Flexible Working Policy
The right to request flexible working was initially given to employees with the responsibility for caring for children under 17, or disabled children under 18 through the provisions of the Employment Act 2002. The Child and Families Act 2014, has extended this right to all employees.
This is not an automatic right and requests will not be granted automatically, but all applications must be considered seriously, and can only be rejected where there is a recognised business reason. Agreed changes to work patterns will normally become a permanent change to the employee’s contract of employment for that post, unless otherwise agreed by mutual consent.
This policy takes into account and incorporates those principles detailed in the following legislation:
- Work and Families Act 2006
- Employment Act 2002
- Employment Rights Act 1996
- Children and Families Act 2014
- Flexible Working (Eligibility, Complaints and Remedies) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 and 2009
This policy is available to all employees of the Trust, who meet the eligibility criteria in section 4.
To be eligible, employees must meet the following criteria:
- have 26 weeks continuous service with the Trust by the date of the application
- not made another application in their current post, to work flexibly under this right during the past 12 months
- Submitting an Application for Flexible Working
Employees must submit an application in writing at least 12 weeks before the requested implementation date to the change to their working pattern.
The appropriate line manager and employee must adhere to the procedural timescales. These are:
- (i) the initial meeting to discuss application must be held within 28 calendar days of receipt of the application
- (ii) the employee has the right to be accompanied at the meeting by a friend, colleague or Trade Union representative
- (iii) the outcome of the meeting must be confirmed in writing with 14 calendar days of the meeting
- if agreed, a variation to the contract will be issued by Human Resources
- if not agreed, sound business reasons must be given by the line manager
- if no decision reached, employee will be informed of the action being taken by the line manager to find a satisfactory outcome. The employee may be asked to accept an extension to the timescale in this circumstance
- Withdrawal of an Application for Flexible Working
Should an employee withdraw his/her application in his/her current post, he/she will not be able to make another application for 12 months from the date the application was first made unless he/she moves to another post within the Trust.
- Right of Appeal
If the employee is not satisfied with the outcome of his/her application, the employee has a right to appeal the decision. This must be done in writing to Human Resources within 14 calendar days of receipt of the Manager’s decision. The subsequent appeal meeting, which will be held by a nominated manager, must take place within 14 calendar days of receipt of the appeal letter and a decision must be given in writing within 14 calendar days of the meeting.
- Extension to Timescales
8.1 In exceptional circumstances, the timescales, as stipulated in sections 4 and 6 above, can be extended with the agreement of both parties. For example, if either party is off sick or on annual leave, or more time is required to gather additional information and consider various options
- Unresolved Application for Flexible Working
In instances where the Manager has not followed the proper procedure, or whose decision to reject an application was based on incorrect facts, then an employee may take a formal complaint to the ACAS Arbitration scheme or an Employment Tribunal. However, where this occurs, employees are encourages to exhaust the Trust’s grievance procedure before proceeding to an external body.