Guide

Flexible working: the law and best practice

Types of flexible working

The term flexible working covers flexibility in terms of the hours that are worked and the location and includes the following:

Flexible working: different types

Annual hours Employees' contracted hours are calculated over a year. While the majority of shifts are allocated, the remaining hours are kept in reserve so that workers can be called in at short notice as required. See calculating salaried workers' hours - basic annual hours.
Compressed working hours Employees can cover their standard working hours in fewer working days. See calculating holiday entitlement for atypical workers.
Flexi-time Employees have the freedom to work in any way they choose outside a set core of hours determined by the employer.
Part-time working Employees are contracted to work less than standard, basic, full-time hours. See options for part-time working.
Job sharing One full-time job is split between two employees who agree the hours between them. See introducing job-sharing.
Remote or home working Employees spend all or part of their working week from home or somewhere else away from the normal workplace. See employees working from home.
Sabbatical/career break Employees are allowed to take an extended period of time off, either paid or unpaid.
Self rostering Employees nominate the shifts they'd prefer, leaving you to compile shift patterns matching their individual preferences while covering all required shifts.
Shift swapping Employees arrange shifts among themselves, provided all required shifts are covered.
Shift working Work that takes place on a schedule outside the traditional 9am – 5pm day. It can involve evening or night shifts, early morning shifts, and rotating shifts.
Staggered hours Employees have different start, finish and break times, allowing a business to open longer hours.
Term-time working An employee remains on a permanent contract but can take paid/unpaid leave during school holidays. See considering requests to change working hours.
V-time working Employees agree to reduce their hours for a fixed period with a guarantee of full-time work when this period ends.


Flexible arrangements should comply with the law on working time. See hours, rest breaks and the working week.