I’ve had to refuse a flexible working request- what next?

I’ve had to refuse a flexible working request- what next?

July 7, 2015

In clock watcheran ideal world it would be fabulous if to engage the workforce, we could allow them to work exactly the hours they wanted to meet their needs. Unfortunately in the real world, an employee needs to work when the organisation that employs them needs them, and from time to time this can cause a difficulty.

For the employer and employee legislation exists that governs what will happen when an employee wishes to make a request for flexible working, and since last year these have been opened up to all employees with 6 months service. However to stop multiple requests an employee can only make one request every 12 months.

Where an employee has had to refuse a flexible working request there is normally a wait to see whether the employee will appeal (if your policy allows for an appeal) or whether they will accept the decision taken.

Sometimes after a rejection circumstances can change or a new option can arise that will satisfy both parties. You may receive another request that would make a job share, you may see a downturn in work and be able to avoid a redundancy with a flexible working request.

So never see the rejection letter to be last communication on the matter.  Its just one piece of communication. Sometimes where a flexible working request has followed a period of maternity leave, parental leave will be suitable for the mother to allow further time. Reminding an employee of their right to unpaid parental leave is absolutely fine.

Just because the law doesn’t expect an employer to consider multiple requests in a period of 12 months, doesn’t mean the employer can’t choose to have a further request considered where a period of parental leave has been taken. Engaging with a motivated workforce is so valuable it is often worth being flexible to such requests.

If they don’t wish to return or can’t accept the rejection of their request, then a letter of resignation will normally follow, in accordance with your contract of employment. Sadly we can’t be too flexible if it means we are unable to maintain the quality of our provision. Unlike other professions, we can hardly take the children home!

If you need any help with any aspect of flexible working, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01527 909436 or email

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