Recent changes mean that all your staff with more than 26 weeks’ continuous service can now make a flexible working request for any reason, regardless of whether they have any caring obligations.

As an employer, you have a duty to respond to any request submitted in writing within three months, although the time period can be extended by mutual agreement.

An employee has the right to complain to a tribunal if they do not feel that the employer has acted in a ‘reasonable manner’, has based a refusal on incorrect facts, or has not based their decision on one of the following:

1. the burden of additional costs;

2. detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand;

3. inability to reorganise work among existing staff;

4. inability to recruit additional staff;

5. detrimental impact on quality;

6. detrimental impact on performance;

7. insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work; or

8. planned structural changes.

Read the Law Society’s practice note on flexible working