Flexible working: Is it working?


New research shows that under 1 in 5 employees are using their statutory right to request flexible working.

Legislation giving all employees with 26 weeks continuous employment a statutory right to request flexible working was introduced 5 years ago. But new research from CMI shows that under 1 in 5 (17%) employees are citing their statutory right when asking to work flexibly.

This follows on from recent CMI research showing that 1 in 4 managers are not aware that employees have a statutory right to request flexible working, and only a quarter (26%) fully understand that the statutory right allows employees to request a change in hours, time or location of work.

Rob Wall, CMI’s Head of Policy said: “CMI research has repeatedly shown the limitations of legislation when it comes to flexible working. Only 1 in 4 managers fully understand the legislation, and only 1 in 5 employees are using it.

Flexible working is good for employers and employees. It improves performance and productivity, and supports employees’ wellbeing. It also helps close the gender pay gap by allowing women, who are still the primary carer in most families, to balance work and caring responsibilities. But in too many workplaces flexible working is still the exception rather than the rule.

“The key to making flexible working work is good leadership and good line management. This is why CMI have published new guidance for senior leaders and line managers on how to promote flexible working across their organisations.

You can view the CMI’s research in more detail here.



In the Winter Manager’s Voice CMI surveyed 940 of its UK practising members on awareness and understanding of the flexible working legislation. In the Summer Manager’s Voice, CMI surveyed 1,092 of its UK practising members between on the use of flexible working legislation in the workplace.