You can apply for flexible working if you have worked continuously for the same employer for the last 26 weeks. It’s known as ‘making a statutory application.’

The basic steps are:

  1. You write to your employer.
  2. Your employer considers the request and makes a decision within 3 months – or longer if agreed with you, the employee.
  3. If your employer agrees to the request, they must change the terms and conditions in your contract.
  4. If the employer disagrees, they must write to you giving the business reasons for the refusal. You may be able to complain to an employment tribunal.

Employees can only make one application for flexible working a year.

Writing to the employer

You should email or write a letter to your employer.

Employers may ask employees to use a standard form to make an application.

The application must include:

  • the date
  • a statement that this is a statutory request
  • details of how you want to work flexibly and when you want to start
  • an explanation of how you think flexible working might affect the business and how this could be dealt with, for example if you are not at work on certain days
  • a statement saying if and when you have made a previous application

Withdrawing an application

You should tell their employer in writing if you want to withdraw your application.

The employer can treat an application as withdrawn if you miss two meetings to discuss an application or appeal without good reason, for example sickness.

The employer must tell the employee they are treating the request as withdrawn.


This information is based on UK Government information about flexible working. Click here to find out more.

Visit Family Friendly Working for lots of ideas and inspiration on how to work flexibly.

Flexible working rules are different in Northern Ireland.