Labour Research September 2016

Law Queries

Flexible working

Q. Is the right to request flexible working only available to parents?

No. It used to be the case — before June 2014 — that the statutory right to request flexible working only applied to parents with children under 17 (or 18 where a child was disabled) and carers.

However, from 30 June 2014 this right was extended through the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Flexible Working Regulations 2014. Now all employees have a statutory right to make a request for flexible working, as long as they have been employed for 26 continuous weeks by their employer at the date of application.

Only agency workers who are employees, have at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment and are returning to work from a period of parental leave have this statutory right. Other agency workers do not.

Employees who have less than the requisite 26 weeks’ service and non-qualifying agency workers could of course make a flexible working request nonetheless. However, they do not have a statutory right to do so.

Employment relations service Acas has an online guide to making requests for flexible working.