Myth of the month – is there a right to work part time?
Is it your new year's resolution to reduce your hours?
My new year’s resolution is to work part time – do I have a legal right to this?
NO – you don’t have a right to change your working hours, but you may have a right to request flexible working.
If you are an employee with 26 weeks’ service with your employer, and you follow the rules you can make a statutory flexible working request. This can be to change your hours, times or to work for home. Your employer doesn’t have to agree to your request, but they must seriously consider it. They can only turn down the request for one of the statutory business reasons. They must respond to a request within three months.
Anyone can negotiate a change to their working pattern with their employer at any time, but you can only put in one statutory request every 12 months.
If your employer doesn’t seriously consider your request, or fails to give you one of the legal reasons for turning it down, seek more advice. If you are a woman with childcare responsibilities who needs to work part time for caring reasons, then you may be able to claim indirect sex discrimination if your employer can’t justify their decision. If you are a father who is treated differently from a mother in the workplace, that might be direct sex discrimination. Call our helpline for more advice.
We have lots of advice and information on our website to help you negotiate a flexible working option that works for you and for your employer.