Making a stand: How to appeal a flexible working rejection

Making a stand: How to appeal a flexible working rejection

Rejected and in despair? Sadly it is lawful to reject a flexible working application so long as this is done on justified grounds, so what can you do if you are faced with a ‘no’? Workingmums.co.uk looks at how to appeal.
 
The law:
Many maternity returners look to flexible working, to make work fit in with family life and thankfully flexible working legislation allows employees to file an application requesting flexible working. Joanna Robson, employment law solicitor for Babylaw.co.uk says that the first thing to do is to be aware of the rules:   “In order to be eligible to apply for flexible working, you must have been continuously employed for 26 weeks' at the time of your application. 

Secondly, you are only permitted by law to make one application per twelve month period so you need to be sure what working pattern you are looking for and which will work for you in the longer term.”
 

The business may also have its own flexible working policy so it’s important to check out what it says. This should outline the application and the appeal process. If an employer currently uses a flexible working policy then this should be followed.
 
However, if they do not then the employee should be informed of their right to appeal and the process for doing so in the refusal letter. 
 
Failure to offer the right to appeal may entitle the employee to raise a complaint in the Employment Tribunal, but as a starting point it might be worth simply raising the issue regarding an appeal with the employer. 
 
Refusing an Application:
Laura Livingstone, employment partner for Davenport Lyons says that legislation recognises that employers are not always in a position to accommodate specific flexible working requests:  “Section 80G of the Employment Rights Act 1996 sets out eight grounds for refusing to accept a request for flexible working.”  These include where the employer would suffer one of the following as a result of accommodating an employee’s flexible working request:
 

  • 1. a burden of additional costs on the employer;
  • 2. a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demands
  • 3. an inability to re-organise work among existing staff;
  • 4. an inability to recruit additional staff;
  • 5. a detrimental impact on quality;
  • 6. a detrimental impact on performance;
  • 7. an insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work.
  • 8. an employer can also refuse a request because they are planning significant structural changes to the business.

For employers it can therefore be fairly straight forward to reject a flexible working request but if one or more of these grounds are not included in the refusal letter then this would be a ground for appeal.
 
And furthermore says Laura: “An employer would be expected to consider the broader issues beyond just these eight reasons, otherwise, a failure to properly consider an employee’s position could firstly give a ground for appeal and secondly, give rise to a claim for sex discrimination.”
 
If the employer does go down the route of rejecting the application then they must notify the employee in writing no later than 28 days after their request was submitted to the employer. They must also cite which one of the eight reasons they have selected as the grounds for their refusal and provide a ‘sufficient explanation’ as to why the grounds apply to the employee as well as providing the employee with details of the appeal process.
 
Right to appeal:
Laura says that an employee should be given a reasonable amount of time within which to appeal against the employer’s decision to refuse their request for flexible working.  “This should be at least 14 days from the date of receiving the refusal from the employer within which to appeal.  If given a shorter time, an employee could and should object to this.”
 
The employee should appeal, in writing, to the HR department or the person who deals with the grievance and/or disciplinary appeals setting out the reasons why they are appealing.  The employer should then arrange a meeting with the employee as soon as practicable in order to discuss the appeal.  As with other meetings, the employee should be informed of their right to be accompanied to the meeting by a work colleague, says Laura.
 
Appeal letter:
Putting together an appeal letter may seem daunting but employees can have their ruling overturned if they set out their case properly. Laura says that any appeal letter should set out the grounds of the appeal and not simply repeat the request for flexible working.
 
Laura says:  “Matters to include could be that none or the wrong reason out of the eight under the Regulations had been included," i.e:
 

  • it did not tie in with the facts;
  • other employees in a similar situation have been accepted;
  • the employee has not been given an opportunity to make it work by way of a trial period;
  • any further justification as to why the employee’s childcare arrangements make it impossible to return to former arrangements;
  • and any further evidence as to why the new arrangements may work from a business prospective.

Like Laura, Joanna says it is really important to  cite any comparators there may be, so for example any colleagues who may have been granted flexible working in the past who carried out a similar role to you.  
 
Appeal meeting:
Joanna says: “Your employer should hold a meeting with you to discuss your appeal letter with you.  This meeting should be arranged by your employer within a reasonable timescale and the purposes of the meeting is for your employer to gather further information from your appeal letter and to give you the opportunity to elaborate on the points raised in your appeal letter.”
 
Laura says that at the meeting, the employer should ensure that a senior member of staff hears the appeal.  “This person should not be the person who considered the employee’s original request and should be more senior if possible.  In the meeting, the employee should be given the opportunity to explain why they believe they should have been granted the right to work flexibly and to refute why the employer has refused the request.    A note taker should be present and the employee would be entitled to have a copy of these notes.  It might be advisable for the employee’s own companion to also take notes to ensure accuracy of the employer’s notes if at all possible,” advises Laura.
 
As a result of the meeting, further investigation may be required and in this case Laura advises that the person who hears the appeal should conclude the meeting and go away to make further investigations before delivering a response in the meeting.
 
“If the employee feels strongly that there should be further investigations made it would be advisable to raise this in the meeting before a decision is able to be taken.  Once the appeal has been investigated then the employer should either hold a further meeting with the employee or write to them stating whether the appeal has been refused or accepted,” says Laura.
 
If the appeal has been refused then the employer must set out the reasons why the employer is refusing the employee’s appeal.  And Laura says that the employer should ensure that the appeal process is dealt with ‘expeditiously’.  “The outcome of the appeal must be communicated within a reasonable amount of time in writing to the employee.  If the appeal is to be refused then the letter should set out why the decision was made and how the decision was reached.
 
“If there is a refusal of the appeal then if the employer has followed the process correctly there may not be grounds for a claim under the Flexible Working Regulations.  However, a reliance of one of the eight grounds without proper consideration of individual circumstances could still give the basis for a sex discrimination claim depending on the facts.”
 
For further help and advice contact Laura Livingstone, Davenport Lyons and Joanna Robson, Babylaw.co.uk

Twitter
Have your say

Is 14 days the least amount of time you should be given to appeal against a refusal of flexible working application as I have been given 5 days ?

Editor's note: Click here for the timetable for employers.

Anonymous | Report this comment

It is my understanding that 14 days is correct. Perhaps you should be asking for more time.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have requested to reduce my working week from 37 hours to 32. I presently work 4 days 1 -10pm then another shift of 5 hours 5-10 pm. My company have stated that as I am salaried they have to remove one fifth of my contract, therefore reducing me to 29.75 hours per week. However this does not apply to hourly paid team members. Can they do this?

Editor's note: Please send all questions to our experts via the Advice & Support page box as our experts may need to email you for additional information before answering.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am a new mum. I have 10 months old baby girl. I have recently applied for flexible working, but have been refused by my manager. They have set out some grounds such as - cost of additional staff, the new employee might not be reliable, business pattern & service quality of the new person. I have a right to appeal against this decision with strong grounds. How can I write a letter & what grounds can I put against this refusal? Please HELP!!! I feel like helpless now. :(

Editor: You would need to appeal on the grounds that the grounds on which they have rejected your appeal are not reasonable and outline why you believe this to be the case. See http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml for information on the legislation. We would need further information to help more and you would need to submit this via the Advice & Support page/Q & A box as then we will have your email and can correspond. The flexible working process can be a bit of a negotiation process so it is good to present a good business case for your proposed flexible work schedule.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, I'm currently in dispute with my employer over flexible working. They have not taken the time to consider my request and following my appeal hearing (where they failed to advise me that I was entitled to bring in a colleague/trade union official with me), they simply wrote a letter dated the following day to confirm my hours of work and date of return no mention was made in the letter to the appeal meeting or the decision of the company. They did state that the company would grant me another flexible working request in January/February next year however I have never requested this. I have raised a grievance but would really appreciate any advice you can give. Thanks.

Editor - It' seems you may have passed the time for appeal against the decision you received on flexible working, but should you apply again for flexible working, the following gives you all the information you need on the grounds for appeal and the timetable yetc your employer should follow - http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have requested flexible working from my employer reducing my hours from 39 to 30 and from 5 days to 4. I have offered to work a fixed late shift on a Friday which has always been hard to cover. I am a Team Leader so am aware that a reduction in hours could make it more difficult to manage my team. HOWEVER there are 2 other TLs who work this pattern either over 4 days or 30 hours over 5 days. My employer has come back to say that a Team Leader position is considered full time but that they would offer me 35 hours over 5 days. I believe I have reason to appeal based on there being other TLs working the same number of hours with the same responsibilities as I would have but don't know whether it is reasonable for me to base an appeal on this one point. Please help, it will be very much appreciated!

