Further guidance for managers: What is the request?

Informal Arrangements (No Contractual Change Required)

If the flexible working arrangement requested does not constitute a permanent and significant change, directly impacting on an individual’s terms and conditions of employment (for instance, an increase or reduction in contractual hours of work or a significant change to the location of where work is conducted), the arrangement will be informal.

Informal arrangements will still require agreement by a manager, however, they will not require a change to the employees employment contract.

Please click on the links below to find out more about each informal arrangement:

(a) Changing Daily Hours of Work

(b) Working from home on an infrequent basis

(c) Redistribution of Hours


Formal Arrangements (Contractual Change Required)

Formal arrangements will require formal agreement by a manager, as they will require a change to the employees employment contract.

Please click on the links below to find out more about each formal arrangement:

(a) Part-Time Working

(b) Job Sharing

(c) Career Breaks

(d) Annualised hours

(e) Term Time Only Hours



Informal Arrangements (No Contractual Change Required)

(a) Changing Daily Hours of Work

Staff may benefit from changing their daily hours of work on an informal basis as:

  • It may provide greater flexibility in the hours a staff member is able to work around particular infrequent personal commitments.

Departments may benefit from changing their daily hours of work on an informal basis:

  • It may enable the work to be completed or continue without the need for unnecessary annual leave.

Considerations for changing daily hours of work on an informal basis:

  • Implications on other staff/service coverage.


(b) Working from home on an infrequent basis

Staff may benefit from working from home on an infrequent basis as:

  • It may provide greater flexibility in the hours a staff member is able to work around particular infrequent home commitments, for example, if the employee needs to remain at home to wait for a delivery.
  • It may provide staff with a quiet environment to complete complex pieces of work.
  • It may help those staff members who have a lengthy commute to continue to work when they are unable to travel due to adverse weather conditions or transport problems.

Departments may benefit from staff working from home on an infrequent basis as:

  • It may enable the work to be completed or continue without the need for unnecessary annual leave.
  • It may contribute to higher productivity in relation to the completion of project work, as the employee is able to work uninterrupted.
  • It may reduce stress within the workforce.
  • It may increase productivity by reducing time lost due to traffic jams or public transport delays or adverse weather conditions.

Considerations regarding staff working from home on an infrequent basis:

  • Suitability of whether work can be conducted remotely, for example, appropriate equipment available and whether necessary systems can be accessed.
  • Assessment of the risks associated with the security of data taken out of the workplace.
  • Ensure appropriate and regular communication arrangements are in place to ensure that performance is monitored and mutual trust is developed between employee and supervisor/manager.
  • It is important to make a clear arrangement about the times when an employee is working from home, to ensure that staff at the workplace know when they are able to make contact and to help prevent work spilling into the employees home-life.
  • It would not be appropriate to use homeworking arrangements if there are already performance concerns/ a performance management plan in place.
  • If homeworking becomes a more frequent arrangements, health and safety, insurance and liability issues need to be addressed.
  • Homeworking is not compatible to accommodate childcare.


(c) Redistribution of Hours

Staff may benefit from a redistribution of hours as:

  • It may reduce the number of days worked to allow regular week day time off for other commitments.
  • It may provide the staff member with a longer rest period/increased leisure time.
  • It may contribute to cost saving in relation to time and travel.
  • It may provide greater flexibility without the need for their salary to be reduced.

Departments may benefit from a redistribution of hours as:

  • It may enable departments to provide services out of normal office hours.
  • It may provide greater staff productivity during quieter hours of the day (start or end of the day).

Considerations for a redistribution of hours:

  • Suitability of the job role to the proposed working pattern
  • Implications on service/workforce coverage.
  • Impact on other team members if coverage is low on certain days.
  • The implication on employee wellbeing (i.e. fatigue/stress/sickness) and productivity from working longer days.
  • If there is a permanent arrangement in place where an employee has a regular day off, there may be implications in relation to bank holidays. (Will require further guidance if approved).

