Many mums work flexible hours to create a better work-life balance. Here’s our guide to your options and rights
Parents have the right to request flexible working hours – here’s our guide to your options and the legal processes involved.
At a glance
- You have a statutory right to request to work flexible hours
- Your employer can say no but it's worth asking as flexible working can benefit the business
- There are many ways to manage flexible working - look into what options might suit you and your employer
The workplace is becoming increasingly flexible as employers begin to realise that the better an employee’s work-life balance, the better they perform.
However, whilst some employers are reaping the benefits of innovative ways of working, others are taking a little longer to catch up. Provided you haven’t requested flexible hours in the last year and you have worked continuously for your employer for the last 26 weeks, you have the right to make a request. Whether your employer agrees will depend on:
- Costs to the business
- Whether the business could still meet customer demand, or whether there was sufficient work to be done during your working hours
- How easy it would be to reorganise your work – either among your colleagues or by recruiting
- How it would affect the quality and performance of your work
- If they are planning changes to the workforce
What are your options?
There are a lot of options for working flexibly – which increases the chances of employers and employees finding one that works for both of them:
- Part Time Hours - Reducing your hours
- Compressed Hours - Working the same amount of hours but compressing them into longer days so that you can take other days off
- Flexi-time – Having set hours but more flexibility around when you work. This often involves ‘core hours’ that you have to work
- Annualised Hours – Similar to flexi-time but you would have a set number of hours to work over the year with flexibility over when you work. You may have core hours during the week and can work the rest flexibly or when there’s extra demand
- Staggered Hours – You would work the same amount of hours as your colleagues but have different start, finish and break times
Making your Flexible Working Request
To make your statutory application for flexible working, you will need to put your request in writing. This needs to include:
- The date of your request
- That you have a responsibility as a carer/parent
- That you are making an application under your statutory right to request flexible working
- Details of your proposed flexible working arrangement, how you think this will affect business, how that could be dealt with and when you would like it to start
- Try to think about this from your employer’s point of view. If you can highlight benefits to the business this may help your case. For example, reducing your hours could result in a cost-saving for them. Working staggered hours or flexi-time may mean that the business has extra cover outside ‘traditional’ working hours
What happens next?
Your employer should suggest a meeting within 28 days of receiving your written request. They should then make a decision within 14 days and let you know.
What if they say no?
If your employer declines your request they should discuss their reasons for this and let you know the procedure for appeal.
Still considering your options? Good because you have plenty! Check out our guide to working from home and self-employment. Struggling with life-work balance? Read our Six Golden Rules for Happier Working Mums.