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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 63479
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have applied for flexible working to reduce my hours by 3

Customer Question

Hi. I have applied for flexible working to reduce my hours by 3 hours 2 days a week in order to collect my son from school as he is suffering from anxiety and we have had a change in childcare meaning I no longer have it,
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I put in a formal written request in July and its still ongoing
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: employee can you just bare with me please
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: They are not being helpful at all. I asked for 6 hours a week reduction, offered to work from home and alter some procedures. the only thing i was offered was a 3 days week reducing my salary by 2/5
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. Firstly, I need to ask some initial questions to determine the legal position.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
the initial request was made in July. The first meeting wasn't until Sept due to staff holiday (not mine) they knew I had no childcare from Sept.
I offered various options. They asked me to think about the option they offered which was the huge reduction in hours. I was given unpaid afternoons off in October to collect my son. I understood this to be an interim measure while they advertised for a job share. I had agreed on the 8th Oct verbally to my line manager that I would have to take what they were offering as I have no choice. I then received a letter asking me to confirm yet again my choice by 23rd October. It turns out the advert wasn't even placed until Nov 1st and they have informed me and the team that if recruitment is unsuccessful nothing will change and I will not be allowed any further time off to collect my son
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

What reason have they provided for the delay and how long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I've worked here since Sept 2018 but on a fixed term contract since February 2019
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
i feel like they are backing me into a corner to continue my current hours or hand my notice in
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
They haven't given a reason for the delay. lots of things have been said verbally then followed up weeks later by a letter. My fixed term contract ends in February and i think they will suspend it due to this. Which wasn't their plan originally as I've been asked to provide holiday dates for 2020
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
ok thank you
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
i do have paperwork if you need to see it
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. Once an employer receives a formal request they must deal with it in a reasonable manner, ideally meeting with the employee to discuss it and, if rejected, communicate their decision within 3 months of the date the initial request was submitted. When rejecting the request, the employer is only able to do so by relying on any of the following grounds:

{C}· Planned structural changes

{C}· The burden of additional costs

{C}· A detrimental impact on quality

{C}· The inability to recruit additional staff

{C}· A detrimental impact on performance

{C}· The inability to reorganise work among existing staff

{C}· A detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand

{C}· Lack of work during the periods the employee proposes to work


Ideally, the employer should also try and explain their decision in writing, such as providing information on why they believe the selected reason for rejection is relevant and they have relied on it.


It is important to note that when selecting the ground for refusal the legal test is mainly a subjective one on the part of the employer. If the employer considers that one of the grounds applies, then the test is satisfied. The test does not create any requirement of reasonableness into the employer's judgment. It would appear that only if the employer's view is based on incorrect facts, could the decision actually be challenged as incorrect.


An appeal can be submitted if the application has been rejected. If the appeal is rejected or a decision has not been communicated in time, then the only option left is to make a claim in the employment tribunal. A claim can only be made on one or more of the following grounds:

{C}· The employer failed to hold a meeting, notify their decision within 3 months or offer a right of appeal

{C}· The reason for refusal was not for one of the allowed reasons

{C}· The rejection was based on incorrect facts


The claim should be presented to the tribunal within 3 months of either the procedural breach or of the date on which the employee is notified of the appeal decision.


Does this answer your query?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can simply reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’ and I won’t bother you again. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Hello, not sure if you are having trouble seeing my posts? I have not heard back from you since posting my answer and just need to know if your query has been resolved. If you could please post a quick reply to confirm I would be very grateful. Thank you