So you want to work flexibly? We don’t blame you. It’s great.

You could work fewer days per week, or do flexitime around life commitments, or maybe try remote working. You might be returning from maternity leave and want some flexibility with childcare commitments. (Parental leave is a temporary option, and after it ends you still need to take care of your little one.)

There are plenty of reasons you’d want to do it, and we totally get it. That's why we've put together this handy guide to help you make a statutory request for flexible working. We'll tell you how the process works – it’s dead simple – so you can confidently approach your employer and make your case for a more flexible work arrangement.

We’ve also provided a request letter template you can copy for yourself to give to your employer.

When can you make a flexible working request?

You can do it any time!

Thankfully, since April 2024, companies have a legal requirement to consider your request in a reasonable manner even if you’ve only been in the job a number of hours(!). Yep, you can legally make a flexible working application from day one.

Hopefully you checked out your company’s flexible working policy before joining – it might not be well-received if you didn’t mention your desire in the interview! But you’re legally allowed to do it, whether you’re part-time or full-time. Previously, you’d have to have 26 weeks of service before asking).

Statutory flexible working request letter template

Here’s a flexible working request template letter you can fill in to give to your line manager.

There’s no need to complicate it. Just copy this text into a new document, and replace the bold bits with the required information.

It gives you the opportunity to explain why your proposed working change won’t have a detrimental effect on your work.

Subject: Statutory Request for Flexible Working

Date: [The date]

Dear [Employer / manager's name],

I'm writing to make a formal statutory request for flexible working arrangements, in accordance with Section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

I [have / have not] made a previous statutory request for flexible working on [the date of previous request, if applicable].

My current working pattern is: [the hours and days you currently work]

I'd like to request the following change(s) to my current working pattern:

[The flexible working arrangement you're proposing. That'll be the changes to your hours, work days, or working location]

I'd like this new working pattern to start from [your proposed start date].

I believe that this flexible working arrangement will allow me to better balance my work and personal commitments while continuing to meet the requirements of my role. I've considered the potential impact on the business and suggest the following measures to prevent any issues:

[Explain how you think your proposed changes might affect the business, and suggest things you can do to address any concerns]

I’m confident that I can maintain the same productivity and quality of work under this new arrangement. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this request with you further, and I'm open to exploring alternative options that may work for both myself and the company.

Please let me know if you need any additional information to consider my request. I understand that you have up to three months to provide a decision, as per the statutory guidelines.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, [Your name]

Things to keep in mind when making a request for flexible work

  • The template above is a bit formal. If you want to change the language to make it sound a bit more like you, you can always do that.
  • You can always mention the fact that you’d be willing to do a trial period before any permanent change, although this isn’t mandatory.
  • If your employer feels that your request will have a detrimental impact on your work, they’re allowed to decline it for business reasons. They might not be able to bring in additional staff to cover the shortfall at a time of high customer demand, for example. They might have planned structural changes coming up, or they might think work quality will decline.
  • You’ll be able to make two statutory requests in a 12-month period, so you can always try again down the line. That said, be aware that it might take up to 3 months for them to consider your request, and possibly longer if you both agree to it. So do make sure to get it in early.
  • If your request is related to the Equality Act 2010, and involved making you more comfortable due to a protected characteristic, make sure to mention that.