Parents of children aged under 17 or of disabled children aged under 18 have the right to apply to work flexible working arrangements, providing they have the qualifying length of service. Employers have a statutory duty to consider their applications seriously. The law does not provide an automatic right to work flexibly.
The aim of the law is to facilitate discussion between employers and employees to find a solution that suits them both and meets their needs. There is a statutory procedure that must be followed, which includes various time limits. An employee can bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal if the proper procedure is not followed. Employers also have to be wary of a claim of sex discrimination when considering such a request.
Employees can also make an application for flexible working in order to care for an adult, eg. an elderly parent. In such cases additional rules apply. Employers should take advice when dealing with such requests.