Making a flexible working request

If you want to appeal the decision

You can talk with your employer if you feel the decision was wrong or unfair. It’s a good idea to do this informally at first.

It can help to:

  • explain why you feel the decision was wrong or unfair
  • share any information that was missed or not available when your employer made the decision
  • share any evidence if the request was not handled reasonably (for example, they did not follow the Acas Code of Practice on flexible working requests or their own policy)
  • listen to your employer’s reasons for their decision
  • suggest any compromises you are willing to make

If you want to appeal, you should do so as soon as possible, or within the timeframe that your workplace might have set in their policy. 

Appeal in writing

You can also put your appeal in writing.

Your letter or email should say:

  • why you feel the decision should be looked at again (for example, there’s new information that might affect the decision)
  • what you would like to happen next (for example, look at the new information and meet to discuss your flexible working request)

It’s up to your employer to decide if they’ll consider your appeal.

How long an appeal takes

If your employer decides to consider your appeal, they should respond as quickly as possible.

Your employer must consider your whole request (including any appeal) within a maximum of 3 months of receiving the original request. Your employer can ask you for more time to make a decision, but only if you agree.

Making a formal complaint

If you feel your request has not been handled fairly, you can raise it formally (‘raise a grievance’) with your employer.

If raising a grievance does not resolve the problem, it might be possible to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

You might be able to use the Acas Arbitration Scheme for some flexible working cases, instead of going to employment tribunal.

If you’ve been treated unfairly because of your request

Your employer should not dismiss you or treat you unfairly (cause you ‘detriment’) because you:

  • made a flexible working request
  • intend to make a flexible working request

Detriment means unfair treatment that leaves you worse off, for example if your employer:

  • reduces your hours
  • overlooks you for promotions or development opportunities
  • says no to your training requests without good reason

If you feel you’ve experienced detriment or have been dismissed because of a flexible working request, you might be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

Making another request

You can make a new request if it’s been more than 12 months since your last request.

Some employers will allow more than one request within 12 months, so it’s worth checking your workplace’s policy.