 
 
Formal Arrangements (Contractual Change Required)

(a) Part-Time Working

Staff may benefit from part-time working arrangements as:

  • It may provide greater flexibility to fit paid work around caring responsibilities or other commitments.
  • It may enable increased leisure time.
  • It may enable a smooth transition to retirement.
  • It may enable a steady transition back into work after a period of leave (maternity/sickness etc).

Departments may benefit from part-time working arrangements as:

  • It may enable the retention of desirable skills within the workforce.
  • It may provide greater staff productivity in the days worked.

Considerations for part-time working arrangements:

  • Suitability of whether work can be conducted on a part-time basis.
  • Implications on other staff/service coverage.
  • Impact on other team members if coverage is low on certain days.


(b) Job Sharing

A job sharing arrangement may be utilised in two ways:

  1. Where both individuals carry out all duties of the post, continuing work where the other left off.
  2. Where all the duties of the post are divided between the two individuals, but where each individual can provide cover for the other part of the role if necessary.

Staff may benefit from job sharing arrangements as:

  • Depending on the arrangement in place it may allow the staff member more time for caring responsibilities or other commitments.
  • It may enable the staff member to work regular, defined times which may be helpful in order to plan in advance their commitments outside of work.
  • It may enable the staff member to make a smoother transition into retirement/back into employment after a period of leave.

Departments may benefit from job sharing arrangements as:

  • It may increase expertise and skills in one position.
  • It may enable increased flexibility for the two individuals to work simultaneously during peak times or where demand may be higher.
  • It may enable more effective cover for the post for periods of annual leave or sickness.

Considerations for job sharing arrangements:

  • Suitability of the role for a job share arrangement.
  • Personalities of proposed job sharers; teamwork and excellent communication are essential for the arrangement to be effective.
  • Ensuring that suitable arrangements for regular communication or handover between the two individuals to better enable them to manage the role and build an appropriate working relationship.
  • Increased demand on line managers due to having two members of staff rather than one.
  • Implications during prolonged absence of one of the job sharers: maternity leave, long term sickness etc.
  • Implications if one part of the job share arrangement leaves.*
  • Implications of possible performance management issues.
  • Possible increased costs if working arrangements overlap.
  • Deciding work hours and responsibilities and split of job, e.g. start of week to mid-week and mid-week to end of week split.

*If part of the job share arrangement leaves

In such circumstances, the following options may be explored:

  • Assess whether full-time coverage continues to be required;
  • If the role does not require full-time coverage, the post should be re-designated as part time and the necessary changes made to the individual’s contract;
  • If the role does require full-time coverage, the remaining employee should be offered the post full-time or the option of reduced/additional hours. If the remaining employee is unable to accept the full time role, a replacement should be sought for the remaining hours.

If all the options above have been exhausted, without successful, it may be necessary for the remaining employee to consider redeployment within the wider University, to enable to post to be advertised on a full-time basis.


(c) Career Breaks

Career breaks may be offered, in defined circumstances which are to be agreed by Head of Department, to take a break from paid employment, with the guarantee of the same or a similar job upon their return.

Staff may benefit from career breaks as:

  • It may allow them time to pursue further study, spend time with dependants, travel or carry out voluntary work.
  • It may enhance their personal development.

Departments may benefit from career breaks as:

  • It may enable the department to retain experienced/skilled staff member in the long-term.
  • It may bring new skills, experiences and motivation back to the department following the break.

Considerations for career breaks:

  • The lengths of career break which the department is able to accommodate (3 years maximum suggested).
  • Impact on staff member’s continuity of service, pension and other terms and conditions of service.
  • How the staff member’s work will be covered in their absence (recruitment/redistribution).
  • Impact on staff member’s post during break or right to return, should the department have a reorganisation or restructure.
  • Possible loss of skill/confidence due to long periods out of the workplace.
  • Re-induction and re-training upon return may be necessary.
  • Arrangements for contact with employee during break (KIT days).
  • Implications if the staff member chooses not to return after their career break.
  • Implications if job no longer exists.
  • Other arrangements which could be used depending on circumstances of request, e.g. Study leave.


