Employees with at least 26 weeks continuous employment can make a request for flexible working. The employer has a 3 month decision period to consider the request, discuss it with the employee and inform the employee of its decision. The employer must deal with the application reasonably. The employer may only refuse the reuest for one or more statutory reasons.
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. An employee can bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal if the employer fails to deal with the application in a reasonable manner, fails to notify them of the outcome within the decision period, fails to rely on a statutory ground, bases the decision on incorrect facts, or treats an application as withdrawn when it did not have the right to do so. Employers also have to be wary of a claim of discrimination or unfair dismissal when considering such a request.
Employers should take advice when dealing with such requests.