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                     Flexible Working




Updated March 2010
Amended July 2010
Table of Contents

Flexible Working .......................................................................................................................... 0
Flexible Working Policy ................................................................................................................ 2
   Introduction............................................................................................................................... 2
   Eligibility for flexible working ..................................................................................................... 2
   Types of Flexible working ......................................................................................................... 2
   Rights and Responsibilities ...................................................................................................... 4
   Making an application under the flexible working policy ........................................................... 4
   Refusing an application under the flexible working policy......................................................... 5
   Confirming an application ......................................................................................................... 5
   Appeal Process ........................................................................................................................ 5




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                                                                                 Flexible Working Policy - AJ - March 2010
                                                                                                       Amended July 2010
Flexible Working Policy
Introduction
Flexible working opportunities benefit both the University and its employees. Through
considering requests for flexible working the University is able to retain skilled staff, raise staff
morale and decrease absenteeism whilst responding to a changing employment market more
effectively. For employees of the University the opportunity to work flexibly can greatly improve
their ability to balance home and work responsibilities.

Any employee of the University who fulfils the following eligibility criteria can request flexible
work arrangements.

Eligibility for flexible working
The Employment Act 2002 Right to Request Flexible Working establishes the following eligibility
criteria for employees who can request a flexible working arrangement. According to the Act,
employees must;

     Have or expect to have parental responsibility of a child aged 16 or under or a disabled
      child under 18 who receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

     Are the parent/guardian/special guardian/foster parent/private foster carer or are the
      holder of a residence order or the spouse, partner (same sex or opposite sex*) or civil
      partner of one of these and are applying to care for the child.

     Are a carer who cares, or expects to be caring, for an adult who is a spouse, partner
      (same sex or opposite sex1), civil partner or relative; or who although not related to you,
      lives at the same address as you.

    The University extends the right to request flexible working to all employees provided that
    they;

     Are an employee but not an agency worker.

     Have worked for the University for 26 weeks continuously before applying.

Types of Flexible working
There are a number of different ways of working flexibly that can be requested. If the change is
agreed on a permanent basis, the member of staff will not be entitled to return to their original
working pattern at a later date.

Where the change is for a fixed-term period, annual reviews will take place. Under normal
circumstances at the point of review the member of staff and manger will agree that the
arrangement will either revert back to the original hours or be confirmed on a permanent basis.

1
  The University recognises that this situation may necessitate disclosure to a line manager. The following
departments/individuals can be contacted as an alternative: Equality Unit, Dignity and Respect Contact person or
Human Resources.
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                                                               Flexible Working Policy - AJ - March 2010
                                                                                     Amended July 2010
Fixed-term changes may be agreed for a period up to a maximum of 5 years. Accordingly, the
manager should plan on the basis that the member of staff will revert to their original working
pattern at the end of the agreed fixed-term period.

Managers will be aware that it becomes more difficult to plan on the basis that an individual will
return to a previously worked pattern after a longer fixed-term period. Recognising this, it is
advised that if the proposed change is for more than 2 years, managers will agree with the
individual some flexibility in reviewing arrangements in the event of departmental/team re-
structures or other change processes. In these cases the manager and individual may request
to review the arrangement outside the normal annual review sequence.

If the arrangement is agreed to the maximum 5 year period annual reviews will take place
followed by a discussion at the end of the 5 year maximum period to agree whether the
arrangement should be made permanent or the employee will revert to their original working
hours.

Some examples of flexible working are listed below:-

      Part-time working - Staff can request a transfer from a full-time to a part-time
       appointment of an equivalent nature. Requests may be made on a permanent or a fixed-
       term basis.

      Annualised hours - Working time organised on the basis of the number of hours to be
       worked over a year rather than a week; it is usually used to fit in with peaks and troughs
       of work. Pay is normally calculated on the basis of an average monthly payment (ie
       annual salary divided by 12). This arrangement may suit staff who wish to work term-
       times only to fit around School or University vacation periods or other responsibilities they
       hold outside work.

      Job-sharing - Normally involves two people employed on a part-time basis but working
       together to cover a full-time post. See the job share policy for further information on the
       HR Intranet under Information for Staff/Policies, Processes and Procedure/Recruitment
       and Selection

      Staggered hours - Allows staff to start and finish their day at different times, and may be
       agreed for both full time and part time staff.

      Compressed hours - Allows staff to work their total number of agreed hours over a
       shorter period.

      Temporary re-arrangements of working pattern - Including hours and days of
       attendance, periodic short-term absences, etc. Normally this pattern is agreed when a
       member of staff requests a temporary change to their working pattern to cover a short-
       term change (eg, a short-term change in personal circumstances such as care for a
       dependent).

