Right to Request Flexible Working

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 30 April 2024
Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite
Issues covered: Flexible Working, Family Friendly Rights

Under the Parental Leave Acts, 1998 – 2023 as amended by the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2023 in relation to requests for Flexible working and the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2023 in relation to requests for Remote working which was signed into law on 4th April 2024, employees are entitled to request Flexible working arrangements for Caring purposes and Remote working arrangements from their employer. 

The Workplace Relations Commission subsequently published a Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Right to Request Flexible Working and Remote Working on 7th March 2024.  The purpose of the Code is to provide guidance to employers and employees in relation to how requests for flexible and remote working arrangements are made and handled. 

Request for Flexible working for Caring purposes 


An employee may request a flexible working arrangement to provide care to:  

  • A relevant child of that employee who is under 12 years of age (or under 16 years if the child has a disability or illness) 
  • One of the following people, who is in need of significant care or support for a serious medical reason:  
  • a person of whom the employee is the relevant parent 
  • the spouse or civil partner of the employee 
  • the cohabitant of the employee 
  • a parent or grandparent of the employee 
  • a brother or sister of the employee; 
  • a person who resides in the same household as the employee 


An employee must have 6 months service before they are eligible to request a flexible working arrangement from their employer for the purposes of caring. 

Requesting a Flexible Working Arrangement 

The employee must give their employer 8 weeks’ notice prior to their intended date of commencement of the arrangement and the request must be submitted in writing signed by the employee.  The request must also specify the type of flexible working arrangement, the date of commencement and the duration. 

How to Handle a Request for Flexible Working for Caring Purposes 

Upon receipt of a request for flexible working the employer must review the request in an objective, fair and reasonable manner taking into consideration the needs of both the employee and the business. 

There is an obligation on the employer to respond to the employee within 4 weeks of receipt of their request. In their response, they must outline where approved, a confirmation of details of the flexible arrangement, the date of commencement and the duration. The approval must also be confirmed by a signed agreement which is signed by both parties and placed on the employee file. Where denied, the employer must outline the objective reasoning behind their decision. 

Where an employer is having difficulty assessing the viability of a request, the notice period can be extended for up to a maximum of a further 8 weeks. 

These records must be kept for 3 years on the employee’s file. 

Where an employee is granted flexible working for the care of a child the arrangement will end when the child reaches 12 years or 16 years where the child has a disability. 

An employer can request further documentation before considering the request.  

They can request a birth certificate where proposed caring for a child or a certification of placement under the Adoptive Leave Act 1995. 

Or in the case of caring for a person with a serious medical condition, they can request: 

  • the employee’s relationship with the person who requires care; 
  • the nature of the significant care or support which the person concerned is in need of;  
  • relevant evidence relating to the need of the person for the significant care or support concerned. 
  • a medical certificate stating that the person named in the certificate is in need of significant care or support for a serious medical reason signed by a registered medical practitioner, or 
  • Where the employee does not have a medical certificate, such evidence as the employer may reasonably require in order to show that the person concerned is in need of significant care or support for a serious medical reason. 

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This article is correct at 30/04/2024

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite

The main content of this article was provided by Caroline Reidy. Contact telephone number is +353 66 710 2887 / +353 86 775 2064 or email info@thehrsuite.com

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