The Company believes that its staff members are its most valuable asset and is committed to attracting and retaining the very best talent. It also appreciates that the UK workforce is becoming increasingly diverse and includes a high percentage or parents and individuals with caring responsibilities, as well as those whose interests and aspirations impact on their time.
The Company recognises the importance of helping its employers balance their work and home lives by offering flexible working arrangements that enable them to balance their work commitments with other priorities. In addition, the Company recognises that staffing levels must remain in line with the demands of the business at all times.
This policy aims to set out the ways in which flexible working can increase staff motivation, build better relationships between the Company and its employees, increase the rate of retention of staff, reduce absence, attract new talent, promote work-life balance and reduce employee stress. In doing so, this will improve the Company’s efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.
Although the Company is committed to providing the widest possible range of working patterns for its workforce, both management and employees need to be realistic and recognise that the full range of flexible working options will not be appropriate for all jobs across all areas of the business.
When a request of flexible working is received, the Company will need to take in to account a number of criteria including (but not limited to) the following:
Employees must have 26 weeks’ continuous service to make a statutory request for flexible working. Employees must not have made a request for flexible working within 12 months previous to the date of their request.
Employees in all areas and levels of the Company will be considered for flexible working regardless of their age, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief, disability, marital status, pregnancy or maternity, or gender reassignment.
The Company recognises that eligible employees can make a request for one of, or a combination of, the following:
Any agreement to a request for flexible working will take effect as a permanent variation to the employee’s terms and conditions, unless it is mutually agreed that this will be a temporary variation.
The application must:
The application must also state whether the variation requested is made in pursuance of a reasonable adjustment under the disability discrimination provisions of the Equality Act 2010.
A discussion regarding the application will be held between the employee and their line manager within 28 days of the application, unless the line manager notifies the employee in writing of their agreement to the variation. The time and place of the discussion will be convenient to both the line manager and the employee.
Once a decision has been reached, the employee will be informed as soon as possible of the discussion. Where the decision is to agree to the application, the notice will specify the contract variation agreed to and state the date the variation will take effect.
Where the decision is to refuse the application, the notice will state which of the specified grounds for refusal are considered to apply and contain an explanation of why this ground applies.
An employee may appeal against the decision to refuse the application. The notice of appeal must be in writing, setting out the grounds for appeal and sent to the senior manager.
The senior manager will discuss the appeal with the employee as soon as possible after receipt of the appeal, unless the senior manager notifies the employee in writing of the decision to overturn the original decision and specifies the variation which is now agreed and the date on which it will take effect. If an appeal meeting is held, the time and place must be convenient to both the senior manager and the employee.
As soon as possible after the date of the appeal discussion, the senior manager will give the employee written notice of the appeal decision. Where the senior manager upholds the appeal, the notice will specify the contract variation agreed to and state the date on which it is to take effect.
Where the decision is to dismiss the appeal, the notice will state the grounds for the decision and contain an explanation as to why those grounds apply. The notice will also state that there is no further right of appeal.
An application for flexible working will be concluded within 3 months of the date of the application, unless an extension of time is mutually agreed.
The employee will be informed of the refusal of their application in writing.
The application may be refused on one or more of the following statutory grounds:
The employee can withdraw their application at any stage before agreement. The employee should write to their line manager stating they wish to withdraw their application.
Where the employee fails to attend a meeting or appeal meeting on more than one occasion or they refuse to provide reasonable information to allow their application to progress, without reasonable excuse, the Company will treat the application as withdrawn.
The Company will confirm the withdrawal of the application to the employee in writing.
Ineligible employees may make an informal request for flexible working. This should be made, in writing, to their line manager with information of their proposed pattern of working, the date they propose this to take effect, whether this variation is temporary or permanent, and how any negative effects of the proposed working pattern can be managed.
This request will be considered in line with the Company’s operational and staffing needs.