Advice leaflet - The right to apply for flexible working: A short guide for employers, working parents and carers
There are many different forms of flexible working that cover the way our working hours are organised during the day, week or year.
Flexible working can describe the place we work - such as homeworking - or the kind of contract we are on - such as a temporary contract.
Common kinds of flexible working include:
- part-time working. For example, an employee might start work later and finish early in order to take care of children after school
- flexi-time. Employees may be required to work within essential periods but outside 'core times' they often get flexibility in how they work their hours
- Job-sharing. Typically, two employees share the work normally done by one employee
- Working from home. New technology makes communication with office and customers possible by telephone, fax and email from home, car or other remote locations
- term-time working. An employee on a permanent contract takes paid or unpaid leave during school holidays
- Staggered hours. Employees in the same workplace have different start, finish and break times - often as a way of covering longer opening hours
- Annual hours. This is a system which calculates the hours an employee works over a whole year. The annual hours are usually split into 'set shifts' and 'reserve shifts' which are worked as the demand dictates
- Compressed working hours. Employees work their total agreed hours over fewer working days - for example, a five-day working week is compressed into four days
- Shift-working. Shift-work is widespread in industries which must run on a 24-hour cycle, such as newspaper production, utilities and hospital and emergency services.
For more detailed information on the different types of flexible working see the Acas booklet Flexible working and work-life balance at www.acas.org.uk/publications.