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Introduction to this document

Response to amendment of flexible working application

Occasionally, an employee may submit their application for flexible working only to then change their mind about what exactly is it that they want. Use our letter to respond to their amendment request.

Amendment possibilities

The right to request flexible working includes the right for an employee who has at least 26 weeks’ continuous service to ask for changes to the hours they work, the times when they’re required to work or their place of work. So, if they want to amend their application, it’s likely to be because they want to tweak whichever of these changes they specifically asked for.

Dealing with requests in a reasonable manner

Provided the employee’s application for flexible working is valid, the law says that you must deal with it in a reasonable manner. The Acas Code of Practice on Handling in a Reasonable Manner Requests to Work Flexibly provides that you should arrange to discuss the employee’s application with them as soon as possible (but there’s no need for a meeting if you’re happy to simply approve their application). All applications, including any appeals, must be decided on within three months from first receipt, unless you agree with the employee to extend this period. The employee can’t then make a further application for twelve months. However, there’s nothing in the legislation that requires you to permit an employee to amend their flexible working application once it’s been formally submitted to you. So, you’re perfectly entitled to proceed on the basis of their original application, decide on that and then they can’t apply again for a year. That said, it’s good employment relations practice to allow employees to amend their requests, provided they do so in a timely manner. This is particularly the case if their personal circumstances unexpectedly change after their application has been made.

Response letter

Our Response to Amendment of Flexible Working Application contains two alternative responses to an amendment request. The first is that you’re happy to allow them to amend their application, and then either the arranged meeting can go ahead as planned or you might want to postpone it by a few days to allow you to further consider their amendment. The second is that you’re not willing to allow the amendment and so the flexible working process, and the meeting, will proceed on the basis that their application remains as previously submitted. In the former case, the employee’s amendment may well have a knock-on effect on the rest of their application form which they’ve failed to address in their amendment request. For example, the employee must also provide details in their application of how they think their proposed flexible working arrangement will affect the business and their work colleagues and how they think any such effects might be dealt with. If they amend their application, these details may need changing too. So, we’ve covered this with an optional paragraph requiring the employee to provide this information, or to re-submit their flexible working application form (in its amended format) to include all this required information, in advance of the meeting date.