Returning from maternity leave and want to work part-time but worried about broaching the topic with your manager?

For a no obligation chat we can run through some helpful tips with you to help you achieve a win win for you and your manager.

In short, you have two options: Approaching this informally through a straightforward try and test it arrangement or more formally through a contractually binding flexible working request.

Since 2014, all employees have the legal right to request flexible working – not just parents and carers. This is known as ‘making a statutory application‘. Employees must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks to be eligible. Employers must follow a set procedure and will only be able to refuse a request where there is a recognised business ground for doing so.

 Making the request

Any employee with 26 weeks service can make a request. This must:

  • Be in writing.
  • Be dated.
  • Explain the change they would like to their working pattern.
  • Explain when they would like the change to come into force.
  • Explain what effect the change would have on the business.
  • Explain how such effects might be dealt with.
  • State that it is a statutory request.
  • State if the employee has made a request previously and if so when.

Once you have made the request, there is not much that an employer must do. The employer has three months to give you a decision (although this can be extended by agreement). If the employer turns down your request they must give one of the permitted business reasons.

These are:

  • Burden of additional costs.
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
  • Inability to reorganise work among existing staff.
  • Inability to recruit additional staff.
  • Detrimental impact on quality.
  • Detrimental impact on performance.
  • Insufficiency of work during the periods you propose to work.
  • Planned structural changes.

There is no legal requirement for the rejection to be in writing (although the ACAS code says it is good practice for it to be). Your employer will be in breach of the Flexible Working Request procedure by either not giving permitted reasons, by taking longer than three months to give you a decision or by giving reasons which are not factually correct.

For a no obligation chat contact our employment team on 0333 400 4499