Statement of Policy

Flexible arrangements offered to members of staff under this policy cover a wide range of different arrangements including part-time or term-time working, job share, compressed or annual hours, staggered hours or flexitime. At all times, the arrangements that are agreed will attempt to balance the needs of the member of staff with the work to be carried out and should meet the needs of the institution concerned.

Some of these arrangements will be of a permanent nature and, where appropriate, will fulfill the University's obligations under the Flexible Working Regulations. Others will be of a temporary nature, to accommodate a member of staff's need for an adjustment of their working arrangements to balance commitments outside work.

However, flexible working arrangements will not be agreed where a member of staff wishes to ‘try out’ employment offers outside the University. In addition, applications to work flexibly will not normally be considered where the member of staff would be undertaking other remunerative employment outside the University.

Legislation

This policy complies with national legislation, including the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, and the Flexible Working Regulations 2002. Staff working flexibly will be valued and respected in the same way as full-time staff. In addition, their contractual benefits will be the same, on a pro-rata basis if working less than full-time, as full-time staff engaged on the same type of contract and performing the same or similar work, unless objectively justifiable. For example if a benefit would drop an individual below the national minimum wage and NI earnings it would not be possible for the individual to join that scheme i.e. salary sacrifice car scheme.

Statutory rights to temporary leave, such as maternity, parental, emergency, paternity, and adoption are covered by separate arrangements outside the scope of this policy. Details of relevant policies, notes of guidance, and forms are available on the Human Resources Division website.

Every effort will be made to give full consideration to the request in a timely fashion and if an application is made under the Flexible Working Regulations, the timeframes specified in the statutory procedure for eligible carers will be followed (see notes of guidance). Under these regulations, the member of staff is also entitled to bring a companion (another employee or a Trade Union representative) to the meeting referred to in the process of consideration step b.

Types of flexible working

The range of flexible working practices that may be requested and may be appropriate, depending on the circumstances, include:

  • part-time or term-time working
  • job share
  • compressed or annual hours
  • staggered hours or flexitime
  • working from home or tele-working

(See the glossary for definitions of these terms and details of sabbatical leave provision for University Teaching Officers working less than full time.)

Effective practical procedures must be set up from the start of any flexible working arrangement. Establishing good communication systems and clarifying reporting relationships will help to ensure the success of the flexible working arrangement. Advice and guidance can be sought from the Human Resources Division about the detailed working arrangements for different flexible working options.

The most common type of arrangement is part-time working.

Other flexible working patterns

Some flexible working patterns may not be appropriate in all circumstances for certain types of staff, for example annualised and compressed hours arrangements or job share for academics, where the duties are broadly construed and the contract does not specify working hours and holidays.

Cover

Cover will not always be required as a result of a move to flexible working. However, any necessary cover arrangements need to be organised at the start of any part-time or flexible arrangement. It is helpful for the member of staff to consider this when making the application and to be ready to discuss ideas with the Head of institution at their meeting.

Appropriate cover arrangements will include using savings on salary (for officers, when part-time arrangements are agreed, the savings of stipend are credited to the institution's account), for example to make another part-time appointment, or to reorganise duties among the work team.

Where the Head of institution is unable to identify the immediate costs of such an arrangement, it may be possible to submit an application for short-term support.