Flexible Working

Can I demand a 'flexible work pattern', e.g. part-time hours?

Quite simply, no.

No employee has the right to demand a change in working hours. All employees can make an informal request, some may also have a formal right to make such a request. See question 2 for more information.

Can I make a request for a 'flexible work pattern'?

Since changes to the legislation, anyone who has been employed or at least 26 weeks has the right to request flexible working. More information is available on the GOV.UK website at https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working/overview

What must my school / Headteacher do about my request?

For formal requests from parents a Headteacher must respond within 28 days of the request, either agreeing to it, or arranging a meeting to discuss it further. If a meeting takes place, then the Headteacher must inform you of his decision to agree to the request, or refuse it. There is not a legal requirement for schools to agree to such requests, nor is there any legal right to appeal - although many schools will have an appeals process.

Can my request be refused?

Following a formal request, refusals can only be made in a number of specified circumstances.These include:

    • extra costs that will damage the business
    • the work can’t be reorganised among other staff
    • people can’t be recruited to do the work
    • flexible working will affect quality and performance
    • the business won’t be able to meet customer demand
    • there’s a lack of work to do during the proposed working times
    • the business is planning changes to the workforce

Further Information

The National Union of Teachers has produced a guide for teachers on requesting flexible work patterns. You can download it from their information page, here: