One way to balance work and childcare responsibilities more easily is to ask to work flexibly. Some employers offer some form of flexible working as part of your terms and conditions. For example, you may be able to work remotely from home. But if your employer doesn’t do this, you can make a request to work flexibly.
What is flexible working?
Flexible working covers lots of different arrangements that can make life easier for employees and employers. It can include:
- working from home
- hybrid working, where you work some days at home and some days in an office or other place of work
- working different hours that suit you and your employee (for example, starting or finishing earlier or later)
- reducing your hours or working part-time
- compressed hours (for example, working a 35 hour week across 4 days)
- job sharing (for example, where two part-time employees share a full-time job)
- flexitime (having flexible starting and finishing times, so you can work shorter or longer days to make up your hours).
Can I ask my employer if I can work flexibly?
Every employee has the legal right to do ask to work flexibly, provided they’ve worked for their employer for at least 26 weeks and haven’t put in a flexible working request in the last 12 months. ACAS have a guide on how to ask for more flexible working hours which gives you all the information you need.
Some employers will let you make a request even if you haven’t worked there for 26 weeks or have put in a request recently – you can check your terms and conditions to see if this applies to you.
Flexible working if you're disabled
If you’re disabled you can make a reasonable adjustment request if your request relates to your disability. For example, you may need time off for medical appointments, or more breaks throughout the day.
If your request isn’t related to your disability, you should put in a request for flexible working instead.