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Flexible working request rejection letter

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If you are unable to accept a request for flexible working, issue this model template letter to inform an employee of the reason for the rejection.

This letter should only be used if the employer is rejecting the employee's request and any alternatives that were raised at the meeting with the employee.

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5 mins
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What is a Flexible working request rejection letter?

A flexible working request rejection letter is a formal letter sent by an employer to an employee who has requested to change their working arrangements, such as their hours of work, their place of work, or their work pattern. The letter is used to inform the employee that their request has been denied.

The letter should provide clear reasons why the request has been rejected, and it should be written in a professional and respectful tone. The employer should explain any relevant policies or procedures that have been considered in the decision-making process, and the employee's right to appeal the decision should also be outlined.

Best practice timescale for this to be issued
When should this letter be issued?
Within 14 days of the flexible working application meeting taking place
Issued by who, to whom
Who should issue this letter, and to whom?
The Employer (you) to the Employee
Applicable legal jurisdiction
In which jurisdiction can this letter be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom)

What legislation and best practice guidelines have been taken into account in the development of this template?

Employees have the right to make a flexible working request from day 1 of employment (they must have 26 weeks service in NI), provided they have not made more than 1 flexible working request in the last 12 months (no more than 1 per year in NI).

There is no set procedure for employers to follow when dealing with statutory requests for flexible working, but they must deal with such requests in a reasonable manner. The employer must complete the process (including responding to an appeal) within two months of the request, or a longer period if agreed with the employee.

You should have refused the original request for one or more of the permitted eight business reasons, as follows:

  • Burden of additional costs.
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
  • Inability to reorganise work among existing staff.
  • Inability to recruit additional staff.
  • Detrimental impact on quality.
  • Detrimental impact on performance.
  • Insufficiency of work during the periods you propose to work.
  • Planned structural changes.

Flexible working request rejection [Delete this line]

[Company name]

[Sender address]



[Recipient name]

[Recipient address]


Dear [Recipient first name],


Rejection of Flexible Working Request

Following receipt of your flexible working application and our meeting on [date], I have considered your request for a new, flexible working pattern.

Unfortunately, having given full consideration to your application, I regret that the Company is unable to accommodate your request. The reasons for this are set out below.

You requested a change to the pattern of your working hours to [describe the proposed changes].

It is the Company's view that agreeing to these changes would:

  • [have a detrimental impact on operational performance]
  • [have a detrimental impact on quality]
  • [have a detrimental effect on the Company's ability to meet its customer's demands]
  • [impose an unreasonable burden of additional costs on the Company]
  • [result in an inability to reorganise work among existing staff]
  • [result in an Inability to recruit additional staff]
  • [result in an insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work]
  • [conflict with planned structural changes]

The business grounds listed above apply to your request for a new permanent flexible working pattern because the role is not suitable due to [describe in clear detail the reasons for this, i.e.:

  1. the increased daily hours proposed will not be aligned to those of the immediate team or cross-functional colleagues;
  2. the additional cost of supplying IT hardware, software licenses, suitable telephony and internet access, and providing ongoing remote off-site IT support;
  3. the additional cost of telephone and internet charges, regular home-based H&S risk assessments and additional office equipment for a home-based office;
  4. The cost of recruiting a colleague to work the hours that you have requested not to work.

[While your original request cannot be accommodated, as an alternative I am happy to approve an alternative, being [describe the alternative here]. Please let me know within the next 14 days if you agree to this, and if so I will arrange for your terms and conditions of employment to be updated accordingly.]

You have the right of appeal against this decision. Your appeal should be directed to [Name | the HR Department | HR Services] within [number] days of receiving this letter. It should set out in full the reason(s) for your appeal.


Yours [faithfully | sincerely],



[Sender name]

[Sender job title]

[Sender telephone]
[Sender email]

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In which communication or process sequence does this template belong?

Previous step
Flexible working meeting script

Our Flexible Working Meeting Script template guides productive discussions, ensuring clear communication and mutual understanding of flexible work arrangements.

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Flexible working request rejection letter template
Next step
Flexible working rejection appeal letter template

If an employee wishes to appeal against a flexible working application rejection, they can use this model template.

Flexible working request rejection letter
flexible working request rejection letter