What happens after you have applied for flexible working?

Everyone who has worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more has the right to ask for flexible work. There are a number of different ways you can work flexibly. Click here to read more about the different ways.

There is a process to follow to apply for flexible working. After you apply your employer must consider flexible working requests in a ‘reasonable manner’. They should usually make a decision within three months of the request (or longer if agreed with you).

Agreeing the application

The employer should write to you with:

  • a statement of the agreed changes
  • a start date for flexible working

They should also change your contract to include the new terms and conditions. This should be done as soon as possible but no later than 28 days after the request was approved.

Rejecting an application

The employer must tell you if they reject the application.

Reasons for rejecting

Employers can reject an application for any of the following reasons:

  • extra costs that will damage the business
  • the work cannot be reorganised among other staff
  • people cannot be recruited to do the work
  • flexible working will affect quality and performance
  • the business will not be able to meet customer demand
  • there’s a lack of work to do during the proposed working times
  • the business is planning changes to the workforce


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.

Download ‘Acas code of practice for handling requests in a reasonable manner’ (PDF, 387KB)