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Topic: Flexible working

letter confirming flexible working request withdrawn
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Letter confirming flexible working request withdrawn

Letter confirming flexible working request withdrawn

 

Use this letter when an employee has withdrawn their statutory flexible working request.    It also enables you to notify an employee that their flexible working request is being treated as withdrawn. You can do this if they’ve failed to attend two meetings at the initial stage, or two appeal meetings at the appeal stage, without good reason. You must notify them that you’ve decided to treat their conduct as a withdrawal of their request.

Employee’s withdrawal

Our Letter Confirming Flexible Working Request Withdrawn is for use when an employee withdraws their statutory flexible working request. An employee can withdraw their request at any time after it’s been made. As well as confirming that withdrawal, it sets out to the employee that they will not be eligible to submit another request for twelve months. This is a provision in the statutory scheme.

Withdrawal by conduct

The statutory provisions also say that you’re entitled to treat an employee’s request for flexible working as having been withdrawn in either of the following circumstances:

  • where the employee, without good reason, has failed to attend both the first meeting that you arranged to discuss their request and the next meeting that you arranged for that purpose, or
  • in circumstances where you allow the employee to appeal a decision to reject their request, the employee, without good reason, has failed to attend both the first meeting that you arranged to discuss their appeal and the next meeting arranged for that purpose.

You must then notify the employee that you’ve decided to treat their conduct as a withdrawal of their flexible working request. Our letter includes that notification as an alternative option to an employee’s voluntary withdrawal. It advises the employee that they were invited to attend two meetings, or two appeal meetings, but they didn’t do so. It then sets out your view that they failed to attend both these meetings without good reason and so you’re now treating their flexible working request as having been withdrawn. As with an employee’s voluntary withdrawal, the employee will not then be able to make another flexible working request for twelve months from the date on which their original request was made, so you’ll need to use the paragraph in our letter that covers this for both voluntary withdrawals and withdrawals by conduct.

A good reason?

The non-statutory Acas Guide on the right to request flexible working suggests that you should find out and then consider the reasons for the employee failing to attend both meetings before reaching any decision to treat their conduct as a withdrawal of their request for flexible working. Make sure also that the date and time of the meetings were convenient for the employee, e.g. not outside working hours or when they were due to be on annual leave.

There’s no statutory definition of what amounts to a “good reason” and there’s no further guidance on this in either the Acas Guide or in the statutory Acas Code of Practice on Handling in a Reasonable Manner Requests to Work Flexibly. Employment tribunals are likely therefore to take a practical approach to whether an employee’s explanation is credible and acceptable in the circumstances. The employee has the right to complain to a tribunal if you’ve treated their request as withdrawn in circumstances in which you weren’t permitted to do so under the legislation.

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