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Step 4: responding to a request

A decision about a flexible working request should be made within 14 calendar days of meeting the staff member and should be confirmed in writing.

Copies of the flexible working approval and refusal letters can be downloaded from the letter templates and forms page:

Agreeing a flexible working request

A flexible working approval letter should be completed once a request has been agreed in full or with amendments. This should be sent to the staff member and a copy saved on their personal file.

The approval letter will include a description of the new working pattern and state the date when this will become effective.

If there are any changes to working hours which require a salary adjustment a HR2 form will need to be completed and sent to the Payroll team. Annual leave will also need to be recalculated:

The business environment and individual circumstances continually change which means working arrangements should be reviewed regularly. Guidance on how to review flexible working arrangements is outlined in step 6:

Trial period

If a manager is uncertain of the impact a flexible working request may have on the department a trial period is recommended.

The following should be agreed prior to the trial starting:

  • Length of the trial period (when the trial starts and ends)
  • Any changes to the member of staff’s terms and conditions of employment during the trial period is temporary
  • Exact details of any temporary changes to the member of staff's terms and conditions of employment during the trial period (e.g. change in working hours)
  • What is being reviewed as part of the trial
  • Date the trial period will be reviewed
  • Date the outcome of the review will be agreed

If a flexible working request can be accommodated following the trial period, please refer to the above 'agreeing a flexible working request' section.

If the trial period was unsuccessful, please see below and follow the 'refusing requests' guidance.

Refusing a request

If a flexible working request has been refused it must be confirmed in writing. The refusal should outline one or more of the reasons for declining the request, as outlined in step 3, and include sufficient explanation for the decision.

It is important to say 'no' to the flexible working request with compassion after exploring all of the available options.

The refusal letter must also advise the member of staff on the appeal process outlined in step 5.

The flexible working refusal letter can be downloaded from the letter templates and forms page:

Top tip: ensure the following has been taken into consideration before declining a flexible working request:

  • Would a trial period help to review if a flexible working request could work?
  • Just because the flexible working request is outside of ‘normal practice’ doesn’t mean that it won’t work for the Trust
  • Engage collaboratively with members of staff to find a joint solution
  • What impact will refusing the request have? Could there be a potential discrimination claim or a resignation from the staff member?
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