From 6 April 2003 eligible parents of children aged under six, or of disabled children aged under eighteen, have the right to apply to work flexibly providing they have qualifying length of service. Employers have a statutory duty to consider their applications seriously.
This new right will enable mothers and fathers to request to work flexibly. It aims to encourage both employees and employers to find solutions that suit them both. The employee has a responsibility to think carefully about their desired working pattern when considering making an application, and the employer is required to follow a specific procedure to ensure applications to work flexibly are considered seriously. A sample application to work form, that employees can use to make an application under this right if they wish, has been provided to help with this process.
The right does not provide an automatic right to work flexibly, as there will always be circumstances when the employer is unable to accommodate the employee's desired work pattern.