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Flexible and hybrid working

An employee's statutory right to request flexible working was dramatically widened in June 2014. Before this date, employees needed to meet prescriptive eligibility requirements, such as having caring responsibilities for either a child or an adult in need of care. Now, all an employee needs to be eligible to request flexible working is 26 weeks' continuous service and not to have made a previous request within the last year. The statutory procedure for dealing with flexible working requests was also repealed.
That said, even eligible employees do not have the right to work flexibly, but rather a right to submit a request to their employer for flexible working. On receipt of the request, following the law change, the employer is under a duty to consider the request in a reasonable manner, but does not have to follow a statutory procedure.
Due to the increased interest in hybrid working, it has been included in this topic area. As a form of flexible working, it can be accessed through the formal procedure. However many organisations are considering moving to a hybrid model on an organisation wide level, rather than via individual requests. As such, information on implementing and managing hybrid working specifically has been added to the in-depth section. 

Key points

  • The right to request flexible working is available to employees with a minimum of 26 weeks' continuous service with the employer.
  • No qualifying period of employment is required for claiming unfair dismissal where an employee has been dismissed for making a request for flexible working.
  • The right to request flexible working applies to both full-time and part-time employees.
  • If a request for flexible working is refused, the employee must make any claims to an employment tribunal within three months of the 'relevant date'.
  • Hybrid working is a particular kind of flexible working that combines the benefit of being both in the workplace, and at home. 
  • Organisations that are a 'good fit' for hybrid working can see benefits in the wellbeing, engagement, and motivation of their employees, as well as in productivity. 
  • Guidance from Acas and the CIPD on hybrid working helps employers to transition into this way of working, and highlights the important considerations to make.
  • See our 'Hybrid working toolkit' for information and tools from around the site.