The term 'flexible working' describes any working arrangement where the number of hours worked or the time that work is undertaken vary from standard practice. The flexible working arrangements currently supported by the University are detailed on the 'types of working' tab.
Flexible working can have benefits for both the employee and the University by:
It is University policy to offer the opportunity to request flexible working patterns to all staff with 26 weeks service. All requests will receive due consideration.
You have a legal right to request flexible retirement if you have 26 weeks continuous service and:
Detailed procedural requirements can be found in the Procedure for Requesting Flexible Working.
The flexible working arrangements available to staff will be kept under review and, subject to feasibility, may be amended from time to time.
For further information see to the flexible working policy and procedure.
Part time / reduced hours may be a result of:
Part-time employees have the same rates of pay and holiday (pro-rata) as full-time staff and the same entitlement to pension, maternity leave, sick pay, development opportunities and promotions. Reduced hours will normally result in a permanent contractual change. There may, however, be occasions where a temporary reduction of hours is agreed.
Reduced hours may be an attractive option for employees approaching retirement who may want to develop other interests and activities as they give up their working responsibilities. The Pensions Office should be contacted for advice about pension options or implications.
Employees who have previously worked part-time may request an increase in their hours when their personal circumstances change. Managers are under no obligation to agree to this contractual change, but subject to budgetary considerations it may provide an opportunity to make beneficial changes to the service or staffing arrangements.
Job share is an arrangement where two employees share all aspects of a job between them. Pay and benefits are also shared on a pro-rata basis. There are a number of patterns of job-sharing:
For further information, please refer to the Job share policy
Job splitting describes an arrangement where two or more employees share a role by splitting the tasks rather than each doing the full role for part of the time. This may have implications for skill requirements and may therefore affect the grade of a post. Advice should always be sought from an HR Manager where job splitting is considered.
Term-time only contracts are used in situations when the hours worked by an employee occur only during a school term or a University term. The member of staff may not undertake any work during the vacation, they may only attend important meetings or training events, or they may work reduced hours during vacation periods. Staff nevertheless remain employed during the period/s they do not attend work.
Flexitime allows flexibility at the start and end of the working day and also allows an accumulation of hours at busy times and/or to fit the availability of the member of staff. Employees benefit by being able to fit work around personal commitments more easily and the University benefits by having a more flexible workforce that can adapt readily to the normal day-to-day peaks and troughs of workload.
For more information, please refer to the University Policy on Flexitime.
Shift working operates in areas where the service provided requires staffing for an extended period, often the full 24-hour day, for example security services. Employees are advised in advance the times that they will be working and the period for which those times will apply. Employees are usually permitted to ‘swap’ shifts with colleagues to address individual circumstances.
Rota Working/Staggered Hours
This arrangement means that although employees work fixed hours every day the start, finish and/or lunch times are specific to an individual. It enables the work of that section to be covered for a longer working day and can enable managers to improve the service they offer, for example to students.
Unpaid Leave and career breaks allow employees to take an agreed period of time off work to accommodate personal commitments or interests. They may be an effective means of retaining and/or reinvigorating a skilled and experienced employee who might otherwise resign from their post.
These arrangements are separate from emergency leave for care of dependants.
Flexible retirement is a form of flexible working that allows employees to take advantage of retirement benefits while continuing to work for the University.
The arrangements provide flexibility for the University to manage the workforce, specifically in the area of retirement planning. It also allows the University to retain employees on a reduced or different working basis (change of hours, change of level/grade or similar) that is mutually acceptable.
1.1 The term 'flexible working' describes any working arrangements where the number of hours worked or the time or place that work is undertaken vary from the standard practice.
1.2 Flexible retirement, an arrangement which is considered a type of flexible working, involves a member of staff reducing his or her contractual hours prior to retiring in full from the University. This may allow the individual to access part of their pension benefits while continuing to work for the University.
1.3 The policy sets out the University’s approach to flexible working arrangements and the procedure details the application process.
1.4 The policy and procedure provide a framework for developing individual flexible working arrangements that meet the requirements of all relevant employment legislation (Employment Rights Act 2002, Work and Families Act 2006) and enable the University to meet its commitment to promoting equality and diversity among employees.
2.1 This policy applies to all employees who have:
There may be exceptional circumstances where requests will be considered from employees who do not meet these requirements.
2.2 Where a request for flexible retirement is made which is subsequently determined as invalid under the relevant pension scheme, the employee may withdraw and/or modify the application. In such circumstances the employee may resubmit the application as soons as practicable after the original submission, the twelve month rule in paragraph 2.1 not being applicable to any such resubmission.
