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Flexible working

Flexible working is a way of working that suits your needs and allows you to:

  • change the number of hours you work
  • change the times you work
  • work from another location or from home

If you’ve been working continuously with the same employer for 26 weeks, you have the legal right to apply for flexible working.

You can only make one application a year. Your employer can reject your application if there’s an appropriate reason. Read more on what happens after the application.

Types of flexible working

There are many types of flexible working.

Compressed hours

You can work full-time hours over fewer days, such as 35 hours over a four-day week.

Flexi time

You can choose when to start and end work, but you must work certain core hours, for example, 10am to 4pm every day.

Job sharing

Job sharing allows two people to share one job and split the hours.

Part-time

Working part-time allows you to work fewer hours each week than a full-time job.

Read a feature in the Gazette on how to work part-time

Phased retirement

You can gradually reduce your hours as you approach retirement if your employer agrees to “phase out” the compulsory retirement age.

Staggered hours

You have different start and end times to other employees.

Term-time working

Term-time working allows you to spend school holidays with children. Employers may find it easier for you to be out of the office for a block of time.

Working from home

You can do some or all of your work from home or in any other location.

Flexible work in law

Some types of legal work give you more flexibility.

Consultancy

If you’re an experienced solicitor, becoming a consultant solicitor allows you to choose:

  • the hours you work
  • where you work
  • who you work with

You can work with clients in a way that suits you and in your own time. You may work in a law firm.

Read a case study on becoming a legal consultant

Freelance

If you’re looking for associate level work, freelancing allows you to choose:

  • the hours you work
  • where you work
  • jobs that suit your skills and interests

There are organisations that have pools of associates they employ to do flexible work.

You’ll need at least three years’ post-qualification experience and appropriate professional indemnity insurance.

Interim roles

Joining an organisation for a set amount of time can be a good way of using your skills and experience without making a long-term commitment.

An organisation may advertise interim roles when it is:

  • in transition
  • looking for maternity cover
  • looking for long-term sickness cover

Networking can help you find these roles.

Volunteering

If you’re returning to law, volunteering for a legal role in a charity or community organisation can be a route back to paid employment. It’s a flexible role and a good way to update your skills.

Webinar

Listen to our free webinar on agile and flexible working.

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