Flexible working policy

    1. The purpose of this policy is to explain the statutory right to request flexible working and to set out The Employer’s process in respect of any flexible working application.
    2. Any request will be handled objectively and fairly, and employees will not be less favourably treated because they asked for flexible working arrangements.
    1. This Policy applies to an individual who:
      • is an employee of The Employer; and
      • has been employed continuously by The Employer for 26 weeks at the date the application is made; and
      • has not made another application to work flexibly within the previous 12 months.
    2. Such an individual is referred to in this policy as “the Applicant”. Agency workers and office holders do not have a statutory right to request flexible working. Any request will be considered on a case by case basis.
    3. An Employee’s Line Manager will be happy to discuss with them whether their circumstances qualify in terms of this Policy.
    1. Applicants can request a variation of their terms and conditions of employment where this relates to:
      • hours of work;
      • the times they are required to work; or
      • working from home.
      • The Applicant is responsible for initiating any request to work flexibly. The request should be made in writing (“the Application”) to the Applicant’s Line Manager. The Application must at least:
        • state that it is an application for flexible working;
        • describe what variation the Applicant seeks to their working pattern and what date they would like this to commence;
        • describe how they think this will benefit/effect both the employee and The Employer and how this could be accommodated;
        • give the date of any previous Application, if one has been made; and
        • state if the request is made in relation to the Equality Act 2010, for example, as a reasonable adjustment for a disability.
      • As soon as possible and normally within 7 days of receipt, the Applicant’s Line Manager will contact the Applicant to arrange a meeting, which will normally take place within 14 days of receiving the request. Applicants are entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative, and Applicants should arrange for attendance of their companion. An The Employer HR representative may also be present at the meeting. At this meeting, the Applicant and their Line Manager should discuss the request in more detail. Alternative proposals or compromises, which might accommodate the Applicant’s request, should also be discussed.
      • If an Applicant does not attend the arranged meeting and any subsequently rearranged one without a reason, then The Employer may deem the application to be withdrawn. Before reaching a decision to close the application The Employer will endeavour to find out and consider the reasons for non-attendance.
      • The final decision will be at the discretion of the Applicant’s Line Manager and the HR representative. The Application will be carefully considered, taking into account the individual circumstances of the case and other relevant factors, including, but not limited to:
        • any additional costs involved in granting the Application;
        • any effect on The Employer’s ability to meet customer demand;
        • the re-organisation of work amongst existing employees which would be required;
        • ability or inability to recruit other employees to compensate for any change;
        • any impact on quality;
        • any impact on performance;
        • the amount of work available during the period the Applicant proposes to work;
        • any planned structural changes within The Employer; and
        • any legal obligations (for example Health and Safety Requirements or restrictions imposed under the Working Time Regulations).
      • In considering the request, The Employer will carefully look at the benefits of the requested changes in working conditions for the employee and the business and weigh these against any adverse business impact of implementing the changes.
      • The Applicant’s Line Manger and the HR representative will consult with other members of management or other employees who would be directly affected by the request as deemed appropriate in order to ascertain the feasibility of agreeing to the Application.
      • The Employer will carefully consider the request but are under no statutory obligation to grant a request to work flexibly if it cannot be accommodated by the business on any of the following grounds:
        • unacceptable burden of any additional costs;
        • an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff;
        • an inability to recruit additional staff;
        • a detrimental impact on quality;
        • a detrimental impact on the business’ ability to meet customer demand;
        • a detrimental impact on performance;
        • insufficient work during the periods the employee proposes to work;
        • where there are planned structural changes, for example, where The Employer intends to reorganise or change the business and considers the flexible working changed may not fit with these plans.
      • In considering these business reasons The Employer will be careful not to discriminate against employees because of their protected characteristics’ such as where flexible working arrangements would be a reasonable adjustment for a disabled employee.
      • As soon as possible and normally within 21 days of the meeting, the Line Manager will write to the Applicant to confirm the decision, to either:
        • accept the request and establish a start date and any other action, such as a review date for discussions regarding how the arrangements are working and whether any other adjustments are necessary;
        • to confirm a compromise agreed at the discussion, such as a temporary agreement to work flexibly; or
        • reject the request, setting out clear business reasons (one or more as set out in the paragraph above), how these apply to the Application and details of the appeal process.
      • In the event The Employer receives more than one request to work flexibly from different employees, requests will be considered in the order they are received. The Employer will not make value judgments about the most deserving request but will consider each case on its merits looking at the business case and likely impact of the request. In the event more than one request is received closely together, agreement cannot be reached and The Employer are unable to distinguish between the requests, then random selection may be used to reach a decision. The Employer may, at its discretion, consider calling upon volunteers from existing flexible working employees to change their contracts to other arrangements to create capacity for granting new requests to work flexibly.
    5. APPEAL
      • The Applicant is entitled to appeal against the decision if there is new information that was not available to The Employer at the time of the original decision or if the employee considers the application was not handled reasonably in line with this policy. The Applicant should contact their Line Manager, in writing, within 7 days of receiving the written decision. This should confirm that the Applicant wishes to appeal against the decision and give details of the new information available or why they consider the application was not handled reasonably.
      • The Line Manager will then contact the Applicant to arrange an Appeal Meeting. This will take place as soon as possible and normally within 14 days of receiving the Applicant’s appeal. Again, Applicants are entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative. Applicants should arrange for attendance of their companion. The Appeal will be heard by a Director of The Employer, (the HR representative may also be present at the meeting).
      • As soon as possible and normally within 14 days of the Appeal Meeting, the Director of The Employer will write to the Applicant to confirm the decision. If it has been decided to agree to the Application, the letter will provide details of the new work pattern and state the date on which the new work pattern will begin. if the Application remains unsuccessful, the letter will provide reasons for refusing the Application.
      • The whole Application, including the Appeal, will be considered within three months of the date of first receiving the original request including the Appeal. If this is insufficient time, at any stage of the Application, The Employer and the Employee may agree an extension in time.
      • If an Application is successful and a new work pattern is agreed, this will be a permanent alteration to the Applicant’s terms and conditions of employment, unless it is agreed that the change will be temporary or for a trial period. The Applicant will not be entitled to revert to their previous working pattern.
      • The Applicant will not be entitled to submit a fresh Application for a further 12 months from the date of their initial Application.Applicants are, therefore, encouraged to carefully consider the implications of any Application before submitting it.
      • The Employer does, however, retain the discretion to consider any subsequent requests from the applicant to review working patterns before the 12-month period has elapsed, but will only exercise this discretion in exceptional circumstances.
    • Where an Application has been unsuccessful, the Applicant will not be entitled to submit a fresh Application for a further 12 months from the date of their initial Application.