Decline of the 9 to 5? – Flexible Working on the Increase

Friday 7th September 2018

A recent YouGov survey found that just 6% of people in the UK now work a traditional 9am to 5pm. The study also found that nearly 40% of full time workers surveyed would opt to start work at 8am and finish at 4pm if they had the option.

This trend points to a rise in requests for flexible working by employees to vary traditional working patterns.

All employees who have at least 26 weeks continuous service are entitled to make a flexible working request, provided they have not made an application during the preceding 12 months.

Eligible employees can request a change to the number of hours they work, the times they are required to work and where they are required to work from (such as from home or another site within the business).

Employees can request in writing, specify that they are making a flexible working request and outline the change they would like to make, confirming the date on which they would like to commence from. The employee must also explain the effect the request will have on the employer and suggest how this change could be dealt with. For example an employee may make a request for fewer hours and suggest this could be dealt with via a job share.

Employers are required to deal with the request in a reasonable manner, notifying the employee of the decision within three months of the application being made. Rejection of a request can only be made on grounds permitted by statue. There are a number of permitted grounds, which include refusal where granting a request would have a detrimental impact on performance or result in a burden of additional costs. Rejecting a request for any other reason or failure to deal with a flexible working request properly could give rise to a claim from the employee in the Employment Tribunal.