Can you refuse a request? The simple answer is yes, however the reason for any refusal must comply with one of the specific grounds outlined in the statutory procedures. Which simply is that if the request was approved the employer would:

  •  incur additional costs
  • experience a detrimental effect on its ability to meet customer demand
  • not be able to reorganise work among existing staff or recruit any additional staff necessary
  • experience a detrimental impact on the quality of its products or services or on its performance
  • not have enough work available during the periods the employee proposes to work

An additional reason is that the organisation is going through planned structural changes and therefore are unable to accommodate the request

Statutory procedures:  There are very clear procedures laid down for both the employee and employer and these procedures include: how to apply time limits for employer, considered decisions by employers based on all of the facts, refusal based on one of the above reasons.

If the procedures are not followed the employer may find that the employee is able to take them to an employment tribunal and if the claim is successful the employer may be told to pay compensation to reconsider the application.


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