1. Policy Statement

This policy sets out the University's rules in respect of the handling of employee flexible working requests. However, it does not provide an automatic right to work flexibility. The application of the policy is covered within the associated procedure.

The University is passionate about creating an inclusive culture that supports a good work-life balance. We care about our employees health and wellbeing and want to create an environment where everyone can thrive.

The University recognises that a better work-life balance can improve employee engagement, performance and promote an increase in wellbeing. This policy is intended to support employees to balance their commitments and interests outside work with their contractual duties and responsibilities.

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, the Flexible Working Regulations 2014 ("The Flexible Working Regulations") and the Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all staff employed on a fixed-term or open contract basis by the University of York. It does not apply to workers (e.g. casual and agency), contractors, consultants or any self-employed individuals working for the University.

3. Aims

This policy aims to:

  • promote a better work-life balance for employees
  • support managers in developing a more flexible workforce in line with service needs
  • provide a framework for requests
  • ensure compliance with relevant employment law and regulation
  • 4. Principles

    4.1. General

    The policy does not provide an automatic right to work flexibly and the ability of the University to provide an effective service will be a priority. 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.

    There are already many employees who work flexibly as a result of informal requests made within their department. This policy does not change existing arrangements.

    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.

    4.2. Eligibility

    4.2.1. Flexible working request

    All employees of the University, regardless of their length of service, have the statutory right to request flexible working.

    Under the statutory procedure, you can make two requests in every 12-month period. If you have submitted a flexible working request, you must wait until that one has been considered and any appeal has been dealt with, before submitting another.

    4.2.2. Flexible retirement

    For those employees considering flexible retirement, this policy applies to all employees who:

  • are not under probation
  • are eligible under the appropriate pension scheme rules for flexible retirement
  • have provided a minimum of six months notice of their intended flexible retirement implementation date
  • There may be exceptional circumstances where requests will be considered from employees who do not meet these requirements.

    4.2.3. Status of request

    Once a request has been made, it remains "live" until any of the following occur:

  • a decision about the request is made
  • the request is withdrawn
  • an outcome is mutually agreed
  • the statutory two-month period for deciding requests ends
  • There may be exceptional circumstances where requests will be considered from employees who do not meet these requirements.

    4.3. Consultation

    A request made under this policy must not be rejected without first consulting with the employee. Where consultation is required, the employee has the right to be accompanied by a single trade union representative or work colleague.

    5. Approval

    This policy has been considered by the HR Policy Special Interest Group and has been approved by the Director of Human Resources.

    6. Monitoring

    Human Resources will monitor the application of this policy for consistency.

    7. Review

    This policy will be reviewed every 3 years or when there are any changes which affect relevance, compliance (e.g. legislative change) or applicability.

    Document control

    • Last reviewed: 5 April 2024