How to respond to flexible working requests

Learn how to confidently respond to any flexible working requests you receive. Download our request form to give to your staff, and understand what you need to do when you receive a request, and how you must make a decision.

Last reviewed on 11 March 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 5809
Contents
  1. What it is and who can request it 
  2. Share our request form with staff   
  3. What to do when you receive a request
  4. Hold a trial period
  5. Know when you can refuse a request 
  6. Offer staff an appeals process 
  7. Take a whole-school approach to flexible working

What it is and who can request it 

Flexible working may involve:

  • Job sharing
  • Working off-site (e.g teachers carrying out planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) work from home)
  • Working part-time
  • Compressed hours
  • Flexitime
  • Annualised hours
  • Staggered hours
  • Phased retirement

This is set out in the DfE's guidance on flexible working in schools  note that this guidance is due to be updated in April.

Flexible working can benefit your school by helping you to:

  • Retain experienced staff
  • Recruit from a broader pool of teachers
  • Improve your staff's wellbeing and work-life balance 

Statutory requests

All employees have the right to make a statutory request for flexible working from day 1 of employment (previously from 26 weeks).

This includes part-time workers. However, it does not cover agency workers unless they're returning from parental leave.

An employee can make 2 statutory requests in a 12-month period. See section 4 of the Employment Regulations (Flexible Working) Act 2023.

Staff who don't meet the requirements

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