Flexible Working Requests

From April 2024 new legislation means employees have the right to make flexible work requests from day one of their employment. Previously, employees were required to be in post for 26 weeks.


The UK Government website notes flexible working can include the number of hours worked, start and finish times, days worked and where they work.



Flexible working arrangements seem to be more beneficial for employees however for those employers who are willing accept such requests they could gain access to candidates previously unattainable, foster a more diverse workforce and become a business where people want to work. This can do particularly well for your Employer Branding.



Whilst the right to make a request is available, this does not mean it will be granted. Employers must treat each request in a ‘reasonable manner’ but can reject based on numerous factors that ACAS lists as the ‘burden of additional costs, an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff, an inability to recruit additional staff, a detrimental impact on quality, a detrimental impact on performance’ and so on.


When recruiting, it will be important to factor in any request from new employees and give thought to how you would react if such a request were to be made. And indeed, if the possibility of flexible working is available, evidence this in the job description and adverts to encourage more candidates to apply.



How to make a Flexible Working Request



According to the CIPD, requests should be made in writing, detailing the changes you would like to make. Your employer will then consider the request and arrange a meeting where you should probably be prepared to state your case. A decision must be made and communicated within two months.



How to handle a Flexible Working Request



Employers must evaluate any requests and give a decision within two months, this was previously three months. Employers must meet with the employee and give written confirmation of their decision.



It is likely that questions about flexible will become more common during the recruitment process and interviews. Hiring managers and recruitment teams should understand how a request would be viewed and the likely outcome.






Ultimately employers can still reject flexible working requests, however this legislation means decisions must be made quicker and must be considered rather than being rejected out of hand.



For those employers who are willing to embrace flexible working, they may see an increase in available candidates as people seek a better work/life balance.