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'Please, Boss, I want to work less'

How to apply for for a job-share under the Employment Act 2002

* You must have been in your present job for 26 continuous weeks before applying in writing to change your work pattern. You may make only one application a year. Acceptance means a permanent change to your job.

* Within 28 days of receiving your request, your employer must arrange a meeting with you to discuss the application.

* Within 14 days of the meeting, your employer must write to you saying either Yes or No. If the answer is No, he or she must provide clear reasons and set out the appeal procedure.

* You have the right to appeal within 14 days of your employer's letter.

Within 14 days of that, the employer must meet you to discuss your appeal and within another 14 days give you his or her decision.

* As a last resort you can apply to take your case to Acas, the Government's conciliation service, or to an employment tribunal - not an easy option as there are strict criteria.

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