(d) Annualised hours

Annualised hours offer staff an opportunity to calculate their hours of work over a period of a year as opposed to weekly basis. Staff working annualised hours will work flexibly over the year, matching the demands of the organisation. Payment of salary is in 12 equal monthly payments.  Annualised hours agreement should not be used if work requirement is uncertain.

Annual hours may be more suited to groups of staff, rather than on an individual basis.

Staff may benefit from annualised hours as:

  • It may help the staff member to budget their finances better by providing them with a regular, guaranteed income (12 equal monthly payments rather than fluctuating income throughout the year).
  • It may enable the staff member to better plan their time by providing set hours or a roster which is known well in advance.
  • It may help to improve the staff member’s work life balance by providing longer periods of free time during certain times of the year.

Departments may benefit from annualised hours as:

  • It may enable the department greater flexibility to plan their resources in uncertain times and help to enable them to respond effectively to changing work demands, during peak and off peak times.
  • It may help the department to retain a stable and experienced workforce.
  • It may provide greater predictability of costs for the role.
  • It may help to improve the service provided to customers due to better coverage (i.e. Student facing departments), particularly for 24 hour services.

Considerations for annualised hours:

  • Implication on staff wellbeing (fatigue/stress/sickness) when working longer hours at certain periods of the year.
  • Effective methods of communication need to be in place for staff who may be away from work for long periods (off peak times).
  • Implications of averaged pay on staff benefits i.e. pension/parental leave/sick pay etc.
  • Overtime opportunities may no longer be available.
  • Arrangements if an employee leaves partway through the year.
  • How annual leave arrangements will be managed.

Your Faculty HR Contact will be able to provide support with the above considerations.


(e) Term Time Only Hours

Term time only hours offer staff the opportunity to work only during periods that coincide with school terms, and as such do not require the employee to work during school holidays.

Under a term-time only arrangement is typically based on a 39 week contract for state schools terms, however, private school terms may differ and as such should be agreed on an individual basis. In both instance, the staff member will receive 12 monthly instalments, to ensure that income is spread out over the calendar year.

Annual leave entitlement should be taken during the school holiday period, when the staff member is not required to attend work.

Staff working within a term time only arrangement will remain in employment throughout the entire year, with each full year contributing to their continuity of service/employment.

Staff may benefit from term time only hours as:

  • It may enable the staff member to manage childcare, particularly during school holidays.
  • It may be applied to staff who wish to work on a full or part-time basis.
  • It may help to improve work life balance by providing longer periods of free time during certain times of the year.
  • It may help to improve work life balance by providing more time with children during school holidays.

Departments may benefit from term time only hours as:

  • It may help the department to retain a stable and experienced workforce.
  • It may help the department with resource planning, with prior knowledge of annual leave/unavailability.
  • It may enable the department to manage services more effectively with knowledge of times when the employee will be unavailable to work.

Considerations for term time only hours:

  • Possible skills gap during periods where the staff member is unavailable.
  • Possible implications for other staff who are required to cover work during the school holiday periods.
  • Possible implications on staff if this arrangement is utilised by employees who are line managers, as to who will manage/supervise these staff during school holiday periods.
  • Effective methods of communication need to be in place for staff who may be away from work for long periods.
  • Arrangements if an employee leaves partway through the year**.

** Arrangements if the staff member leaves partway through the year

If the staff member leaves partway through the year, the department will need to calculate the exact hours they have worked to make the appropriate payment.

If the staff member has worked in excess of the planned hours, then they will need to be paid accordingly.

If the staff member owes the department hours, they will either need to make these hours up during their notice period, if reasonably practicable, or will have the amount owing deducted from their last salary payment before their departure.