Flexible working countdown: 8 – What must a request include?

As the deadline for the introduction of revised flexible working legislation approaches, we look at the new rules and important changes to the procedure for dealing with flexible working applications. Today we examine what an employee must now include in their application to work flexibly.

A request to work flexibly must be made in writing and must include the following:

  • The date of the employee’s application, the change to working conditions he or she is seeking and when he or she would like the change to come into effect.
  • What effect, if any, the employee thinks the requested change would have on the employer, and how – in his or her opinion – any such effect might be dealt with.
  • A statement that the application is a statutory request and if and when the employee has made a previous application for flexible working.

For example, an employee attends a “catch-up” meeting with her line-manager and asks if she can work flexibly. She states that she would like to come in earlier and leave earlier, and that she does not think that it would affect the business adversely as one of her colleagues is already working those hours.

The manager should explain to the employee that to make an application to work flexibly, she must put her application in writing, date it, and declare that her application is a statutory request. The manager should also advise that the request must state when she would like the change to come into effect.

In addition, the employee should be informed that her application must address the issue of what effect her proposal would have on the employer and how it might be dealt with. She should not assume that her proposed changes will not affect her employer adversely because another employee is doing the same hours.

Finally, the employee should be told that she must confirm whether or not she has made a previous application, and if so, when.

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