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					Human Resources Policy & Guidance

HR POLICY MANUAL
Right of Parents to Request Flexible Working
Document Reference: HR No. 17

AUTHORISED BY: HRG – Sep 2003

Issue: 1 – Oct 2003

Contents

Page
1. 2. 3. 4. Introduction .................................................................................................. .......................................................................................... 2 2 2 2

Policy Statement Eligibility

....................................................................................................... ...............................................................................................

Responsibility

Appendix 1 - Guide on the Right of Parents to Request Flexible Working

......................................

i

Appendix 2 - Reasons Why An Application Might Be Refused

............................

vi

Appendix 3 - Flexible Working Application Form

.................................................

viii

Right of Parents to Request Flexible Working

Page 1 of 2

1

Introduction
The University has implemented this policy in order to comply with the provisions of the Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002. The policy and procedure seeks to put in place a fair, consistent, transparent and systematic approach to dealing with requests for flexible working from parents of young or disabled children. The policy will help to ensure, as far as possible, that members of staff with certain parental responsibilities achieve a healthy work-life balance, while taking into account the business needs of the University.

2

Policy Statement
Members of staff with children under the age of 6, or disabled children under the age of 18, have the right to request more flexible working arrangements. These arrangements will result in a change to their terms and conditions of employment relating to either: the hours of work; the times which they work; or their work location (i.e. working from home). Such arrangements will normally be permanent changes to the contract of employment. Each request for flexible working will be considered on its individual merits and line managers will take into account a wide range of organisational needs when making a decision on requests for flexible working.

3

Eligibility
The Right of Parents to Request Flexible Working Policy applies to all members of staff who are: i. the biological parent, guardian, adopter, or foster carer of a child under the age of 6 or of a disabled child under the age of 18, OR ii. the spouse or partner of the person identified in (i.) above and live with the child, AND iii. have responsibility for the upbringing of the child.

In addition, the member of staff must: iv. have worked at the University continuously for 26 weeks at the date their application is made, v. not have made another application to work flexibly during the past 12 months. This policy does not apply to agency workers.

4

Responsibility
The Head of Employee Resourcing has responsibility for overseeing the implementation, monitoring and development of the policy. However, the Policy will only be fully effective if members of staff and line management play a full part in understanding and implementing this policy and procedure. In this regard a guidance note has been produced for staff and line managers which is attached in Appendix 1, and is also available on the HR Website.

Right of Parents to Request Flexible Working

Page 2 of 2

Appendix 1 GUIDE ON THE RIGHT OF PARENTS TO REQUEST FLEXIBLE WORKING

Page i

1

Introduction
This procedure should be read in conjunction with the Policy on the Right of Parents to Request Flexible Working. Further advice and support on the policy and procedure can be gained from your HR Manager / Adviser.

2

Policy Commitment
Members of staff with children under the age of 6, or disabled children under the age of 18, have the right to request more flexible working arrangements. Where granted, these arrangements will result in a change to the member of staff’s terms and conditions of employment relating to either their: hours of work; times of work; or work location (i.e. working from home). Such arrangements will normally be permanent changes to the contract of employment. Each request for flexible working will be considered on its individual merits, and line managers will take into account a wide range of organisational needs when making a decision on requests for flexible working.

3

Eligibility
The Policy on the Right of Parents to Request Flexible Working applies to all members of staff who are: i. the biological parent, guardian, adopter, or foster carer of a child under the age of 6 or of a disabled child under the age of 18, OR ii. the spouse or partner of the person identified in (i) above and live with the child, AND iii. have responsibility for the upbringing of the child.

In addition, the member of staff must: iv. have worked at the University continuously for 26 weeks at the date their application is made, v. not have made another application to work flexibly during the past 12 months.

This policy does not apply to agency workers.

4

Making a Request for Flexible Working
Before making a request for flexible working to their line manager, members of staff can contact their relevant HR Manager or Advisor for advice or guidance on the operation of the policy. It is important that, before making an application, members of staff give careful consideration to the following issues, as a successful application will normally result in a permanent change to their terms and conditions of employment. Members of staff should consider: which working pattern or arrangement will best suit their reasons for requesting flexible working (e.g. to help them best care for their child); and the financial implications if the desired change will involve a drop in salary. The member of staff must also give consideration to the likely effects that the new arrangements will have on the department/division and how they might be counteracted.