Editor: That does sound reasonable if they are doing a similar role to you. If you want expert advice you need to go to our Advice & Support/Q & A page and enter your question in the box provided as that way our experts can get back to you with follow-up questions to allow them to answer fully.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am currently in appeal with my employer following them rejecting my flexible working request giving the reason as it having a 'potential' detrimental impact on quality and performance. This seems really unfair as any employer could use the term potential to refuse an application for flexible working

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have just appealed the decision to refuse my change of working hours, without reducing my total weekly hours but asking to finish at 3pm on Fridays to be able to pick up my daughter at school (she has only just started reception). There are some other individuals in my company who are working flexibly and I do not believe I would cause a detriment to the Company or my team if I do not work the hours between 3 & 5pm on Fridays. Usually there is no-one in the office!!!! I'm waiting to hear their response about my appeal letter. How long do they have to contact me for setting up a meeting?

Editor: Your employer has 14 days to set up a meeting to discuss it and then 14 days after this to respond in writing, giving a decision.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I used to work Mon-Thurs 9-5. My employers accepted my change request to work Mon-Fri but shorter days so I can collect my child from school. Within my request to change my hours under Flexible Working policy I also asked if it would be possible to revert back to the 4 day working week during school holidays, so I have less childcare to find/pay for. I explained that as I had worked this pattern successfully for 4 years, my duties wouldn't suffer from this temporary change. No one else does my role. This part was declined on the grounds it creates a precedent for other staff. All of this was done verbally. What can I do?

Editor: Could you send your request via the Advice & Support/Q & A box as then we will have your email if we need to ask any supplementary questions. Did you apply, for instance, in writing? If not you should consider putting in a formal request and your employer will have to respond setting out clear reasons for turning down this part of your request. See http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/q-and-a/all/6425043/can-a-job-share-be-forced-on-me-ask-the-expert.thtml 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Good evening, I have applied for flexible working and it has been refused. My boss has not taken my home life into consideration or my childcare. Before my maternity leave I worked 12 to 00 midnight on a fast response unit for the ambulance service. Since I have returned to work he is forcing me to work a rota that is made up of earlies, lates and also 5 nights in a row. If I was to work this it means that I wouldn't see my children who are 4 years and one of 11 months for 5 days in a row. Please could someone advise me. I have a union rep and I am about to appeal his decision tomorrow, but my stress levels are through the roof. I only want to return to work, do my part and come home. the fact is I have been fighting for my old hours back since June is madness. HELP please.

Editor: To answer fully our experts will need more details, eg, why was your shift changed and how long had you been working the shift you had before maternity leave? Do you feel this change was forced on you because you went on maternity leave ie there is some sense of discrimination? What does your union rep say? If you could send your request through the Advice & Support/Q & A page box we will have your email and our expert will be able to respond. Very good luck today.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi I have had a reduced working application rejected on the grounds of inability to reorganise work among staff and detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demands. I work 5 days a week and wanted to reduce to four days. I considered all aspects of business when making my application but have been told no. We have other members of staff working the same hours and similar job roles who have had these requests accepted. Do I have grounds for appeal?

Editor: If you feel that the reasons give are not "reasonable", ie because others in similar roles are working in this way, you can indeed appeal. See http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hello, My new line manager agreed to me working from home once every week for a trial period of 3 months and at the end of the trial period said 'it did not work for her' (even though before going on maternity, I have always worked from home at least once a month). I was informed in the meeting that my normal working hours will start on the 18th. I have still not received this in writing. Am I to accept what I am told in the meeting and resume my old working structure or wait until I receive the rejection in writing?

Editor: Could you send your question via the Advice & Support Q & A page box as we will then have your email and can contact you directly and our experts may  need more information, for instance, did you line manager give you any further reasons for her decision?

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hello, This is a very helpful site. I am going through an appeal process and am due to return to work in the next few days. I applied for a career break as I have 2 young children who require medical attention. However, my application was refused. My manager has contacted me regarding my return to work. I wanted to know if during the appeal process, do I have to return to work or do I wait until the matter is resolved? Many thanks.

Editor: In theory you should return to work when your full period of maternity leave has ended - if you don't, your employer could claim that this is unauthorised absence. However, they may be willing to extend your leave (potentially without pay) if you ask! Or if you have accrued holiday, you can use this to extend your leave period while the appeal is ongoing. Don't forget though that under the flexible working statutory requirements, your employer has only 14 days to hold the appeal meeting & another 14 to give a decision, so this should be resolved in a reasonable amount of time! 

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have requested part time hours - they gave me a meeting, took 21 days to get back to me, after chasing them, and they have refused on 3 grounds that are legible - I will be appealing but before all this - I was emailed by the director advising that my role was full time and not flexible ( i was only 4 weeks pregnant at the time and had not mentioned part time hours) also states in my refusal letter that there are too many part time staff and they are trying to change this - so in my eyes the appeal has been rejected before its been done - every other woman who has been on maternity leave has returned part time 2 of which now have grown-up children. Please can you give me some advice, thanks.

Editor: Could you provide a bit more information on the grounds on which your appeal was turned down, etc, and the set-up in your office. How many people are there and how many are part time? Has anyone been given part time recently? If you could reply via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box we will have your email and our expert can contact you directly with advice.


Anonymous | Report this comment

Hello, I was made redundant as a trainer and was offered a position as a Team Leader. I accepted the position but now they are trying to put me back on the on-call rota. I am appealing against this decision because when I accepted the position as a Team Leader it was agreed that I was not on-call.  I have not had a reply. What should I do next? Hope you can help, thank you.

Editor: Can you reply via the Advice & Support/Q & A page box as then we will have your email and our experts can ask any relevant follow-up questions, eg, how long have you been working as team leader before they have asked you to work on call? Do you have a job description which specifies your working hours? To change your terms and conditions, your employer must consult with you. How long has elapsed since you appealed the decision? 

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have recently submitted a request for flexiable working reducing my shift from mon to Friday 8 to 4 to mon tues wed 8-6. My manage has emailed me to say that she has not submitted the form as she knows it will be rejected and has asked me to change the dates to wed, thurs Friday. But I am unable to do this as I have no child care for a thurs Friday. Where do I stand with this she said there is no availability for me to work mon tues wed but I don't see how that is when I already worked an mon tues wed. Where do I stand with this?

Anonymous | Report this comment

I been declined to work 2 hours less every day Mon to Friday even though two other mums got this request, also the lady who did my job before me worked from 8.30 till 1.30 every day, but they won't let me. I was working 8.30 till 4.30 and want to work 9-3, but they declined that. I asked for 8-1, but they declined that and declined working just Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Do I have rights to appeal and in the letter it never stated I can appeal?

Editor: You have not stated on what grounds your request has been turned down. Your employer must state in writing what the grounds are and they must fit into one of eight categories. If you believe they are not reasonable, you can appeal, but  you would need to be able to argue against their reasons for rejection and be prepared to come up with a solution. Seehttp://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

My flexible working request was refused. I received the letter and received the business grounds, as well as being given the right to appeal. However, I didn't appeal. Can I still go down the tribunal route?

Editor: You would need to give more background on your situation. It is always a good idea to exhaust all the options open to you first before resorting to a tribunal as it shows you have done everything you can to put  your case. I am not sure if you are now out of time limit to appeal the flexible working decision or whether you could also consider raising a grievance if you feel the correct procedure, etc, was not followed. Please do email our legal experts via the Advice & Support/Q & A page box with more details and we will get back to you.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi I have been refused flexible working they have written to me with this refusal in writing now offering me a meeting if I want to discuss the reasons why I cannot return part time. Shouldn't these meeting have been offered before the refusal in order for me to put my points across?

Anonymous | Report this comment

before my maternity i worked a 20 hour week over 5 days including weekends different shifts/times every week (retail) I am the only member of staff eligible for flexible working. I asked if I could have my days condensed to 2 1/2 days and set days as this would allow myself to arrange childcare in a better way and to have my rota 4 weeks in advance. it was refused immediately on the grounds that the rota would need changed and not enough 'part time' staff to cover my lunch as i would need a lunch break on my 2 full days. Surely it would be easier to have me set days and times on the rota? They have managed over the last 6 months and have employed more pt staff in my dept...

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have applied for flexible working , I'm due back at the end of July, I wanted to work the same hours but change them, I do a 12-7pm shift and wanted to do a 10-5pm shift to work alongside my childcare, I had to fill out a form to explain why I needed flexible working and what hours I wanted to do but 2 of my collegues who recently came back from maternity didn't have to fill in this form (although I know this is the appropriate procedure) they just emailed the practice manager and they got their flexible working hours accepted by email. They refused my flexible working and I had to appeal, they refused it on the grounds that they need a manager there till 7 but since I left for maternity my cover (who already works there) has never been working the 12-7 shift she has been doing an 8-4 and they also promoted a member of staff to supervisor who finishes at 7 ( which is management ), I have appealed and I have a meeting on Monday, but do you think there is anything wrong with what they have done?

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have recently applied for flexible working to reduce my days from 5 to 4 and reduce my hours from 39 to 31. This request has been rejected. I have my appeal meeting tomorrow in which I am asking for a compromise to work 2 Sundays per month to make childcare easier for weekdays. I am fully aware of the needs of the business so am trying to compromise so it suits both myself and the business. Do you think this is a reasonable request?? I will still be working 5 days per week and as I work in retail a Sunday is a normal trading day for us. I will be able to set up the week ahead and also offer an extra day which will be covered by a senior member of management!!

Editor: It is always a good move to offer a compromise solution as it shows you are willing to negotiate. You could also try suggesting a trial period to see if it works.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am due to return back to work Mid July 2013 following 52 weeks maternity leave. There has been a restructure in the company and I now have a new Manager. This Manager contacted me by phone approx 4 weeks ago, asking me what my intentions on returning to work, hours and days. I confirmed verbally that I was taking 52 weeks leave and that I would like to return on reduced days and hours. It was confirmed verbally that this was no problem and would be ok. However, I was then contacted two days later to advise that this may not be ok and that I would need to put my request in writing and have a meeting. I did this and have now had my request for flexible working turned down on the reasons that it does not meet the business demands and needs at this time. This call was pre-empted early and I was not going to apply for flexible working hours until I needed to. Can they ask me early what my intentions are? Things could change in the next 4-5 months for the company or myself and does this mean that I can now not put another request in nearer the time for me to return?

Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: Whilst it is good to tackle a flexible working request as early as possible it does seem strange at how this has been handled by your employer. Requests for flexible working are not usually required with 4-5 months to go before return from maternity leave as things could change. It would appear that your employer’s reason for the rejection does not fit in with any of the legitimate reasons for refusal as laid down in the legislation. I would appeal against the decision, putting your case in writing citing these facts as you have to continue to follow due process related to the legislation. You are only allowed one request per year. If you are turned down after appeal I would put in a grievance at how the process has been handled. 

Anonymous | Report this comment

i have been refused for banking hours as a reason and none of the eight reasons i also stated to them i could and gave them reasonable hours i could stay on to bank from monday to friday and weekends, im just about to go for my appeal hearing. please help me

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, I'm just through this process now. I have requested a non rotating shift pattern in my case from 6-14, but my request was rejected as they said that they are unable to accommodate me within a team.They also gave me a different option but this wasn't acceptable for me as there was a lower salary and the job was below my qualification.I wrote an appeal letter and had a meeting set up, but again they said that I can do those hours but in a different role.I love my job and don't want to change the position. Can you help, please?

Editor: Do they give any further information on why they cannot accommodate your shift change within the team? Is it because everyone else is on a rotating pattern? Does anyone else in the team do a similar pattern? Are you able to suggest a compromise which will accommodate their concerns and suggest a trial period?

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, I'm just going through an appeal process at the minute, I used to work 3 days, wed-fri 9.00am - 4.00pm, I have requested to go back 2 days Thurs and Fri but to start at 9.30am - 4.00pm, I now have 2 children and cannot physically get to work for 9.00am due to dropping one off at breakfast club and the other at my mum's house. They have agreed to my x2 days, but stated I must start at 9.00am due to this being a busy time in the office. Currently there is only one other person in the office who I work with full time and he works by himself on a Mon and Tuesday without any help. Thurs and Fri are no busier than a Mon, Tues or Wed. I have told work that I could make 9.15am, but not any earlier than this. Do you think I have a good case to appeal?

Editor: From the information you have given, it sounds as if you are attempting to address your work's concerns about starting at 9.30am and trying to find a compromise. You could also suggest that you do it on a trial basis for three months or so and that they can review this to see whether it is working or not.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I used to worked 5 days a week, any shift. I have applied for core hours, mon-fri 9-5 and it was refused based on: need for flexibility over 24/7 and complexity of business. Are these reasons to refuse an application? How can I find childcare unless partner stays at home?

Editor: See http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/q-and-a/all/6862198/i-need-a-set-shift-due-to-childcare-ask-the-expert.thtml. Flexible working applications can only be turned down on eight grounds. They include placing an additional burden on other staff and not being able to meet customer demand, but the reasons you have been given do not exactly fit into the reasons, although your employer might argue that they do fit the argument about customer demand. See http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml. You can appeal if you feel your request was not given due consideration.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I work a rotating rota with 2 other colleagues. My husband also works a 3 week rota and I have proposed a rota to my manager so that would work for the business and works as an opposite to my huband's so that we can juggle child care. Even though the rota fits the opening hours, one of my colleague rejects the proposal. Where do I stand with this?

Editor: I am not clear whether your proposal has been rejected by your manager on the basis of a colleague's views and what those objections are? Have you made a formal request for flexible working? You can certainly appeal and perhaps address the objections - if you manager has refused your proposal they should spell out why and not just say your colleague disagrees. There are only certain grounds on which you can refuse an employee's request and these must be clarified - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi I made a request for flexible work which was verbally accepted. I then received a letter from the employer stating that my request was rejected and that he wanted me full time! I just appealed today. Changing my childcare arrangement to full time would be extremely difficult now. Do I have a ground for unfair dismissal or sex discrimination? Also the company is very small. 4 employees (I am the senior) and the director. Would will hear the appeal then?

Editor: Could you send your request via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box as our experts will need further information to help you, for instance, on what grounds was your request turned down? Are you due to return to work shortly? Was the proper timetable for a flexible work proposal followed? What was the time lapse between the verbal agreement and the letter being sent?

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hello, I have made an application for flexible working which has been refused. Do I have 5 days or 14 days to appeal? My empoyer says 5 but all the info I have seen on the net says 14?

Editor: You have 14 days - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have 2 children, a son who is 3 years old and a daughter who is 8 months old. Before maternity leave I used to work Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday as I had some family members to take care of my son. But at present I have no one to take care of both children so they have to go to nursery. I put a flexible application to my employer to work Monday until Friday one week and the next week work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. The children will go to nursery Monday until Friday and on the weekends I work my husband is off so he will care for the children. My employer refused my request and I appealed. Do you think my request is reasonable? I feel it is. What should I do if my employer refuses my appeal again?

Editor: On what grounds did your employer turn your request down? There are only eight grounds on which a flexible work request can be turned down and this must be explained and shown to be reasonable. If you do not believe their reason for turning you down is reasonable and that they have considered your request fully, you should appeal. See http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtmlEmployers do not, however, have to accept a flexible work request if there are good business reasons not to.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Good afternoon, I submitted a request for flexible working due to having two very young children and my mother who requires caring for after suffering a brain aneurysm. My partner works as a full time firefighter on a shift pattern of two days two nights and four off, but the days change every week. I am, however, able to provide a shift pattern for the whole year, and next year if required, so work know the days on which I would be working every week. However, this has been rejected on the grounds that it would be hard to backfill the 8 hours that need covering. This is even though I've provided a planner for the year. I have a appeal hearing tomorrow, for which I only received a letter today stating that I can have someone present during this (not giving me much time to sort it out). I feel this decision is not acceptable as I provided adequate days. Do I have any grounds for appeal here or am I fighting a lost cause? Please help!!!!

Editor: Can you clarify the hours you are currently contracted to work? Are you asking for shift work after working a regular week? When you refer to eight hours - are you just seeking to reduce your hours by eight hours a week? Did you have a meeting to discuss your request in which you could detail your request? Do you think your employer has given your request due consideration and the reasons given are justifiable? The flexible working process is a negotiation and you need to be able to see it from your employer's point of view as well as them viewing it from your point of view. Perhaps you can suggest a compromise agreement that would meet the needs of all parties involved or suggest a trial period when you can show your employer that it is workable. See http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

I was working 32 hrs a week and they have said I can reduce them to 24, and yes, I am now asking to work a shift pattern during the week that fits around my partner's firefighting job so that we can both look after our boys and also my mother as I am her sole carer. I did have a meeting to discuss my request at which I was told by my line manager that this would be fine as long as I could provide her with dates and input them into my calendar, which I did. I do not think they have given my request due consideration. Also the person who is running the appeal panel is not senior to the one who declined my request - she is the same position and she works for a different team and does not know me as an individual or employee. I don't believe the reasons are justifiable as I am not asking to work weekends when the offices are closed. I still wish to work throughout the week and don't see how it could be hard to get the 8 hours covered if I am providing the days that I wish to work well in advance and also for the coming year and further if requested.

