Decision on an employee’s flexible working request

Written with our partners at:Wilkes logo

What’s a decision on an employee’s flexible working request and when do you need it?

This is the second in our suite of letters covering requests by your employees for flexible working.

The letter covers both an acceptance scenario and suggested drafting that you can use as a basis for rejecting your employee’s request.

You can use the tick and cross select buttons positioned on the 2 options in this template to add and remove the relevant sections, depending on whether you're accepting or rejecting.

You can also impose a trial period on the arrangements – and if you wish to do so, you should select the ‘temporary’ description in the draft wording.

You must handle your employee’s application reasonably, but you are not obliged to say yes, and there are 8 reasons set out in the legislation – 1 or more of which you're allowed to apply to justify your refusal. (No other grounds are likely to be legally acceptable.)

Your reason(s) must relate to the clear fact that the employee’s proposed changes will cause:

  1. A negative cost impact on the business
  2. A lack of ability to continue to meet customer demand
  3. A damaging effect on quality and/or performance
  4. A damaging effect on performance
  5. An impact on already planned workforce changes within your business.

Or, for reasons related to the redistribution and allocation of work difficulties – meaning that you can also reject the request if you wouldn’t be able to either:

  1. Share the employee’s work during other office hours amongst current employees
  2. Hire new employees to cover those office hours, or
  3. If there isn’t enough work on offer at the times that the employee wants to work.

These grounds are set out in our flexible working policy template (you could have them in your business’ flexible working policy).