Q: I would like to move to a 4 day working week for the next few years before I retire so I can enjoy some long weekends away. How do I approach this with my employer?
A. The right to request flexible working came into force back in 2003 initially only applying to carers of small children but more recently applying to carers of children under 17 and those who care for adults. From 30th June 2014, all employees who have more than 26 weeks' service with their employer will have the right to request flexible working. Employers have a duty to deal with such requests in a reasonable manner. ACAS has issued a code to assist employers. The former statutory procedure which had to be followed has been abolished.
Many employers have already recognised the benefits of employee loyalty and productivity that flexible working can bring to an organisation and been allowing flexible working requests from any employee already. You should approach your employer with your request and be prepared to be specific about the changes you require and how you consider this will affect your role, your colleagues and the business. You should have the right to appeal against your employer's decision. If you consider your employer has failed to deal with the request in a reasonable manner you may wish to start an employment tribunal claim but I advise you to seek expert legal advice if considering this route.
Martin Bloom, Partner and Head of Employment Law