Editor: You should mention the initial agreement from your line manager, but it would be a good idea to approach the appeal in a business like way, show that you understand their concerns but that you believe that with planning you should be able to work together to overcome them. If you can suggest a compromise agreement as a fallback that is also a good idea as it shows you have attempted to see it from their point of view.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have made an application for flexible working hours, but my employer has rejected it and has ticked nearly all the boxes. I thought they can only select one of the eight - is that correct? Also I do not agree with the reasons. Also my line manager was trying to avoid meeting with me to present my case and an HR member was going to hear my case instead. This delayed the 28 days meeting process, resulting in me having to agree to an extension so that my line manager could be available for the meeting. Is this allowed?

Editor:They can give more than one reason, but you can appeal if you do not think the reasons are justified. Think of the request from your employer's point of view and try to pre-empt their concerns and put forward a good business case. According to the legislation your employer should stick to the timetable and this is something you could bring up at appeal.

Anonymous | Report this comment

My application was rejected and I just had my appeal meeting. My employer is forcing me to return full time or 5 part-time days. I am unable to secure childcare full time or for five mornings despite exhausting all options and have no relatives to support me. I'm supposed to return to work next week, but they have advised me to return full time or take paid or unpaid leave, but there would still be no guarantee it will be resolved. Can they do this? They are also saying there are no part time or job share opportunities at my level and that I may have to take a career break?? I feel I am being forced to resign after returning from maternity leave after my first child. When I initially applied my line manager did not understand the process and referred me to HR who also could not address my concerns. Also my line manager did not make me aware of promotion opportunities when I was on maternity leave and HR made me aware of the vacancy 2 days before applications closed.

Editor: Can you submit your request via the Advice & Support/Q & A page box as we will then have your email and our experts can get in touch if they need further information in order to advise you properly. For instance, on what grounds was your original request turned down? Are there other staff working flexibly? What is the reason behind the offer of five part-time days rather than your original request?

Anonymous | Report this comment

I requested to work part time as my daughter will start school in September. It was refused verbally and I asked for a written refusal with reasons. I still have not received an answer.

Editor: It may be a good idea to submit a formal flexible working application in writing to your employer and they then have to follow a set procedure and timeframe, plus there is a right of appeal if you do not think they have acted in accordance with the legislation - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

I requested to work 3 full days, Monday to Wednesday but it has been rejected. The reasons they have given are due to additional costs to them, and the detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand. I would like to appeal, not to necessarily disagree with what they have said, but I can offer an alternative of working 5 half days instead which I think may be better for them. Am I allowed to do this? It says above that you are not allowed to make more than one flexible working request in 12 months so is this seen as a second request?

Editor: An appeal can only be lodged on certain grounds - see https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working/appeals. However, if you do not feel your appeal fits these criteria, you may be able to suggest the alternative suggestion informally to your line manager.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am a front office manager in the hotel industry and I applied for flexible hours working 40 hours per week worked in 4 days of 10-hour shifts. This has been refused as it would have a detrimental effect on the ability of the organisation to meet customer demands by a lack of flexibility to cover the department sufficiently in a 24/7 operation, and would raise concerns regarding sufficient management cover for the Front Of House in the event of staff shortages, sickness cover and holidays.

Could someone help me as to how i could appeal. I only have until the 19th July.

Editor: Do you believe that the reasons are valid and show that your manager has given due consideration to your request? Do any other members of the front office team work flexibly? Do you know of people in similar jobs with other organisations who work flexibly which you can cite to them? Is there any form of compromise you could reach, for instance, you could offer to come in in emergencies [this may be impractical if you don't have childcare cover] - how often are these likely to occur? If you can see that you have understood your manager's concerns and sought to find a compromise solution you will stand a stronger chance of getting some form of flexibility.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Is it advisable to take a companion with you? I wasn't going to as I think it would make me feel even more intimidated, and also it might feel awkward for that employee, as obviously they still work there. But I don't want to be sitting there taking notes the whole time, yet I suppose there's a good chance that at some point something that was said might be disputed and I might need to look at some notes.

Editor: It is up to you and depends a lot on your relationship with your colleagues and manager. Some of your colleagues may be more than happy to come with you and take notes so you can focus on what you want to get across. If you are nervous it can be hard to take in all that is being said. 

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have applied flexible working in July, and I'm due back to work on the 22nd August. My colleague is on maternity leave and just left in July, I'm going back to do her hours which is 14 hrs. My line manager is really happy for me to go back, but the area manager has rejected my request, the reason is when my colleague comes back from maternity leave there won’t be enough space for both of us to work part time. Area manager also said: if I want to do her hours I have to resign and re-apply for temporary role to cover her. I think that is really unfair for me as I initially recruited her as permanent staff 6 years ago. My question is how can I appeal against this issue? Please give me some advice. Thank you very much! Looking forward to hearing from you!

Editor: If your employer turns down your flexible work application, they must give one of eight grounds for doing so - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml. That reason must also be explained to show they have made a reasonable assessment of the case. If you do not feel they have done that you have a right of appeal.  

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have applied for flexible working request of 28 hours over 5 days instead of 28 hours over four days and this was declined due to 1: a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demands 2: an insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work. The reasons for my request were due to childcare of getting my child to nursery for 9:00am and also work life balance due to me not coping with everything at the moment due to bereavement of my mother. What are my rights to appeal on this basis?

Editor: You would only be able to appeal if you feel the reasons given do not hold water or is discriminatory [for instance, if other staff work this pattern] and do not show that your employer has duly considered your request. Your employer can turn down a flexible working request on eight grounds, including the one you give in no. 1, but they must be able to back this up - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml. You may, however, be able to negotiate with them if you can come up with a compromise which addresses their concerns.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I requested to reduce my hours to 18 and do the following shift of 10-4 for three days. After chasing up with them they stated it was ok for me to do 10-4, however on one of the days I'd have to do a late shift. After raising concerns, they then suggested a completely different rota not taking into consideration they had already ok'd my request to do 10-4. Should I appeal?

Editor: Did they give any reason for either the first or second decision? Under flexible working legislation they have to show they have duly considered the request and they can only turn it down on eight grounds - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml - and they should give written reasons for any refusal. If they have not done so you could appeal on the grounds that they have not followed the legislation. If they have given reasons, you can contact one of our legal experts via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I requested to work four full days a week Monday to Thursday and have a Friday to look after my son. I explained to my employers that child care is covered by by husband on a Monday as he condensed his hours. A tues and Wednesday is booked for nursery and with my family living near London ( I am in Newcastle) that childcare are only available from parents. The nursery needs two consecutive days and my request has been rejected on grounds of detrimental effect the proposed changes would have on ability to meet customer demand, insufficiency of work during the periods I propose to work, an inability to re organise work amongst other collegues and an inability to recruit additional colleagues. I feel they have not taken my work life balance into account. I feel it's not flexible at all. I used to work mon to fri 9-5 before baby. Please help. I can appeal but seems on no grounds. There are many part time staff on my department and they have Fridays off.

Editor: The right to request flexible working is just that - a right to request and it can be refused on several grounds, including those listed by your employer. If you believe those grounds are not valid and that your employer has not fully considered your request [you say, for instance, that others work part time - do they do similar jobs to you?] then you can appeal, but you need to present this in a positive light for your employer and not just as a benefit to you.

Anonymous | Report this comment

i have been doing reduced hours for 3 months. I have now received a letter saying that my contract is 32.5hours on a split shift rota - this ensures that continuity of support and care given to residents and i am to go back to my contract hours. is this grounds for refusing to accept a request for flexible working or can i appeal.

Editor: Have you made a formal request for flexible working which was agreed and hence your hours were reduced and has this since been rescinded? It is unclear from what you say. If not, you should make a written formal request for reducing your hours.

Anonymous | Report this comment

during my appel process my work said they had 14 days to make there decion but didn't get back to me with a refusal till 24 days later.

Editor: This article shows the timescales provided for in the legislation - http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml. Did they give reasons provided for in the legislation and did they show that they had given your request due consideration? If not, you could appeal against the decision. I am unclear from your comment if you mean a refusal of your original request or that they turned down your appeal against your original request.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, if I am rejected for flexible working hours and the meetings and letters run past my return to work date after maternity leave where do I stand with regard to pay? for example, will I get paid from the date that I said I was returning or will I need to wait until the meetings/appeals etc are over.

Editor: Are you actually going to return to work on your stated date or stay on maternity leave? How much maternity leave have you taken? When did you start the process with regard to flexible working?

Anonymous | Report this comment

I will not be appealing my request refusal. I would like to know if I am expected to respond to their refusal letter? Employer knows that I will not do full time hours (only offered full time or nothing) so they assume I am going to leave. Should I give in my notice now or at end of maternity leave?

Editor: Resignations should take into account contractual notice. So you would need to give due notice before you return from maternity leave.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, I work as Specialist Biomedical Scientist in Blood Sciences at Hospital. I work full time (37.5hours per week) which includes a full place in Out Of Hours(OOH) rota which include Early, Late,Late-late, Night and Core shifts plus 2% on call.
I am 52 years old woman with some health problems like significant osteoarthritis in knees, osteopenia, Osteporosis, Back pain etc. etc. I am in constant pain while i am walking or standing because of no sign of any ligament laxity in joints.
Recently, I have appiled via Flexible Working Application form to reduce my working hours to 30 per week which includes 22.5 hrs. as OOH, the place which is already exits and 7.5 hrs. as a core shift.
Unfortunately, my application has been refused on the grounds of Detrimental effects on ability to meet sevice demand- Biomedical scientists are required to provide a 24 hour service, this request could be detrimental to provision of this OOH sevice. I am only asking for only one core shift which is 7.5hrs. per week as i am suffering from severe knee pain. I am willing to work most of the hours which 22.5 as OOH, the place need to be replaced.

The counter proposal is all 30 hrs. per week would be subject to working on the OOH rota if required.
I feel like this counter proposal could be worst if all 30hrs. would be OOH, I could be working a full place rota with less core shift. I will be in constant worry if i would accept the counter proposal as not knowing in future what rota i would be working as people are leaving constantly. I am sure my osteoarthritis is not going to get better as already it is in significant stage. i think i deserve to work as core shift as i can't walk.
I will be much apprecited if could help me.

Editor: Our employment law expert Tracey Guest says:

You need to send a letter to your employer, appealing against their decision in respect of your flexible working request.  Within your appeal, you should make it clear that you also lodging a grievance in respect of the company’s decision.  You should set out that you are submitting your request for flexible working purely because of your disability, i.e. your medical condition and make it clear what your medical condition is.  You should state that you would like the company to reconsider your request, given that you believe that this is a reasonable adjustment that your employer should make, due to your disability. 

If this matter is not then subsequently resolved to your satisfaction, please contact Tracey Guest on 0161 975 3823 for further advice. 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, myself and my husband work for the same hotel company as managers in different branches. We have both requested flexible hours, basically opposite shifts so our 18 month old son spends 5 hrs only per day with the childminder. This set pattern will only improve the quality of our work. It's been over 28 days since we applied and I have my meeting tomorrow and my husband's boss hasn't even arranged a meeting with him. What chances are there of it being rejected?

Editor: The legislation says that an employer must arrange a meeting to discuss a flexible working request within 28 days of receipt. Your husband should gently remind his boss about the timing stipulated in the legislation. If they continue not to reply, he should consider taking out a grievance. The legislation also lays down on what grounds flexible working requests may be rejected, but employers must show that they have given due consideration to any request - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml - and must explain the rejection in full. You can then appeal if you do not agree that they have abided by the legislation. 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi I am currently on maternity leave and work 4 days, a voluntary 24-hour on call system - based on site. I also worked saturday mornings 1 in 3 and sunday morning 1 in 6. I could find childcare for this working pattern - I have 3 children under 5. Since being on maternity leave a new working pattern has been introduced - whereby staff now have to work long days 12 hrs, and nights, and all day Saturday and Sunday. I am unable to get any childcare on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, I am happy to work any other shifts day or night of any other day, I even suggested doing a permanent night shift that other staff do not like. My request was rejected - the reason - 'the NHS can no longer be solely responsible for childcare issues and expect partners to take a more active role, and everyone is being treated the same' which leaves me with a huge problem as my husband is self employed and his busiest working time is the weekend. Also I have had no written information regarding the change in working patterns since being on maternity leave. I feel the only option for me is to look for alternative employment - would this be my best option?

Editor: You should certainly have been informed of and consulted about these changes while on maternity leave unless your contract specifically states that your employer can change your hours without doing so. I would bring this up with your employer - see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed

Anonymous | Report this comment

I work in a hospital which is bringing in shift working. I currently work reduced hours due to a back problem and because I am a carer for my elderly mother-in-law who lives with us. My meeting with Occupational Health has not helped as they are on the employer's side and I am being forced to work different shifts. What can I do to make them take notice of my situation?

Editor: What does your contract say about your hours and what was the agreement on the reduced hours? Is it conditional on your back condition improving and is this the case? Can you also get an opinion from your GP?

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi am currently on a flexible working contract. For the last 8 years and this has worked well. I went through a re structure at work and got through the assessment to keep my job,( not made redundant), but the job role now has changed and a new unit manager is in place. They have called a meeting with me to say with the new role the flexible working contract that was renewed in Sept is not working. I currently have a set 4 week rota including a set late and early once a week, all set days. He wants to change the rota to different days a week every week. Because of childcare I am not going to be able to do the required different shift pattern. How do I stand???

Editor: see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/q-and-a/all/7609807/hours-to-change-ask-the-expert.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have been refused part time hours, previously I worked on a shift pattern 6 days a week, I requested to reduce my days to 6 still working with in the shifts, my employer refused on the grounds they are too busy! And have given me the right to appeal I am still with in my 14 days and they are pressuring me to confirm a return to work date, do I have to return whilst the appeal is in process?

Editor: Your employer should assume you are taking 52 weeks off unless otherwise stated. If you have given them a return to work date and you want to change that you need to give eight weeks' notice. Do you have any accrued holiday you can add on to your maternity leave? You continue to accrue holiday in the normal way while on maternity leave. Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: It would seem more sensible that the employer sorts this out before she returns. She should clarify the situation with her employer.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi! My request has been declined on the grounds that there is not enough work for the days stated, (ability to recognise work and insuffiency of work in the periods the employee proposes to work) I currently work a shift pattern of 6 days on three days off, I have requested to go down to 50% (which is 10 days a month) set days, I have requested thur/fri and every other sat, this was declined saying there was not enough work, and instead put forward a split month pattern- which makes me more flexible for the company, working 2 wks on 2wks off. In the 2 wks on, doing any 10 days which they set me the month before. This in itself means that I shall be working full time for two wks, which I did not want- defeats the object of going part time. Is there anything u can do. There are currently people at my place if work on 50% set days (set out over the month as I requested), but they have basically said that too many staff are on set days and they do not have the work for set day patterns and it makes me less flexible. Do I have a right to appeal?

Editor: Is there any way you can meet your employer in the middle and address their concerns? You could appeal on the grounds that you do not think they have looked at all the possibilities - for instance, could you job share with someone else who wants to do a set shift? Your employer is more likely to agree your request if you can find a way that addresses their business concerns. You do not have to accept the proposal and can return to your original hours.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, I have been working for my employer for the last 7 years continuously delivering good pd ratings. after 5 years of employment I went on my 1st maternity leave and on return i asked for reduction of hours from full time to 21h= 3 full days. Eventually it has been granted after being given hard time by employer. Upon my return to work i found out that I was expecting again, therefore i worked for 5 months and had to go on another 52 weeks of maternity leave which is due to end in march 2014. In october 2013 my company requested every employee on every level to come forward and apply for voluntary reduction of hours or voluntary redundancy to help company achieve their goal of reductions of headcount by 1600FTE. I have responded to their request by requesting reduction of hours from 21h to 14h= 2 full days. As when me and my husband looked at our current circumstances, 2 days a week on my husbands days off is the only way i will be able to go back to work on. My company is open for business mon-sat (6 days a week).We offered to be available any 2 days of their choice mon-fri, and cannot do saturdays as i have no childcare cover on that day and my husband is contracted for all weekends.Plus I have offered to be trabsfered to other branches if neccessary.They refused my request. But I thought my circumstances around young children and my and my husband's traveling times were good enough grounds for appeal. I did appeal and went on d appeal meeting which turned up to be a very horrible experience that i was not prepared for being treated like on interrogation for at least gross missconduct, constantly being blocked, butted in, and no matter what i tried to say it felt like was not good enough as if they wanted to wash their hands of me. Following the meeting a rejection letter appeared, which stated that not only they uphold the decline decision for reduction of hours but also now I have no further right to appeal and request the flexible hours for the next 12months. It felt again like a slap in the face as i was not aware at ny stage that by a simple process of appeal of sometthing that my company was asking me to do i have used up my flex working request allowance for this year>>!!? All this time i was convinced that when my mat leave is due to expire i still will have the opportunity to ask for reduction of hours on d grounds of my childcare circumstances as normal. The rejection letter says otherwise. Surely they cannot just do that?? I feel they cutting me off and disrespecting, and it feels like i have to have lawyer's skills just to keep my job??! now my union rep advises me to challenge in writing the people who conducted my appeal. it was an independent branch manager of another store. and hr are convinced that ultimately it is a line manager discretion and area director's so i should have an informal chat with my manager. Now I dont know what to do anymore and which route will be more successful. The facts are that at no stage i have been offered any compromise, any alternatives or negotiations, i understood from appeal meeting that the issue for them is that i cannot do saturdays as they still expect 100% of flexibility, which is illogical as i would not be asking for reduction of hours and certain flexibility adjustments if i was flexible 100%. I have managed to book a meeting with my line manager next week, but good god i have absolutely no clue how should i conduct it to win it, and do i bring union rep or try to keep it informal chat and what arguments do i use to win them, i am a very good worker but i am not a lawyer, please help!!!??