      Short period of Unpaid Leave - short periods of unpaid leave where an individual would
       like to take time off work but has exhausted their annual leave entitlement. Such
       arrangements should be considered in relation to the needs of the
       department/division/team within which the individual works. Certain employees may be
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                                                        Flexible Working Policy - AJ - March 2010
                                                                               Amended July 2010
       eligible for parental leave. See the Parental Leave policy for further information on this
       entitlement on the HR Intranet under Information for Staff/Policies, Processes and
       Procedure/Benefits

      Leave of Absence - Staff may request periods of unpaid continuous absence for a fixed-
       term period to a maximum of 5 years. This option may suit staff who would like a career
       break on the expectation that they will return to their original role at the end of their period
       of unpaid leave. Managers will need to plan on the basis that the member of staff will
       return to their original role at the end of the fixed-term period of unpaid leave. It is
       imperative that managers agree with the member of staff how they will continue to
       communicate during the period of absence to ensure that they undertake annual reviews
       of the arrangement and can reach the employee when necessary at other times e.g. to
       discuss any proposals for change which may have an impact on the role that the
       individual will return to due to a departmental/team restructure, or other change process.

Rights and Responsibilities
Managers must consider all applications under the flexible working policy in line with the needs
of the team/division and department in which the individual making the request is employed.
The Dean/Director is ultimately responsible for approving a request for flexible working under
the Policy.

Members of staff are advised to allow sufficient time to ensure that their manager can consider
requests for flexible working well in advance of changes taking effect; a minimum of 6 weeks is
advised.

Making an application under the flexible working policy
The member of staff should arrange a meeting to discuss their application for flexible working
with their manager in the first instance. The manager will welcome suggestions that the
individual may have about ways that their changing working pattern will affect their department
and what other arrangements may be put in place to deal with the changes.

Under some circumstances the manager may be unable to support the initial request, due to
operational work requirements. Where this is the case, the manager should explain the
difficulties and there should be some discussion on whether flexibility exists to enable both
parties to reach a suitable alternative agreement.

The manager may need to consult with others, such as Dean/Director or HR before confirming
that a request can or cannot be supported. Therefore it may not be possible to reach an agreed
outcome in the initial meeting and further meetings may be required. Once discussions have
taken place between the member of staff and manager, the applicant should complete the
Flexible Working Application Form, which should be submitted to the manager to confirm the
requested change.

The applicant should be as clear and explicit as possible regarding the requested changes and
the impact they will have on the University. It is important that staff submit requests for changes
to their working pattern a minimum of six weeks before they wish the change to take effect.
This is to allow the University sufficient time to give the application proper consideration.
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                                                           Flexible Working Policy - AJ - March 2010
                                                                                 Amended July 2010
Submitting a request at short notice may result in a delay as the manager maybe unable to
approve the request by the start date.

Refusing an application under the flexible working policy
It is hoped that, in the majority of circumstances where it is not possible to agree to the initial
request due to operational requirements, an alternative workable arrangement will be reached
that satisfies the needs of both parties. However, where this is not possible, the Dean/Director,
having consulted with HR, may have to refuse an application when all proposed alternative
options have been exhausted. If, after thorough consideration, an application is refused the
Dean/Director will provide written justification to the member of staff as to why it has not been
possible to approve an application for flexible working.

Reasons for refusing an application will fall into one, or more, of the following categories.

   1. Unable to meet additional costs associated with the request.

   2. Request will have a detrimental effect on ability to meet service demand.

   3. Inability to reorganise work among existing staff.

   4. Inability to recruit additional staff.

   5. Suggested change in work pattern will have a detrimental impact on quality of work of the
      team, service or department.

   6. Suggested change in work pattern will have a detrimental impact on the performance of
      the team, service or department.

   7. There will be insufficient work during the periods the employee proposes to work.

   8. Planned structural changes.

Where an application has been refused the member of staff may appeal against the decision.

Confirming an application
It is the responsibility of the Dean/Director to complete the appropriate section on the Flexible
Working Application Form and send the form to HR who will issue a formal letter to confirm the
change in working pattern and any associated changes to terms and conditions of employment.

Appeal Process
A member of staff is entitled to appeal against the decision not to approve an application for
flexible working. The process for appeals is detailed below;

The member of staff should submit an appeal in writing to HR, detailing the grounds of appeal,
within 10 working days of receiving notification that their application has been rejected.

Within 10 working days of receiving the appeal letter a meeting will be convened to consider the
appeal. The meeting will be Chaired by an independent Dean/Director who has not previously
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                                                       Flexible Working Policy - AJ - March 2010
                                                                             Amended July 2010
been involved in the case and a Personnel Officer will be present to advise on Policy and
Procedure.

The member of staff will be invited to attend the meeting and has the right to be accompanied
by a work colleague or Trade Union representative.

At the appeal meeting the member of staff will be asked to put forward their grounds of appeal,
and the manager will be asked to respond. The Chair of the meeting will consider both sides
and will make an assessment as to whether the appeal should be upheld, or the original
decision stand.

The Chair will send a written outcome within 3 working days of the appeal meeting.

There is no further right of appeal under this policy.




Approved by HR Committee and TUUG February 2010




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                                                         Flexible Working Policy - AJ - March 2010
                                                                               Amended July 2010

				
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