2.3 Additionally, for those employees considering flexible retirement, this policy applies to all employees who:
There may be execeptional circumstances where requests will be considered from employees who do not meet these requirements.
2.4 This policy does not cover individuals who are not currently employees but who are applying for a position at the University. Similarly existing employees applying for alternative positions with the University should do so on the basis of the working arrangements advertised and should not assume that it will be possible to maintain any existing flexible working arrangements.
2.5 This policy does not cover agency workers or members of the University's temp pool.
2.6 Employees have a legal right to request flexible working if:
2.7 The University recognises that employees outside those categories may also wish to make such requests and all requests will be given due consideration.
3.1 To enable employees with caring responsibilities to balance them with their role at the University.
3.2 To ensure compliance with the legislative requirements for employees with caring responsibilities for children and adults, who have the right to apply to work flexibly and have their application considered by the University.
3.3 To provide a framework within which managers may meet their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act to consider reasonable adjustments which might enable employees with a disability to continue working.
3.4 To accommodate where possible the desire of employees to balance their role at the University with other commitments or interests.
3.5 To faciltiate flexible retirement, if appropriate.
4.1 The University of York recognises that flexible working arrangements can provide benefits to both the employer and employees. As part of its commitment to providing a positive working environment, the University is committed to enabling employees to achieve an appropriate work-life balance. At the same time the policy will support managers in developing a more flexible workforce in line with service needs.
4.2 The policy does not provide an automatic right to work flexibly and the ability for the University to provide an effective service will be paramount. It is recognised that not all working patterns or flexible working options will be suitable for all departments or sections. It may also be difficult to accommodate the flexible working requests of a number of employees in the same area.
4.3 There are already many employees who work flexibly as a result of informal requests made to their Department. This policy does not aim to change existing arrangements but to provide a framework which clarifies the process for managers and employees for the future.
4.4 The guidelines and information sheets that accompany this policy, or associated policies provide details of the flexible working arrangements that will be considered within the University:
The flexible working arrangements available to staff will be kept under review and, subject to feasibility, may be amended from time to time.
4.5 Requests will be considered with due regard to the University’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity among employees.
Application of the policy will be monitored by the Director of Human Resources. Statistics regarding formal requests will be reported to HR Policy Committee. The policy will be reviewed after four years.
Approved by Policies and Development Temporary Working Group, April 2012
1.1 Employees who wish to be considered for flexible working arrangements should discuss this in the first instance with their line manager.
1.2 Employees should then apply in writing to their Line Manager using form FWR1, normally at least twelve weeks before they wish the proposed arrangements to commence. Applications for flexible retirement must be made a minimum of six months prior to the intended implementation date. There may be exceptional circumstances where requests will be considered from employees who do not meet this requirement.
Where the application is incomplete the line manager should request further information from the member(s) of staff and ask them to re-submit their application. Where this occurs the date of re-submission will constitute the formal date of application.
2.1 When considering a request for flexible working arrangements managers and HoDs will evaluate the potential benefits of the proposal to the department, the section and/or the employee(s). However, where difficulties are foreseen and a refusal is considered then it must be on one of the following 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
Where a request for flexible retirement is made which is subsequently determined as invalid under the relevant pension scheme rules, upon communication of this fact the member of staff may be given the opportunity to withdraw or modify the application.
2.2 On receiving a request the line manager will acknowledge receipt of form FWR1 within 7 days and will give due consideration to the request. S/he will complete the FWR1 form before passing promptly to the Head of Department (HoD) for a decision.
2.3 The HoD will give the request due consideration, taking into account the comments of both employee(s) and line manager. The HoD may wish to take advice from their HR Manager.
2.4 Where the HoD feels s/he can agree to the request without difficulty s/he will ask the employee(s) and line manager to agree an implementation date and will then complete the response section of FWR1. S/her will return a copy to the employee(s) as soon as possible and certainly within 28 days. A copy should also be sent to HR Services at firstname.lastname@example.org
2.4.1 Once a request for flexible retirement has been approved by the HoD, the FWR1 must be forwarded to Human Resources immediately for the Pensions team to initiate the flexible retirement process. The start date of any flexible retirement implementation will be dependant upon confirmation from the relevant pension scheme.
2.5 Where a trial period is undertaken prior to final approval (see 2.11 below) the documentation will reflect the temporary nature of the change and will specify the review date.
2.6 Where the HoD feels there may be difficulties in agreeing to the request they should arrange to meet with the line manager and requesting employee(s), who may be accompanied by a work colleague or trades union representative if required. The meeting should take place as soon as possible and certainly within 28 days of receipt of the request.
