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I understand that if I want a policy that reflects the latest legislation and is appropriate to my organisation, I will seek specialist legal advice. Policies, job descriptions and person specifications are intended for guidance only and do not act as a substitute for professional advice. I understand that if my organisation decides to rely on a document obtained from the NCVO's HRBank, it does so at its own risk. FLEXIBLE WORKING ARRANGEMENTS Introduction In order to facilitate and enable work-life balance, XXX will positively consider requests for flexible working arrangements e.g. reduced hours, compressed hours, flexibility over starting and finishing times etc. Whilst we extend the right to request flexible working arrangements to all staff, it must be clear that no staff members have a statutory or contractual right to change their working hours, and in considering requests for flexible working, the needs of the service have to come first. However, some employees will have a statutory right to request flexible working arrangements. In this case, there is a legally defined process that must be followed. See Section 2 for further details. XXX has a statutory duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to enable disabled people to work effectively. This may involve agreeing to flexible working arrangements. Principles Organisational and service needs In common with all work-life balance measures, the intent is to enhance the ability of staff to meet the requirements of services and the overall objectives of the organisation. The needs of the service will always remain paramount in considering the detailed implementation. Prioritising requests In the event that more than one person in a team would like flexible working arrangements, and it is not possible for service cover reasons to grant all of them, the reasons why flexible working hours are being requested will be taken into account. Also, flexible arrangements which have been agreed with staff, which are subject to review, may have to be withdrawn if there is a change of circumstances in the team, including a team member exercising a statutory right to request flexible working. Flexible working arrangements that change the terms of the contract Where a flexible working arrangement is agreed following a request by someone with a statutory right to do so (i.e. as a ‘reasonable adjustment’ or under the flexible working legislation), then the new arrangement effectively changes their terms and conditions under their contract. Similarly where a permanent reduction in hours is agreed for any staff member, the new arrangement effectively changes the worker’s contractual hours. In both cases the new arrangement must be confirmed in writing and a copy kept on the person’s personnel file. In these circumstances, staff will not have the automatic right to revert to the previous working pattern unless it has been agreed at the outset that the arrangement is a temporary one. Neither can XXX unilaterally insist that the employee reverts to the previous working pattern unless it has been agreed at the outset that the arrangement is a temporary one. Flexible working arrangements which do not change the terms of the contract Flexible arrangements for staff without statutory rights (apart from a permanent reduction in hours) do not permanently change the terms of the contract. These will be agreed for three months at a time and at the end of this period will be reviewed to ensure that service and organisational requirements are being met, and also to take into account any requests for flexibility from other members of the team. Range of options The following list is not exhaustive, and requests for other flexibilities will be considered: - Reduced hours, either temporarily or permanently - Job share (see Appendix 1) - Additional breaks during core hours - Compressed hours (but please note that requests to regularly work more than 8 hours per day will not be considered) - Irregular working pattern - Working at home on agreed days (see Appendix 2) - Unpaid leave SECTION 1: NON-STATUTORY REQUESTS Guidelines on considering requests In considering requests for flexible working arrangements, line managers will discuss the request with their line manager to check that the proposal is reasonable in the circumstances and ensures accountability of the staff member for their work. The business needs of XXX remain paramount, and any decision about flexible working requests will be made on the basis that service needs and team needs must be fulfilled at all times. XXX has ultimate discretion in this regard. 1. Process for making and considering requests. a) Staff wishing to request flexible working arrangements should put their request in writing to their line manager using the Flexible Working Application Form and ensuring that all parts of the form are completed. b) The line manager will either discuss the request with their line manager, accept the flexible working request and inform the employee and the HR Officer in writing, or ensure they have met with the staff member concerned to discuss the request within 28 days of receiving the request. If there are reasons why the employee considers the matter as urgent, they should make this clear, and the line manager would make reasonable efforts to accommodate this. After the meeting the line manager will consider the request, and will make a recommendation to their line manager who will seek senior management approval. c) Within 14 days of the date of the meeting the line manager will write to the staff member, and will either agree to a new work pattern and start date, or will give clear reasons as to why the application cannot be accepted. A copy of the signed letter should be sent to the HR Officer at the same time. SECTION 2: STATUTORY REQUESTS 5. Eligibility To have a statutory right to request flexible working arrangements you must: Be an employee of XXX Have worked for XXX continuously for 26 weeks at the date the application is made Not be an agency worker Have not made another application to work flexibly under your statutory right during the past 12 months And Be the parent of a child aged under six (under sixteen from April 2009), or under eighteen where disabled or Have responsibility for the upbringing of the child and be making the application to enable you to care for the child or Be or expect to be caring for a spouse, partner, civil partner or relative or If not the spouse, partner or a relative, live at the same address as the adult in need of care or Be either – 3 The mother, father, adopter, guardian, special guardian, foster parent or private foster carer of the child or a person who has been granted a residence order in respect of a child or Married to or the partner or civil partner of the child’s mother, father, adopter, guardian, special guardian, foster parent or private foster carer or of a person who has been granted a residence order in respect of a child. 