Flexible Working Policy


We recognise the importance for employees in achieving a balance between work and other commitments. We will give serious consideration to flexible working requests from eligible employees and will endeavour to grant requests where possible. We do however reserve the right not to agree to the request where the job under consideration can only be carried out effectively on its present basis or if there is another substantial reason for refusing the request.

In order to be eligible to request flexible working you must have at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment with us at the date the application is made. We will only consider one flexible working request in any 12 month period. Any agreed change to your terms and conditions will usually be permanent, unless otherwise agreed.

Procedure
If you decide to make a flexible working request you must follow this procedure. However, before making an application you should think about:
what working pattern will help you best achieve your aims
the financial implications a change might have on you
what effects, if any, the change will have on the organisation and how these might be accommodated.

Submit request in writing
Your application must be submitted to your manager and must:
be made in writing and dated
state that it is an application under the statutory right to apply for flexible working arrangements
state whether a previous application has been made by you to us and, if so, when
specify the change applied for and the date on which it is proposed that the change should become effective
explain what effect, if any, you think making the change applied for would have on operations and how, in your opinion, any such effect might be dealt with.

If you are requesting a change in your working pattern as a reasonable adjustment in relation to a disability or in order to assist you in caring responsibilities for a child or other relative, it would be useful if we were provided with this information so that it can be taken into account when the request is being considered.

Your manager may agree to the formal request without discussing it with you (for example, if the details of your request have already been discussed informally). In most cases your manager will arrange to meet with you promptly after receiving the application.

Meeting
The time and place of the meeting will be convenient to both you and your manager. Every effort will be made to ensure that the meeting takes place within 28 days of receipt of the request for flexible working.
A work colleague may accompany you at the meeting. That employee will be permitted to confer with you during the meeting and to address the meeting (but not to answer questions on your behalf).

If your chosen companion will not be available at the time proposed for the meeting and you propose an alternative, mutually convenient time, the manager will postpone the meeting to the time proposed by you. Alternatively, you should consider choosing another companion.

At the meeting, the requested variation to your working arrangements will be discussed fully. The impact of the change, and your ideas for how any adverse impact could be minimised, will be considered. The meeting also provides the opportunity to discuss any alternative variations which would be acceptable. Your manager may suggest implementing an agreed trial period for the new arrangements.

Decision – agreement
If we agree to the application you will receive written confirmation which will specify the contractual variation agreed to and state the date on which the variation is to take effect.

Once we have agreed to the changes requested in your application, a permanent variation of your contract will result, unless your manager agrees otherwise. Once a change has been made, you cannot revert to the previous terms and conditions of your employment.

You may make further applications for variations (whether your first application was successful or not) provided they are made at least 12 months after the previous application.

Decision – refusal
If your request is refused, the written notice will identify on which of the permitted grounds (listed below) the application was refused. The letter will also provide an explanation as to why those grounds apply, and set out the appeal procedure.

The application may be refused on one or more of several grounds, these being that the proposed changes will result in:

a burden of additional cost
a detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
an inability to re-organise work among existing staff
an inability to recruit additional staff
a detrimental effect on quality
a detrimental effect on performance
an insufficiency of work during the periods you propose to work
a planned structural change
any other ground allowed by regulations.

Unless it is not reasonably possible, decisions on flexible working requests will be communicated within 14 days of the date of the meeting to discuss the request.

Withdrawal of Application
We can treat an application as withdrawn under the statutory provisions where you have:
notified your manager, orally or in writing, that the application is withdrawn
without reasonable cause, failed more than once to attend a meeting or appeal meeting
without reasonable cause, refused to provide your manager with information required in order to assess whether the contract variation should be agreed to.

Your manager will confirm the withdrawal of the application to you in writing unless you have already provided written notice of the withdrawal. You will not be entitled to make another formal application until 12 months after your original request.

Appeal
It is our policy to allow an appeal against a decision to refuse an application for flexible working. If you wish to appeal you should do so within 7 days after the date on you were notified of the decision. The notice of appeal must set out the grounds for appeal.

We will hold a meeting with you to discuss the appeal. The time and place of an appeal meeting will be mutually convenient. You have the same right to be accompanied by a work colleague as at the initial meeting.

After the appeal meeting you will receive a written decision. If the appeal is upheld the letter will specify the contract variation agreed to, and state the date on which it is to take effect. If the appeal is dismissed, the letter will state the grounds for the decision and contains an explanation as to why those grounds apply.