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2 Employment - updated version available December '16
17. Can I change my working arrangements if I have children?
If you care for children, you have the right to ask to work to a flexible working pattern. To be eligible for this you must:
A flexible working pattern can mean:
If you do change your working pattern, it will become a permanent change to your terms and conditions of employment (unless you and your employer agree that it will not). You will have no right to go back to your previous terms and conditions, even after your child turns six (or, if they are disabled, 18).
Types of flexible working pattern
The sorts of working pattern that you might be able to follow include:
How do I apply?
Within 28 days your employer must:
If you have a meeting, your employer must write to you within 14 days after the meeting to:
You can appeal against the decision within 14 days, by writing a letter explaining why you think your employer's decision is wrong. Your employer can either accept your appeal, or hold an appeal meeting, within 14 days of receiving your letter.
At any of these meetings, you can take a colleague with you, if you wish. You must be given a decision on your appeal, in writing, within 14 days of the meeting, including an explanation if your appeal is rejected.
When can my employer reject my application?
The 'business grounds' upon which your employer may reject your application include:
You can complain to the employment tribunal if your employer:
If you take your complaint to an employment tribunal and you win your case, your employer may have to look at your application again or pay you compensation of up to eight weeks' pay (or both). But the tribunal cannot force the employer to allow you to work inthe way you asked for in your application.
The law protects you from suffering unfair treatment or being dismissed for applying or wanting to apply for a change to your working pattern.
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Ian Hunter, Head of the Employment Department, Bird & Bird, Solicitors.
The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.
Leaflet Version: January 2019
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