accommodating flexible working requests. However, if a request does not align with the needs of the business, and there is no reasonable way of making the changes work, employers are entitled to refuse.

It is good practice for an employer to have a flexible working policy, around which requests can be made and considered. Given the recent changes to the law, employers are advised to make sure that their policies are up to date and fit for purpose.”

A specialist employment solicitor can assist your business both in drafting or reviewing a flexible working policy, as well as assisting with any issues which arise when a request is made.


Ranked highly in Romford and Brentwood for solicitor firms

The service I received from Allison was exceptional. Always highly professional and informative.
Mullis and Peake are very efficient, professional and friendly company to deal with. Excellent service throughout.
Excellent, swift service from Esther at Mullis & Peake. Showed clear expertise in her field & walked me through everything patiently & thoroughly.
Company and Commercial
I found the service provided was excellent from start to finish, with our requirements met in a timely manner throughout.
Staff very helpful and friendly. Trudi was easy to talk to and to understand the procedure.
Dispute resolution
We contacted Martyn to deal with a sensitive Will dispute and we can’t thank him enough for his commitment and hard work.
Residential Property
Very prompt. Experienced. Expert. Friendly.
Commercial Property
Excellent service and far quicker than previous negotiations using a different solicitor.
At all times I was kept informed about the progress of the case and everything was completed in a timely fashion.
Personal Injury
Martyn undertook and guided me through the lengthy process [of a personal injury case], and after much work, achieved a successful result.

Related News insights

Charity & Fundraising, Mullis & Peake
London Legal Walk Completed for 2024
Legal, Wills & Power of Attorney
What Tax May I Have to Pay When I Die?
Movers & Shakers, Mullis & Peake
An Enjoyable Day at the Langtons Summer Concert
Charity & Fundraising, Mullis & Peake
M&P COTY – The Marillac Neurological Care Centre