Flexible working arrangements
We recognise that employees have responsibilities outside of work and that facilitating flexible working arrangements will enable the organisation to:
- Attract, recruit and retain high quality staff
- Be in a better position to utilise the skills and talents of all employees
- Manage peaks of work more effectively
- Provide flexible cover for absences
In most cases all positions can be considered for flexible working.
In relation to recruitment, all posts will be considered as suitable for flexible working unless there are clear business reasons why this cannot be done. Where a request for flexible working cannot be accommodated we may consider alternative arrangements in discussion with the applicant. Where an application is not agreed, written reasons will be provided.
For all employees flexible working arrangements will be consistent with the conditions of service that apply to full time working and no detriment will be attached to any proposal to work flexibly. The following practical arrangements will apply:
- Where an application is approved, the line manager will notify the HR department or where applicable the RCUK Shared Services Centre Ltd of the final agreed changes
- When a reduction in hours is agreed the employee's salary, annual leave and bank holiday entitlement etc, will be reduced on a pro-rata basis. The HR department or RCUK SSC Ltd will issue a formal amendment to the written statement of terms and conditions of employment
- The employee may want to seek advice from the Joint Pensions Service regarding the impact of flexible working on their pension arrangements
Flexible working arrangements will be consistent with the needs of the organisation and sensitive to the needs of the individual. BBSRC reserves the right not to agree to any flexible arrangements. Such decisions may be subject to appeal.
As far as reasonably practicable those organising meetings etc should take account of employee’s commitments outside work.
Where flexible working arrangements are agreed the conditions attached must be consistent with BBSRC policies including the working hours policy.
We reserve the right not to vary current working practices where this would conflict with genuine business reasons but will give full and serious consideration to requests. Where a new flexible working arrangement is introduced, this may be subject to a trial period of three months prior to a final decision.
This procedure will apply to all applications for flexible working in order to comply with our legal obligations. In certain circumstances individuals may have a statutory right to request flexible working.
Any employee who has 26 weeks of continuous service (12 months service for career breaks) at the date the application is made may apply for flexible working. This includes those who have caring responsibilities (e.g. for a dependant child or adult) – see paragraph 5. The application must be made in writing. For employees using the RCUK SSC Ltd, please use the Flexible Working Request Form available on KnowledgeBase. For employees not using the RCUK SSC Ltd, please use the form at appendix A3:1 (applicants for home working must also complete the form at appendix A3:5i. Please include:
- Details of your request
- What effect you think this will have on your area of work and how this may be dealt with
- Confirmation that you have not made a previous application to work flexibly during the previous 26 weeks (or 12 months for career breaks)
- A start date for the proposed change giving your line manager reasonable time to consider the proposal and implement it
You should be aware that if your application is approved, the variation in contractual terms is a permanent one and you will have no automatic right to change back to your previous pattern of work, unless your application seeks the variation for a specified time period only. A trial period may be agreed.
On receipt of an application line managers should:
- Acknowledge the request
- Seek advice from the HR department
- Arrange a meeting with the individual within 28 days of receiving the application to discuss the request. This meeting is not required if the line manager agrees to the terms of the application and notifies the employee accordingly within 28 days of receiving the application
- Allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting by a trade union representative or work colleague if they so wish
- Notify the employee of their decision within 14 days of the date of the meeting. This notification will either:
- Accept the request and establish a start date and any other action
- Confirm a compromise agreed at the meeting
- Reject the request and set out clear business reasons for the rejection together with notification of the appeals process
An employee has 14 calendar days to appeal in writing after the date of notification of the line manager’s decision. The line manager must arrange a meeting to take place within 14 days after receiving notice of the appeal; this will usually be with the co-signatory or another manager if appropriate. The individual may be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague at the meeting.
The line manager must inform the employee of the outcome of the appeal in writing within 14 days after the date of the meeting. The notification will either:
- Uphold the appeal, specify the agreed variation and start date
- Dismiss the appeal, stating the grounds for the decision and a sufficient explanation of the refusal
The line manager and the employee can agree to extend any of the time limits set out above. The line manager must record this agreement in writing, specifying the period to which the extension relates and the date on which the extension is to end. A copy of this record must be sent to the employee.
The following will be taken into account when considering requests for flexible working:
- The burden of additional costs
- Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
- Inability to re-organise 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
This is an arrangement whereby an employee works fewer hours per day or week than the normal full time conditioned hours for the pay band. Salary, leave and other benefits are calculated on a pro-rata basis. For more information see appendix A3:2, part-time working.
The responsibilities and duties of a single full-time post are shared between two individuals. Jobs can be split on either a task or project basis. Job sharers share the full-time hours of the post e.g. on a split-day or split-week basis, alternate weeks, alternate days). For more information see appendix A3:3, job sharing.
A system of work whereby the period of time within which employees must work is defined over a whole year. It is more suitable for posts which require a high degree of flexibility due to, for example, seasonal variations or unpredictable demand. For more information see appendix A3:4, annualised hours.
An arrangement whereby an employee may work at home either on an occasional, frequent or formal basis. It can only be done for the performance of tasks which can be satisfactorily completed away from the office/institute. For more information see appendix A3:5, homeworking.
An agreed period of unpaid leave for up to 5 years to fulfil domestic responsibilities such as caring for children or elderly relatives. For more information see appendix A3:6, career breaks.
Those who have responsibility for the care of dependants (i.e. children or certain adults) have a statutory right to request flexible working in certain circumstances. We will give serious consideration to the request; it will only be refused (giving reasons in writing) if there is a good business reason for doing so. Any request that is made and accepted under the statutory right will be a permanent change to your contractual terms and conditions of employment (unless otherwise agreed). You have no right in law to revert back to the previous working pattern although requests will be treated sympathetically. For further information see the guidance note on Support for carers of adults (PDF 51KB) in BBSRC.
We will pay reasonable costs of caring incurred by you when you have an unusual or non-routine work requirement at a time when you would normally be providing care for a dependant.
A childcare subsidy is offered at some of our locations; please ask your local HR department for details.
5.1 Childcare voucher scheme
BBSRC offers a childcare voucher scheme. Through the voucher scheme employees can pay for their childcare direct from payroll, which gives a reduction on tax and national insurance contributions.
For employees using the RCUK SSC Ltd, please contact:
Reward and Recognition Team - (01793) 867000 or raise a service request, select 'Employee benefits' and in the 'Problem summary' box put 'for the attention of Policy and Reward' and state that you wish to join. In due course, you will receive an email sent by SSC from the Sodexo website giving details of how to join on-line.
For employees not using the RCUK SSC Ltd, please contact:
Your local HR Department who will be able to supply details of how to apply for childcare vouchers.
Other flexible working arrangements may be considered, including term time working and compressed hours. As such the arrangements described here are not exhaustive and both staff and managers are encouraged to adopt a flexible approach to changes to work arrangements where this would be convenient to both parties.
Employees interested in changing their current working hours or arrangements should discuss this initially with their line manager who may seek advice from the HR department.
The HR department will monitor all applications to work flexibly. All managers are therefore required to notify the HR department of the outcome of all applications, whether they are approved or not, including changes to work arrangements within the framework of the policy.
Last updated - 18/05/11
Amendment 127 - May 2011