Can my manager force me to do a formal request for flexible working a year after I started working flexibly?

I’ve worked for the same company for over 20 years and early last year I asked for flexible working hours so I could spend more time with my son for a number of reasons. My employer agreed, but didn’t want to put anything in writing. Now there seems to be a problem as I have been in a couple of meetings over the last few weeks and asked to justify my reasons for this. They have now given me a formal flexible working request form to fill out 12 months after I started my new agreed hours, but expecting me to put my old working hours in as this is a formal request. Please can you give me any advice as I’m unsure how to go about this.

You could argue that your contract has changed by way of custom and practice over the last 12 months, but the easiest way to deal with your employer is probably to fill out the formal request. Whilst putting in your original hours, your request should make clear the hours you have been working since April 2017. It should detail how this has worked and how any difficulties have been overcome.

  • Your employer can only refuse your request for one or more of the following reasons:
  • The burden of additional costs.
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
  • Inability to reorganise work among existing staff.
  • Inability to recruit additional staff.
  • Detrimental impact on quality.
  • Detrimental impact on performance.
  • Insufficiency of work during the periods you propose to work.
  • Planned structural changes.

If you have been working successfully in your flexible arrangement for over a year, it will be difficult for them to refuse the request unless there are any planned structural changes.


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