Editor: our employment lawyer Louise Taft has replied:

Under the flexible working legislation, you have the right to make one request for flexible working each year. Your employer has to arrange a meeting to discuss it and offer an appeal against any refusal, which they appear to have done. Your employer can refuse a request for flexible working for business reasons, including an inability to reorganise work amongst other staff. Without sight of your employer’s letter, it is difficult to advise whether they fall within the legislation.

 

What is unclear is whether your application was a flexible working request or simply you responding to their request for volunteers to reduce hours. If the latter, you would still have the right to make a new request for flexible working, assuming 12 months have passed since your first request.

 

From a practical point of view, if you have a good relationship with your line manager, it may be worth an informal chat to see if you can agree a mutually beneficial rota. If not, you could make a further request for reduced hours for your return. Whilst there might be some argument over whether or not you have the right to make a second request within 12 months, as well as the flexible working legislation you are assisted by laws against indirect sex discrimination. Any restrictive rules that disadvantage women caring for children, such as requiring you to work on Saturdays or a specified number of days/hours per week, must be justified as proportionate. Again, it is difficult to advise without knowing more about your employer’s reasons for the refusal.

 

If you are not successful in persuading your employer to accept your chosen work pattern and cannot return to work as a result, you may have claims in the Employment Tribunal. You should seek specialist legal advice about your options if you are not able to resolve matters with your employer.

 

*Louise Taft is a senior Solicitor at Prolegal and has spent the past 10 years dealing with Employment Tribunal claims  on behalf of both Claimants and Respondents. She has a particular interest in claims involving Discrimination and Whistleblowing. For more information,Louise can be contacted on 0800 999 5005 or visit www.prolegal.co.uk 

 

Anonymous | Report this comment

i have recently returned to work after maternity leave and submitted a request to reduce my hours from 11.15 to 8.00 to 10.00 till 2.00 due to being unable to secure childcare as unable to afford the cost so a family member is looking after my daughter and these ate the only hours she can do. my employer refused this and i spoke to my union rep who was able to agree a compromise of 10.00 till 3.00 for 4 weeks to be reveiwed. the reason it was declinde was due to the company making some staff redundent and this means there are not enough staff to cover the inbound calls we receive. my reveiw is now up and my hours have been refused for the same reason and they want be back full time on my previous shift. as this is the case i may be forsed to resign. would i have any right to be able to seek legal action as before the redundencies other ladies in my dept have all been accepted there part time hours ?? also i was sent a letter to sign and send by to hr dept detailing my part time hours which did not state was only for 4 weeks.

Editor: Was it agreed that the new hours would be reviewed after four weeks, whether or not it was stated in the letter? Do you believe that your employer's reason for turning down the reduction in hours is reasonable, given the current situation of the company following the redundancies? If you do not - for instance, could they find someone to job share the later hours or to cover that shift, - you could appeal against the rejection. They must show that they have given a flexible working request due consideration and not just dismissed it out of hand - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

If employer is wise to the 8 reasons allowed they can (And do) just put this down regardless of the real reason. You can appeal until your blue in the face and it won't make any difference because of this. The legislation is a toothless tiger because all the employer is obliged to do is 'consider' and this is open to abuse.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have had wlb in place for a few years i work for a council they are now not letting anyone have it i have appealed but was late with my appeal as i have had stuff going on at home is their anything i can do please help.

Editor: Can you provide more information via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box? What is wlb? Have you been working flexibly and it has now been changed or have you recently applied for flexible working and been turned down? There is a certain timeframe for appealing against a flexible working decision so if you have fallen out of that timeframe it will make your position weaker. You could try contacting your HR department and explaining your situation.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have applied for flexible working hours and want to reduce my hours from 40 to 32 so working 4 full days instead of 5. I has my meeting yesterday to which I was told that I would need to wait for a decision by letter but "off the record" it will be refused. The reason I was given is that if they do it for me then there will be an option there for new managers to do the same (I am a store manager in retail) I was told I could appeal, but there's "no point as it won't make a difference" again "off the record." I am now unsure of what to do. I don't believe my request was even considered, that it was just looked at and they saw the 4 days and just thought no straight away. My management team all stepped up a role to cover my maternity leave so I believe they would be perfectly fine in managing to store for the 1 extra day, as they have been doing it for the past 9 months anyway. HELP!

Editor: Not setting a precedent is not one of the eight reasons allowed under the flexible working legislation for refusing an application so the fact that they have said this to you - no matter what they put in the rejection letter - is proof, as you say, that they have not given your request due consideration. As they seem resistant, however, you would have to build a good business case for letting you work flexibly, giving examples of other organisations in your sector who employ managers flexibly, although store management is an area where there is still less flexibility. Do a search on our website. Employers like Hobbs and William Hill are offering part-time management jobs and job shares - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/working-mums-magazine/all/page_2/6802413/the-changing-world-of-bookmaking.thtml, for instance. This is an area where there is change happening, but most jobs are still advertised as full time. 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi I currently work 25 hours over 3 days. I want to reduce my hours further to 18hours to accommodate school runs and preschool for my 2 yr old. Should I formally submit my application straight away or informally submit it first. Off the record I've been told it will be a 'no' as our team needs all the hours it can get. But is this a leg image reason for them to decline my application?

Also, if I suggest moving roles or working term time only within the unit does they disadvantage me in any way?

Editor: If you think your employer is going to say no, it is a good idea to go with a formal request as they then have to conform to certain timescales and processes, for instance, they have to give one of eight grounds for rejecting your request and must show that they have givne it due consideration and not just dismissed it straight away. You would have to consider for yourself, based on any alternative roles suggested, what the implications might be for your terms and conditions, for instance, if it was a role at a lesser grade and salary band and how working term time only might impact on your salary as your hours would be annualised. For more information on the flexible working process, see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, I work for a roofing company and I used to work 7.30am till 5.00pm.
I applied for flexible working mon-fri 7.30 to 2.00. They rejected this just stating it did not meet customer demands. That's it. Can I appeal?

Editor: You have a certain timeframe in which to appeal. They can only reject a request on eight grounds and they must state why they have done so and show they have given your request due consideration - http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

I recently had an application for flexible working rejected. They didn't clearly state one of the 8 reasons and I disagreed with their argument so I submitted an appeal letter. What should I do if they don't reply within 14 days?

Editor: You could initially alert them to the fact that they are late in replying and draw their attention to the timeframe allowed by the legislation. If they still don't respond you could consider lodging a grievance.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I was granted flexible working hours but was given a monday instead of a saturday which would be benefit myself and the business can I appeal.

Editor: You do not have to accept an alternative to the flexible work request you put in. Have they given a reason for not granting your original request? In part the process is a negotiation so if you appeal you might need to address the reasons they give for not granting you a Saturday.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I used to work flexible hours after my first maternity leave (working from home on a monday, then 9.30-4.40 including working through lunch) but I don't have anything in writing. After the birth of my second child I put in a request for flexible working again (working from home Monday, 8.30-4.30 the other days) but it was refused and valid reasons given. They want me to do Monday from home, tues and Friday 9.30-5.30, wed and thurs 9.30-6.30/7). My contract states 9.30-5.30 but also says that the hours can change to suit the business. I appealed and it was rejected. I now want to issue a grievance on the delay in them coming to a decision in my application as they told me the change of hours needed a week before I was due to go back to work, ie 2 weeks later than they should have done and as I put the request in 6 weeks before I was due back I feel that could have communicated sooner to allow me to sort out appropriate childcare. I honestly feel pushed out, but don't feel I should resign. A grievance is the next step i think but just want to be sure that It'slegit. Please advise

Editor: You could file a grievance, but you need to consider what it will achieve. If you want to negotiate in the future over flexible working, even on an ad hoc basis, it could be more difficult and the business reasons for rejecting your request will still stand. Instead, could you come up with a compromise and mention the delay and the problems this has caused you with childcare?

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi im coming up to the end of my maternity leave, my employer suggested themselves to work two days a week for eight hours, they then changed this to five days a week four hours a day. I live quite far away from my workplace and will be travelling by public transport because of this my childcare expence and travel has tripled. If they make me work these hours i will lose my house. I have worked there for over two years now. When given my options i appealed 6 days later when i phoned HR to tell them they said i wasnt allowed but i told them legally i was and they just accepted it with no arguments which makes me feel they are trying to trick me, which i have read for the reason of them not informing me of my rights i could make a complaint in the employment turbinal? Also i fall under the categories of - i have a child, im a single parent, i am the only person responsible for my child, im only asking for change to be able to care for my child and i hsve never asked before. I have also read about sex discrimination and i am not sure if i fall into this as i moved from my workplace to a different location for the same employer, in every meeting i had before i made the desicion i stressed on my maternity and returning and they said everytime they would work with me to make everything work, do you think i have a chance of winning this appeal? Also i have only spoke over the phone i have not yet seent he letter which is at my new address that i will be picking up tomorrow, so i do not know yet if they have explained out of the eight reasons why they have rejected me but also read without proper explanation of the eight reasons and proof i could still fall under the sex discrimination is all this correct? thank you so much for this site and helping me.

Editor: The best thing would be for you to get back to us when you know what the written reasons are for refusing your request. Have you been working five days a week before this? Are they saying they need the cover? Is there any way around this? Can you suggest something which meets them halfway and covers their concerns or do you consider their reasons are not valid? Just the fact that they told you you had to accept the alternative they suggested would probably not be enough at tribunal as they could claim this was an error and employers can turn down a flexible work request, but must show they have given it due consideration and not just dismissed it out of hand.

 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, I have recently had a meeting with my line manager and hr manager to request flexible working when I return to work in September. My current working hours are mon-fri 9-5 and I have requested to change this to mon-we'd 9-5 as these are the days my son will be in nursery however I have a strong feeling this will be declined. My manager has stated that she would need me to come back mon,wed and Fridays as my property managers would not wait 2 days for a response to any emails or calls. However there is already another team member who does the exact same job as me works tue,wed,Thursday therefore her property managers have to wait 2 days for a response so really I feel this is unfair to say this. I'm just looking for some advice on how to appeal if my request is rejected on this basis. I have already been told they are 1 happy to give me 3 days and 2 they have work for me for 3 days. Thanks in advance. X

Editor: It depends very much on what grounds they might turn down your request and whether you think this is reasonable and they have given your request due consideration and not just dismissed it out of hand. If you feel there is someone doing the same job as you on reduced hours you could raise this as part of an appeal. Is there any way of getting round their concerns - for instance, suggesting you can take urgent calls on the days you are not there and explaining that it is quite usual to put on emails what your working hours are so that expectations are managed better. Perhaps you could also suggest a trial period.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi
I am due to go back to work in September and have requested to change my hours from full time over 5 days to 4 days. My boss has rejected this request in writing as he feels my job is full time and needs to be able to answer customers every day. Does this fit into one of the 8 reasons? I feel he is only saying this to make me work 5 days as he had previously said in initial Mtg that he was lucky no one else had ever got pregnant and he did not want me to go to 4 days as it would set a precedent for anyone else that got pregnant and thought they could go to 4 days.
What can I do?

Editor: He should cite one of the eight reasons, but this could fit under one of them. He should go into detail to back up his decision. You can appeal if you think the reason is not valid and perhaps suggest ways that would answer his concerns [this is why he should go into detail]. You could also suggest a trial run if he is reluctant.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Good Morning,

My flexible working request(work from home) has been rejected on the basis of determinant impact on quality and performances basis. In my request i asked 3 days to work from home when i will return from maternity and the childminder will take care of the baby when i will work from home.

I have submitted the appeal on the basis of as one of my male colleague already working from home in presence of his family as he live far away from work place. This is in his contract to work from home. one of my other team member also work from home on Wednesday as he has to pick his child from nursery( this is not in his contact). Also they misquote points during the meeting in decision. Would that be a valid point of discrimination to allow a male colleagues working from home (based on any reason and grounds)?
The appeal is scheduled now with HR director and my director.
my line manager was very positive about the request but the HR doesn't seems to allow me.

Editor: Are you saying your HR is not allowing the appeal? When did you file your request? If it was before the end of June, you would have a right to appeal. Does your colleague do the same job as you?

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, I'm a dad who who been refused a request for flexible working to reduce from 5 to 3 days. I originally suggested a 3 month trial. I feel as though an appeal will ultimately end in refusal as I understand that they just don't want it to happen. I have resigned as a result so I can help look after my daughter. What should I do?

Editor: When did you file your request as there is no automatic right to appeal for requests filed after the new flexible working legislation came in at the end of June? With those filed before the end of June there is a certain time limit within which you have to make an appeal - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml. You say, however, that you have resigned, are you considering legal action? The fact that you have not appealed would count against you on this as it is always good to have exhausted all the options open to you first.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am currently on maternity leave and was working full time before I went off. I put in a flexible working request a couple of weeks ago asking to reduce my hours to 3 days a week when I return in November. A week later my employer announced a restructure where 20% of staff are estimated to be made redundant.

My request has been rejected due to the structural changes and uncertainty but they have said in the rejection letter that it will be considered as part of the individual consultation period. However by this point the voluntary window will have closed. Where do I stand? I don't want to leave my job if I can work part-time but if not then I don't want to miss out on a package. I would leave if full time was the only option. I have been given 14 days to appeal the decision. Any advice please?!

Editor: In the appeal you have nothing to lose by pushing for as much information on the likelihood that there will be part-time roles after the restructure. You will need to ask detailed questions about the restructure to get an idea of what is planned. You could put your cards on the table, tell them your position and ask them to give you a response before the cut-off date for voluntary redundancies, but you might risk them delaying so you miss the redundancy payment.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I was currently on a fixed shift pattern working 6 days on and 3 days off. I have asked to return to work on a 50% basis working fixed days (ideally week days only) but possibly do weekends where needed to fit with child care. It has been rejected due to the inability to reorganise staff to cover me.

There are other employees doing the same job as me and have been granted set days, however the company has advised that they can no longer cover this and have offered a 50% variiable shift pattern working 10 days over a two period. This doesn't work for child care as no nursery will accept a child on that basis.

My husband also works for the company on a shift pattern so he cannot help and I don't have any family close by to look after my daughter whilst Im working.

My manager has also not followed the process correctly and did not offer me a meeting to discuss my request. It was also rejected partly based on incorrect facts stating I couldn't work weekends when in fact I had offered.

Editor: You could lodge an appeal under the grounds you have stated above. However, there is no longer an automatic right of appeal under the changes to flexible work legislation brought in at the end of July so it would depend when you started the process. The Acas code of practice suggests employers should offer a right of appeal, though. You would need to take into account your employer's concerns and try to find a mutual solution to the problem.

 

 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi my workplace have refused to allow me to change my working hours. I currently worki up to 9pm on a Wednesday evening and my daughter is due to start school in September. We have recently moved and my mum previously cared for her but she works in the evenings. My daughter doesn't see her dad or his family therefore I have requested to work school hours to be there for pick up and drop off.. My work have refused this and I am having a appeal meeting tomorrow... Any suggestions I am just absolutely stuck for ideas on what to do if I do not win the appeal...are they are rights as a single parent...

Editor: If you require advice from our experts, please write with more details via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi,

I have requested to work 3 days but work would like me to work 28 hours (so four days)
They refused my application on the grounds that detrimental effect on ability to meet clients demands as not able to cover work, detrimental effect on quality over busy period of month end, limited staff so unable to relocate work, unable to recruit staff.

I have appealed this decision on the grounds that I am able to work longer days with half hour lunches on the three days and then will work four days over the busy period to ensure I am doing 112 hours a month as they have asked.

If they decline this do I have grounds for constructive dismissal?

Editor: You will need to provide more information via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box. Do you feel they are deliberately being obstructive or do they have a reasonable business case that they need cover across four days, eg, to answer phones, etc? Could you negotiate a trial period to show that it can work if you feel they are just cautious?

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi,

i am operations manager in catering business, i have requested to work 2 days per week from home and three days per week, work base, because of my kid ill health.

There are other employees doing same job as me and they have been granted the set days or they can work from home if they are not needed to be in work place on certain days.
However my manager did not agree. he stated on the letter
The proposal is to reduce my contractual hours to 24hrs per week, working three days a week, also they stated on letter

-Working from home two days a week would have an impact on the business requirement as i would have limited access, to staff, customers and client,
- Due to the fact that there is no manager on site they will be required to to provide another manager to work two days per week.
But i have worked for this company for over 15 years and i know that sometimes we are not required to be on site, also they have mentioned on letter that they would have to provide another manager to cover for the two days, the company has never provided cover when i am on annual leave or sick leave and i know that they will not provide another manager to cover for the two days, therefore if i accept their proposal i will be left with all the work that was not completed during my absence.
I am appealing, how can i explain to the company that i have been discriminated against Under equality act 2010
Please advise

Editor: Can you explain a little about why you feel you have been discriminated against? You can appeal if you feel your employer has not given due consideration to your request and the grounds given are not justified and you can add that other managers doing similar jobs have been granted similar flexible working. 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Dear Mr/Mrs I have put in a letter for flexible works hours and at the meeting was told it was refused. I got a letter that day staing it was because of the needs of the company and given 7 days to appeal. I have put in an appeal letter 2 weeks ago and no one has replied or got back in contact with regards to my appeal.. no what do I do?