6. Making an application An employee’s application should be made as far as possible in advance of when the change is requested to take effect, using the Flexible Working Application Form (Forms\Human Resources\Flexible Working Application Form). All sections of the form must be completed. 7. Process for considering an application XXX has a legal duty to consider all applications and establish whether the desired work pattern can be accommodated within the needs of the business. Applications will be considered objectively on this basis. It may be possible for a request to be agreed simply on the basis of the application itself. If this is the case, the employee and the HR Officer will be informed of the decision within 28 days, specifying any contract variation and the start date for the new working arrangements. If this is not possible, a meeting will be held between the employee and their line manager, within 28 days of the request being received. The employee can bring a companion to the meeting, either another employee of XXX or a Trade Union representative. The meeting will discuss the application in detail, enable the employee to expand upon their request and make the case for flexible working, and the line manager to judge whether the request can be accommodated. The line manager will inform the employee and the HR Officer of the decision within 14 days of the meeting being held. If a request is accepted, the notification must: Include a description of the new working pattern State the date from which the new working pattern is to take effect Be dated If a request is rejected, the notification must: State the business grounds for refusing the application Provide a sufficient explanation as to why the business grounds for refusal apply in the circumstances Provide details of the employee’s right to appeal Be dated 8. Grounds for refusal If an employee makes a statutory request for flexible working arrangements, the request may only be refused on the following business grounds: Burden of additional costs Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand Inability to reorganise work among existing staff Inability to recruit additional staff Detrimental impact on quality Detrimental impact on performance Insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work Planned structural changes 4 9. Appeals process If an employee with a statutory right to request flexible working wishes to appeal against a decision to refuse a request, the appeal must be made in writing to the Chief Executive within 14 days of the employee being informed of the decision. In the event that the Chief Executive is the line manager of the employee, the appeal should be made to the Chair of the Board of Trustees. An appeal meeting will be held within 14 days of the appeal being received. The employee can bring a companion to the meeting, either another employee of XXX or a Trade Union representative. The process for the employee being informed of the outcome of the appeal meeting will be the same as for the original request. If the employee wishes to appeal further against a refusal, XXX’s Grievance Procedure may be used. If the employee wishes to take the appeal further still, they may appeal through ACAS, an employment tribunal, or use another form of dispute resolution. 5 Appendix 1 Job Sharing Job sharing is a form of part-time working where two people share the responsibility for a full- time job. They share the pay and benefits in proportion to the hours they work. Job sharers may work split days, split weeks or alternate weeks. When considering requests for job sharing, the same principles will apply as for any other type of flexible working and applications should be made on the standard form. Where agreement is made to set up a job-share, it may sometimes be necessary to have a trial period of, say, 6 months, in order to ensure that the new arrangement is working for the individual staff members, XXX and the service. Staff should be aware that if one half of a job-share scheme decides to leave the organisation, or is successful in applying to work full-time, continuation of the original job-share arrangement will only be possible if another suitable job-share partner can be found. If this is not possible, XXX will look at other arrangements, such as restructuring the old job-share into two distinct part-time roles, and seek to fill the other part-time role. However, this may not always be an option and the needs of the service must always come first. 6 Appendix 2 Home Working Application process When considering requests for home working, the same principles will apply as for any other type of flexible working. Applications should be made on the standard form and you should also complete the home working health, safety and welfare checklist. When making your application, you should consider and address the following: Is your job suitable for working away from the office and colleagues? How will you manage your staff, if you have staff management responsibilities? How will you manage reporting in to your manager? What impact will the new arrangement have on other work-related contacts such as tenants, participants, professional contacts, suppliers etc. Are you suited to working at home, i.e. are you self-motivated, able to work without close supervision, able to work in isolation, have independent decision-making and problem-solving skills? Responsibilities: Care Arrangements It is important to recognise that homeworking is not a substitute for childcare or other full-time caring, as formal arrangements should still be in place, particularly for pre-school children. Health and Safety You will be obliged to undertake a health and safety check of your work area at home, using the checklist provided by XXX. You must also be willing to accept a health and safety inspection by an appointed person if XXX so wishes. Insurance It is your responsibility to advise your insurers that you are commencing homeworking. Any additional premiums resulting from the use of the home as a place of business will be met by XXX. If you do not inform your insurers of this change of use, you may invalidate your insurance. Any other insurance implications will remain the liability of the individual. Tax issues It is your responsibility to check if your homeworking has any impact on your council tax or capital gains tax (related to using your residence for business purposes). Costs Any additional costs associated with homeworking such as electricity/gas will be discussed and agreed on an individual basis with those requesting homeworking. Telecommunications The provision of telecommunications equipment by XXX or the individual, and any additional costs related to their use or associated repairs, will be discussed and agreed on an individual basis. Data Protection All employees carrying out work on behalf of XXX, at any location, must follow the principles of the Data Protection Policy. You must ensure that data is secure, where appropriate, and locked away if necessary. 7 Availability During your working hours, you must be available at all times for communication with work colleagues. February 2009 8
"FLEXIBLE WORKING ARRANGEMENTS - NCVO"