2.7 A response to the employee(s) must be given within 28 days of the FWR1 form being submitted, unless the manager who would normally consider the request is on annual leave or sick leave. In that case the response must be given within 28 days of the manager's return. Where the absence of the manager may mean that the application would not be considered within 28 days of submission, an alternate line manager must be appointed to consider the application. The response in such circumstances must be given within 28 days of the appointment of the alternate line manager.
2.8 All applications will be considered on their merits, taking into account the needs of the service and the benefits to the employee(s). Within 14 days of the meeting the HoD will write to the employee(s) to either agree to the request and give a start date or to refuse the request and specify the reason for the refusal. A refusal must be for one of the reasons detailed at 2.1.
2.8.1 Where a request for flexible retirement is contingent upon the individual being able to access pensions benefits, confirmation from the relevant pension scheme will be required before the intended flexible retirement implemenation date in order to determine any new working arrangements.
2.9 If the request is not granted the letter will include details of the appeal process. In either case a copy of the letter and FWR1 should be sent to HR Services.
2.10 The timescales in this procedure may be extended by agreement, for example where annual leave occurs, or where the person chosen to accompany the employee(s) is not available, or to enable the University to investigate further before notifying the member(s) of staff of the final decision. However, a decision will not be unduly delayed.
2.11 There will normally be a trial period of new flexible working arrangements during which managers will monitor any issues that arise and do their best to resolve them. Where the trial proves satisfactory, agreement to the arrangements will be given in writing. However, there may be occasions where issues arise during a trial period that are impossible to resolve and of such a nature (see 2.1) that the manager concludes the arrangements cannot continue. S/he will confirm that in writing and the employee(s) will then revert to their former working pattern or other agreed arrangement. Form FWR2 (Flexible Working Review Form) should be used to record the outcome of any discussions that take place during a trial period for flexible working arrangements. Trial periods are not possible in cases of flexible retirement.
2.12 In the absence of, or following a trial period a successful application would normally result in a permanent change to the employee(s) contractual terms and/or working arrangements. However, there may be occasions where the new working arrangements are of a temporary nature by agreement and/or are subject to review at a specified date.
3.1 Employee(s) may submit an appeal to the Director of Human Resources if they believe that their request for flexible working arrangements:
- has not been considered using the correct procedure or
- has been refused for reasons other than those in 2.1 above
- has been refused based on incorrect facts
3.2 An appeal should be in writing, should be submitted within 14 days of the date of the letter detailing the outcome of the requests (see 2.8 above) and should give the grounds for appeal.
3.3 The Director of Human Resources will arrange for an appropriate manager (not previously involved in the case) to convene a meeting of interested parties within 14 days of the date of the appeal in order to review the case. The member of staff may be accompanied at the meeting by a work colleague or Trades Union representative.
3.4 The designated manager will provide the employee(s) with written notification of the outcome of the appeal within 14 days. The letter will be dated and will include the reasons for the decision in the event of a refusal, or an implementation date where the appeal is successful.
3.5 The appeal decision is final. A further flexible working request may not be made within twelve months of the date of the appeal, or, where no appeal was submitted, of the date of the decision letter (see 2.9).
3.6 The timescales in the appeal procedure may be extended by written agreement, for example where annual leave occurs, or where the person chosen to accompany the employee(s) is not available, or to enable the University to investigate further before notifying the member(s) of staff of the final decision. However, a decision will not be unduly delayed. Extensions and the relevant dates should be recorded in writing and sent to the employee(s).
4.1 Employee(s) may withdraw an application for flexible working at any time during the process up to the point that written approval has been given and a start date notified to them. The intention to withdraw the application may be notified to the line manager orally or in writing and will be confirmed in writing by the line manager.
4.2 A line manager may consider an application to have been withdrawn if the employee(s) without good cause:
- fails to provide them with information that has been appropriately requested.
- fails to attend two meetings that have been appropriately arranged to discuss the request.
In these circumstances the line manager should write to the employee(s) confirming that the application has been considered to be withdrawn.
4.3 In the event of the withdrawal of an application the member(s) of staff may not apply again within a twelve month period, excluding flexible retirement resubmissions in accordance with paragraph 4.4.
4.4 Where a request for flexible retirement is made which is subsequently determined as invalid under the relevant pension scheme rule, the employee may resubmit the application as soons as practicable after the original submission, the twelve month rule defined paragraph 4.3 not being applicable to any such resubmission.
This policy is not contractual and is not intended to be incorporated into individual terms and conditions of employment. It may be subject to review, amendment or withdrawal.