Editor: Have you asked when you might receive a response? The whole flexible working process should take no more than three months in total, but under the changes to flexible working legislation there is no longer a statutory right to appeal, although this is recommended as good practice by Acas.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I work 22.5hrs as a staff nurse and 2 young kid age 5 and 10. My partner work full time in NHS and we have no family around. We have being struggling to look after the kid during school holidays. I apply for flexible hours to work only terms time as per the Trust policy 0n the 28th August but still have had no meeting arrange to discuss this with my line manager, only things I get that we will meet next week and I can bring a work colleague. My line manager has not set a date or time in writing which make it difficult to arrange any representative. I keep getting a vibe that she is going to refuse my request.

Editor: Under the extension of flexible working the time frame for dealing with requests is more loose. The stipulation is only that the whole issue be resolved in three months. Your employer can only turn your request down on one of eight grounds - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-toolkit/7890872/extending-flexible-working.thtml

Anonymous | Report this comment

I work 40 hours a week, Monday to Thursday 8am till 4.45pm and 8am til 3.30pm on Fridays. I have requested to work 33 hours a week, Tuesday to Friday 8am till 4.45pm. My request had been rejected for business reasons. They have stated that Mondays are a particularly busy day (no busier than any other day!) and this would place undue pressure on the rest of the team. The request does not fall in line with the strategy of the department moving forward which will require the team to deliver the service to a wider customer base without additional resource.
They have offered me 37 hours a week (Monday to Friday) so that I can arrange to drop and pick up my child from Nursery.
Do I have any chance of an appeal or do the reasons they have given cover them? Im so disappointed.

Editor: You can appeal if you believe they have not given your request due consideration, but the fact that they have come up with a compromise suggests they have. You would need to have arguments ready which would counter the reasons they have given, which are allowed within the flexible working legislation [employers can turn down requests on eight different grounds], eg dealing with the issue of the impending increased workload. Do they give any timeframe for this?

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have requested flexible working hours from 4 days to 3 days. I requested this on 9/7/14. My manager has not yet got back to me other than an acknowledgement to say she received the request. I have worked for this company for over 30 years. What happens is she misses the 3 month deadline for consideration?

Editor: You could submit a grievance for failure to comply with the flexible working legislation. Have you been in touch since to ask what is happening?

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have submitted a flexible working request reducing my hours from 35 to 21 a week over three days. this has been refused as there would be 'a detrimental effect on our ability to meet client demand and detrimental impact on the performance of the team and unable to effectively rearrange work among existing colleagues'. Although they have come back advising that I would be able to work four days reducing my hours to 28 hours a week, however they have specified I would have to work a friday. The reason for this is due to having less hours contracted to work on this day from the core team. (one of my colleagues works a condensed week and has Fridays off. However the childcare provider I have is unable to do Fridays. I appreciate they have been flexible and would be willing to accept four days, although my childcare provider is not able to do Fridays. Do I have grounds for an appeal?

Editor: They have given valid reasons under the flexible working legislation. If you were to appeal it would need to be because you do not belive they have given your request due consideration. You could try to informally negotiate with them, but you would need to address any legitimate business concerns they have.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have submitted a flexi hours request to my company where i still continue to make up my full 40 hours a week, just coming in late a few mornings as dropping little one, leaving once a week at 3 then work from home & one day a week leave lunch time, use my lunch to pick up my little one and continue wfh for the rest of the afternoon. My eldest has learning difficulties @ my little one is 3.5. I was rejected but offered to leave twice a week at 3 so that i can be there with my eldest BUT i was told that i cant be the main carer of my 3.5 year old and work at the same time. Their letter says that My job as accountant requires full concentration while performing my duties and the companies expectation is that i wouldnt be the main carer for my child and be able to work same as in being in office.
The company has other ladies in different positions within the company that work one whole day from home to mind and pick up their kids. There is also a senior within my team with 3 people reporting to her that leaves @ 3 a few times a week, picks up her kids and works from home. I have also worked many times from home and this hasnt affected my work.
Can you please let me know whether i have grounds to appeal as i strongly feel i do.
Thanks

Editor: It is quite common for employers to insist you cannot work from home while looking after a child. Do the people you have mentioned do similar roles? Is there any way around this, for instance, you could be on call and make up the hours in the evenings when there might be other support around or the children are in bed?

Anonymous | Report this comment

Yes similar role of course within the same team, they are finance managers.

Editor: If you are sure they work with children present it is worth bringing it up.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Does the 14 days include weekends?

Editor: The legislation has recently been changed and there is now no statutory right to appeal since end of June. However, appeals are advised by Acas. Time scales are more vague. The whole process has to finish within three months now.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hello I have requested flexible working hours I used to do 40 hours a week, I've asked to cut them down to two days a week and in the meeting I requested the days to be together but it could be any days including weekend, in there reply they have me a Tuesday and a Saturday the reason for the days to be like together is because my childcare is having to travel from another county and will be staying with us for the days I need childcare. So I can't physically do them days so I need to appeal. But when I was on leave they employed a girl who does two days a week and her hours are the ones in the way for my days not being together, I've spoke to HR department and they said because I'm changing my terms and condition they have to look at the company in it's current state and I dosnt matter that she was empolyed whilst I was on leave, is this right?? She did say if I wanted my old hours back I would be offered them even if it mean the salon to be over staffed, can I also put in my appeal to work two days together on trail because they are worried that I won't have any custom, but I was a very busy stylist the busiest in the salon before I left, and if I don't get busy within a month or two to be cut to one day a week? Which was mentioned in the meeting by my employer, I will still not be happy because the person they empolyed does two days and her days are closer together but I don't know where if stand. They also failed to tell me I could have someone in there with me but the manager and area manger where already in there? I had soooo much trouble with them about going on maternity leave I'm dreading the whole process.

Editor: They are right that they have to think about the business as it now is and it may be difficult for them legally to get the other employee to change her days as that would require her agreement as it would constitute a change to her terms and conditions - unless she is willing to change. Is there any way of knowing if that is the case? In your appeal you would have to address their business concerns. Are there no other two days you could work together, for instance? 

Anonymous | Report this comment

thank you for getting back to me, I will look into if anybody will be willing to change hours, I think I'm being flexible as I've said I will be willing to do any days in the week as long as they are together, I'm writing my appeal letter now can I appeal on the ground that's no trail period has been offered and its impossible for me to do those hours because of childcare, also maybe if I know/ find out they haven't discussed with the team about anyone changing days ?

Editor: The link above lays out the grounds on which you can appeal, although there is no longer a statutory right of appeal ie it is whether you think your employer did not give your request due consideration. Employers do not have to offer trial periods. 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi everyone. I used to work 27 hours a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays 7 am until 4.30 pm. The company I work for asked for flexibility and availability from all staff. I am a single mother and my daughter is 3 years old . My manager gave my lots of letters to make me offer flexibility Saturdays 4 pm until 11 pm.she said I will be dismissed if I do not accept. Because I didn't want to lose my job I signed the document and since then my manager puts me down on the rota every Saturday even if I have other colleagues who offered to work Saturdays. She also said before to sign that it will only be a sgift ir two for me to do a month just to replace someone on holiday or sick. My mum was looking after my child but she is working as well on weekends from 6 am. She is very tired and she cannot do it any more. Also my child is in distress because I am not home to put her to bed. I do not know what to do. I applied for flexible working and I have the meeting in one week. My manager called another manger,who is friend with her to hold the meting.

Editor: You cannot be sacked for not agreeing new hours without your employer risking a claim of unfair dismissal. However, since you did accept the new hours it would be difficult to argue this now. With regard to the flexible working application, your employer must give it due consideration and can only reject it on one of eight grounds - see http://www.workingmums.co.uk/working-mums-magazine/hot-topics/7890872/extending-flexible-working.thtml. If you feel this is not the case and they have not given it reasonable consideration and the reason for rejecting it is not valid [eg other staff doing similar work work a similar pattern] then you can appeal. It is a good idea to anticipate their potential reasons for turning down your request and to prepare a strong case for why you should be granted the hours you are seeking. 

 

Anonymous | Report this comment

Post a comment. For advice go to our Advice & Support page