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How to Handle Flexible Working Requests


This webinar is designed to provide an overview of the statutory requirements and the recently published ACAS Code of Practice, along with practical tips and advice on best practices for effectively managing flexible working requests.


About the webinar

Whether it's remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks; accommodating flexible working arrangements can lead to improved staff retention, increased workforce productivity, greater job satisfaction, and a better work-life balance.
If you're wondering about recent changes to the statutory right to request flexible working, proactively considering the approach to flexible working that you will want to take within your organisation or navigating a surge in flexible working requests, this webinar will provide you with the insights and strategies needed to handle flexible working requests in a way that enables legal compliance and promotes fairness and organisational effectiveness.


Understand legal frameworks, eligibility criteria, and employer obligations under regulations like Flexible Working Regulations.


Learn efficient practices from receiving requests to decision-making and effective communication with employees.


Explore strategies to gauge impacts on productivity, operations, and team dynamics across different industries and roles.


Discover techniques for meeting both employee desires for flexibility and business operational requirements.


Identify and address common hurdles, such as fairness concerns and workload management, with practical strategies.


Explore the importance of clear communication, setting expectations, providing feedback, and creating trust.


Understand legal implications and risks, and how to mitigate them while ensuring compliance with employment laws and regulations.

Questions & Answers

While we genuinely appreciate all the questions submitted during our session, regrettably, we aren't able to address each one. Below are some of the questions and answers we didn't quite get around to which you might find useful to accompany this webinar. 

Is the appeal included in the 2 months? What if the company doesn't give an outcome until the last day, forcing people to agree to an extension?

Yes - employers have a duty under the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 to respond to requests within a 2-month period. This is the timeframe for you to consider the request and any subsequent appeal that may be received.

Suppose an extension has not been previously agreed upon, and an outcome is not given until the very last day of this time period. In that case, this is unlikely to be in keeping with any approach that may be outlined in the Company’s Flexible Working Policy. If an employer is not following its own policy and procedure and behaves in this way, then it would increase the risk of a successful complaint to an Employment Tribunal that the flexible working request had not been dealt with in a reasonable manner.

If you suspect that more time will be needed to enable a request to be considered, you should raise this at the earliest opportunity and certainly within the initial 2-month period.

Even though the new requirements came into effect on 6th April 2024, you can look backwards to any requests made (and agreed or not) prior to this date and take these requests into account?

Yes - employees are able to make a maximum of 2 statutory requests for flexible working in any 12-month period. This means that it is necessary to review the preceding 12 months to see if any previous requests have been made, and if so how many.

What would be your advice for an employee coming back into work after maternity leave but their request cannot be upheld?

The ACAS Code of Practice on flexible working advises employers to approach flexible working requests with an open mind - seeking to see how they may be accommodated (rather than looking for reasons not to allow them. 

If it is genuinely the case that a request cannot be accommodated, then it will be necessary to explain which of the 8 acceptable reasons for refusal apply, i.e. whether it would result in an extra financial burden, a negative impact on the quality of service, not being able to meet customer demands, a negative impact on performance, or if work could not be reorganised among other staff, it was not possible to recruit additional staff, there was a lack of work to do at the proposed times or if the business was planning changes to its structure, and to be able to clearly justify the conclusion that had been reached.

In a scenario where someone is returning from maternity leave, it is advisable to explore whether any alternative options are feasible and/or for the arrangement to be implemented on a temporary trial basis in the first instance. This is because, in this example, it may enable the retention and engagement of an employee and the rejection of the flexible working request could result in a claim for direct or indirect discrimination.