The new rules mean that all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service have the right to request flexible working from 30th June 2014, regardless of whether they have children under 17 or carer responsibilities.

Eligible employees can request changes to their working hours, working time or location of work. However, this does not give them the automatic right to have their request granted. Employers will be able to reject requests if they have a legitimate business reason to do so, such as one of the following:

  • Excessive additional costs
  • Inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff or recruit additional staff
  • Detrimental impact on the quality, performance or ability to meet customer demand,
  • Insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work,
  • Planned structural changes to the business.

Employees should put their request in writing, specifying the details of the work conditions they would like to apply for and when they would like the changes to come into effect. They should also mention if they have made a previous request and the date of that request as they will only be entitled to make one request in any 12 month period.

You can find lots of information on these changes and general advice for employers at the ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) website: