Communicating the decision - Statutory flexible working requests

Communicating the decision

As an employer, once you've made a decision about the request you must tell the employee.

You should put your decision in writing.

Use our template to communicate your decision

If you agree to a change

If you've decided to agree to the employee's request in full, or a different change, you should put in writing:

  • the details of the flexible working arrangement you've agreed

  • an invitation to discuss next steps

If you have not agreed to the request in full, you should let the employee know how they can appeal the decision. This should include any timeframe for appealing.

You could put these things in a letter or email.

Discussing next steps

You should invite the employee to discuss next steps so that you can:

  • talk about how the arrangement will work in practice

  • go through any details

For example, this might include discussing:

  • when the new arrangement will start

  • any changes to pay and leave entitlement, for example if they're changing to part time

  • any changes to ways of working and keeping in touch

  • how to adjust the employee's workload and hand over work, for example if reducing hours or changing shifts

  • dates to review the arrangement and how it's working

  • when contract changes will be confirmed in writing

  • how they'll continue to access training and development opportunities

  • how they can get support if needed

You should keep a written record of the discussion. It should accurately reflect what you talked about. It's good practice to share this with the employee to avoid any misunderstandings about what you discussed and agreed.

You can implement the change without this discussion if both you and the employee agree it's not needed.

Putting contract changes in writing

If you agree a flexible working change, this usually changes the terms of the employment contract.

For example, if the change relates to the employee's:

  • working hours
  • job location
  • job description
  • pay

If any contract terms change, you must put the changes in writing within one month of agreeing them.

Find out more about:

Changing the arrangement in future

Flexible working arrangements can be changed in future, as long as both the employer and employee agree to it.

If the employee wants to change the arrangement, they can either:

  • make another statutory flexible working request
  • ask for a reasonable adjustment, if it relates to a disability
  • informally ask for a change

If the employer wants to make a change, they will need to agree the change with the employee. Find out more about steps to change an employee's contract.

If you reject the request

If you've consulted the employee and decided to reject their request, you should put in writing:

  • the business reason or reasons for rejecting their request

  • as much relevant information as you reasonably can to explain your decision

  • how the employee can appeal the decision, including any timeframe for appealing

The Acas Code of Practice says you should include 'any additional information which is reasonable' to help explain your decision. This could include:

  • the steps you took to investigate whether you could accept the request

  • any practical aspects of the job that prevented you accepting the request

  • any alternative options you considered

  • any data you used to help make your decision – for example staffing levels or recruitment costs

  • any health and safety considerations related to the request

If the employee disagrees

If the employee disagrees with the decision, you should give them the option to appeal as part of a reasonable procedure.

If the employee appeals the decision, you should handle the appeal fairly and impartially.

Read more about handling a flexible working request appeal

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