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Flexible working

Looking after someone can take up a lot of your time. If you also have to work it can feel as though there aren't enough hours in the day. If you're looking after someone, you may be entitled to request flexible working arrangements from your employer. This will help you to manage your time more effectively and reduce the stresses of managing two demanding roles.

What is flexible working?

Flexible working could include:

  • flexi-time
  • home working
  • annualised hours
  • compressed hours
  • shift swapping
  • job sharing
  • term-time working
  • part-time working
  • flexible holidays.

Flexible working can be a very helpful tool helping you to balance work and your caring commitments.

Who can request flexible working?

If you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks you can apply to make a permanent change to your terms and conditions. Only one request is allowed in a year and your employer has up to three months to make a decision.

You have the right to request flexible working if you care for, or expect to care for:

  • a spouse or partner
  • a relative such as an uncle, sister, parent-in-law, son-in-law or grandparent, or
  • an adult who is not a relative but lives at the same address as you.

You also have the right to request flexible working if you are a parent of a child under 17, or under 18 if your child gets Disability Living Allowance.

Your employer can only refuse your request if they have good business reasons for it. It is important to consider the needs of your company when you make your request.

Because of this, include as much information as you can about how your proposed change will help the business as well as you, or how you can deal with any possible negative impact you think your employer may be concerned about.

If your employer refuses your request you can appeal against this decision.

Other information and advice 

If your request for flexible working has been refused contact the ACAS Helpline which provides free and confidential employment advice.

Carers UK have advice and information on your rights in the workplace as a carer, and maintaining a balance between work and your responsibilities as a carer. 
Their Let's talk about flexible working - guide has practical information to help you start the conversation with your employer. 
They also run an advice service and telephone advice line on all carer issues.

The Carers Trust offer advice to carers on employment issues.

The Employers for Carers organisation is committed to promoting the rights of carers in the work place, and stresses that it makes good economic sense to look after employees who are also looking after someone away from the work place.

Last updated: 13/06/2022