How to handle flexible working requests

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

Last reviewed on 5 October 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 5809
  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. Know when you can refuse a request 
  5. Offer staff an appeals process 
  6. 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 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.

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, as long as they've worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks. This includes part-time workers. However, it does not cover agency workers unless they're returning from parental leave.

An employee can only make 1 statutory application in any 12-month period. See The Flexible Working Regulations 2014 and section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Staff who don't meet the requirements for a statutory request can make a non-statutory