Page ii

Examples of possible flexible working arrangements include: annualised hours; compressed hours; flexi-time; home-working; job-sharing; shift working; staggered hours; and semester-time working. The arrangements need not require a significant alteration to the member of staff’s current working arrangements. For example, a parent might simply wish to start work half an hour later in order to take their child to school and make up the time later in the day. Whether or not a particular flexible working arrangement is appropriate or possible will be for determination by the line manager, following discussion with the member of staff making the application. A member of staff who wishes to request flexible working arrangements must submit an application using the attached pro forma (see appendix 3) to their line manager. The application must be signed and dated and cover the following points in detail: i. How the member of staff meets the required conditions (see 3 above) ii. why the member of staff wishes to apply for flexible working, iii. the change applied for, iv. the proposed date for implementation of the change, v. what effect(s) the department/division, member of staff thinks the change will have on their

vi. how, in the member of staff’s opinion, the department/division could deal with the effect(s) identified in (v.) above, vii. if the member of staff has made a previous request under this policy, the date on which that application was made.

A member of staff must not have made another application to work flexibly during the past 12 months.

5

Line Management Handling of Requests for Flexible Working
On receiving an application for flexible working arrangements from a member of staff the line manager will make a practical business assessment of the viability of the request. Where the requested change(s) to current working practices are of sufficient magnitude to require a change to the contract of employment the line manager will liaise with his or her HR Manager to clarify the contractual issues. Where possible the request will normally be granted. It is possible for a line manager to accept a flexible working request without further discussion with the member of staff. Where this is the case the line manager will notify the member of staff of his or her acceptance as outlined in Section 6 below. If a line manager feels that there is a need to discuss the request he or she will arrange to meet with the member of staff, at a mutually convenient time, normally within 28 days of receiving the application. At this meeting the line manager and member of staff will explore the desired work pattern in depth, and discuss how best the work pattern might be accommodated. There will also be an opportunity at the meeting to consider any alternative working patterns should there be problems in accommodating the preferred work pattern or arrangement outlined in the member of staff’s application. The member of staff has the right to be accompanied by a friend or companion who works at the university if they so wish, however it is in the interests of all parties if the meeting is less formal. (Legal agents or outside bodies/persons have no place in University Procedures). Where a member of staff wishes to formalise the meeting and be accompanied by a friend or companion, the line manager may request that the appropriate HR Manager or Adviser also attend the meeting. Page iii

The 28 day time limit for arranging the meeting can be extended by either party by mutual agreement. An automatic extension will be granted where the line manager or member of staff is absent through illness or on annual leave.

6

Decisions on Requests for Flexible Working
If the line manager is prepared to accept the application without holding a meeting then he/she will write to the member of staff within 28 days of receiving the application specifying the agreed variation(s) and date from which the changes will come into effect. The line manager will copy this letter to his or her HR Manager, along with a copy of the initial application, and request that the necessary contractual changes are made. If the line manager meets the member of staff he/she must give a written decision by the line manager normally within 14 days of the meeting, unless an extension is agreed. On occasions where line managers want to take further action before notifying the member of staff of their final decision (e.g. investigating the feasibility of a particular flexible working arrangement with other members of staff who work in a team) an extension of 14 days will be granted in these circumstances. If the request is accepted a copy of the decision, which must specify the agreed contract variation(s) and the date of implementation, should be sent to the appropriate HR Manager along with a copy of the initial application and a request that the necessary contractual changes are made. An accepted application will normally mean a permanent change to the member of staff’s terms and conditions of employment. In circumstances where the effect of the flexible working arrangement needs further assessment in terms of the business impact it will have on the University, an initial trial period may be agreed between the line manager and the member of staff. Where the member of staff’s application is rejected, the line manager must give a signed and dated statement detailing the business reason(s) and providing sufficient explanation why the business reason(s) applies in the circumstances. (See Appendix 2) The statement will also advise the member of staff of their right to appeal.

