In the past, you had no legal right to ask to work flexibly, because the law in this area was confined to parents and those looking after a vulnerable adult.
However, since the law changed in 2014, all employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service have the right to request a flexible working pattern. There is no need to have caring responsibilities.
Your employer should not be judging your reason for wanting to work flexibly. Instead they should be focusing on the business implications of agreeing to your request.
Your employer is not obliged to agree to your request, but they must deal with your request in a 'reasonable manner', and can reject it for one of the following business reasons:
- the burden of extra costs;
- inability to organise work amongst existing staff;
- inability to recruit extra staff;
- detrimental impact on quality;
- detrimental impact on performance;
- detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand;
- insufficient work for the periods the employee wants to work; and
- a planned structural change to the business.
You can find useful guidance on making your request for flexible working in the Acas Code of Practice on handling in a reasonable manner requests to work flexibly. There is more information on the Acas website.