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The statutory right to request flexible working entitles qualifying employees to apply to their employers for a change to their terms and conditions of employment relating to their hours, times or location of work. The change could include, for example, working part-time, from home or compressed hours. Employers may only refuse the request on grounds defined in legislation, for example, the burden of additional costs or a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand.

The right to request flexible working was introduced by section 47 of the Employment Act 2002. Since then successive Governments have extended the right to wider categories of employees.

On 30 June 2014 the Children and Families Act 2014 extended the right to all employees.

On 1 October 2018 the Government published a press release stating that it would consider creating a duty for employers to consider, prior to advertising it, whether a job could be worked flexibly.

This note provides an overview of the right to request flexible working. It explains the legal framework, charts the development of the right since its introduction and discusses government policy.

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