7

Withdrawal of an Application Requesting Flexible Working
An application will be treated as withdrawn if the member of staff: i. indicates in writing that he or she is withdrawing the application, ii. indicates orally that the application is being withdrawn, iii. unreasonably fails to attend a scheduled meeting to discuss the application on two or more occasions, iv. unreasonably refuses to provide relevant information (e.g. concerning a health and safety assessment of the working environment if a member of staff seeks to work from home).

Page iv

8

Appeals Procedure
8.1 A member of staff has the right to appeal against the decision made on their application for flexible working arrangements within 14 days of receiving the decision. The appeal must be made in writing to the Head of Employee Resourcing, be signed and dated, and must set out the grounds of the appeal.

8.2

Members of staff should note that an appeal hearing is not intended to revisit all of the details of the member of staff’s application for flexible working, but to focus on the specific grounds which the member of staff feels have received insufficient consideration.

8.3

The Head of Employee Resourcing will inform the relevant line manager of the grounds of the appeal and will offer him or her the opportunity to make a response.

8.4

If the appeal is upheld without a hearing, this must be confirmed in writing within 14 days of receiving the appeal. The confirmation must specify the agreed variation(s) in the member of staff’s terms and conditions and the date of implementation. If an appeal is not automatically upheld a meeting must be arranged within 14 days of receiving the appeal letter.

8.5

A panel consisting of the Head of Employee Resourcing, an independent Head of Department, and a member of staff selected from an independent pool will hear appeals.

8.6

All parties concerned will normally be present at the appeal hearing.

8.7

Normally within 14 days of the hearing, the Head of Employee Resourcing will give a signed and dated decision on the appeal, unless an extension to this time scale has been agreed with the member of staff.

8.8

If the appeal is upheld the decision will be notified in writing by the Head of Employee Resourcing, who will also specify the agreed contract variation(s) and the date of implementation.

8.9

Where the appeal is rejected, the Head of Employee Resourcing will notify the member of staff of the decision in writing. This decision will state the grounds for dismissing the appeal, will provide sufficient explanation as to why those grounds apply, and will be final. There will be no recourse to the University’s Grievance Procedures.

9

Review and Variation of Policy and Procedure
The Flexible Working Policy and Procedure will be reviewed through the JCC as and when required and any amendments approved through Staff Policy Committee.

Page v

Appendix 2 Reasons Why An Application Might Be Refused

Page vi

The following is a list of reasons that might prevent a line manger from accepting an application for flexible working:

i. the burden of extra costs to the University ii. a detrimental effect on the University’s ability to meet demands of students iii. an inability to reorganise the workload within existing staff iv. an inability to recruit additional staff v. a detrimental impact on quality vi. a detrimental impact on performance vii. insufficient work being available during the periods the member of staff proposes to work viii. planned structural changes.

Where a line manager must reject an application for flexible working, he or she will provide the member of staff with a written statement of the ground(s) for refusal, which will also provide explanation as to why the business reason applies in the specific circumstances. The written notification will normally be sent within 14 days of the meeting, unless an extension to this deadline has been agreed with the member of staff.

Page vii

Appendix 3 Flexible Working Application Form

Page viii

Flexible Working Application Form
This form should be completed in full when a member of staff wishes to request flexible working arrangements under the Right of Parents to Request Flexible Working policy. The completed form should be submitted to the member of staff’s line manager for consideration.

Name:

Post:

I hereby request a change in my terms & conditions of service to accommodate the flexible working arrangements outlined in 3) below.

1)

Please explain how you meet the criteria laid out in section 3 of the Policy:

2)

Please provide your reason for requesting flexible working:

3)

Please give details of the changes you wish to make to your current contract of employment:

4)

From which date do you propose that the changes come into effect:
P.T.O

Page ix .

5)

Please explain what effect you think the proposed change(s) will have on your department/division:

6)

Please explain how you think your department/division could deal with the effects you have outlined above:

7)

If you have previously requested flexible working arrangements please provide the date of your last application:

Please sign and date this form in the space below and submit it to your line manager for his or her consideration. Your line manager will arrange to meet with you to discuss your application normally within 28 days of receiving this form.
Signed: Date:

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