Flexible Working

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Flexible Working Arrangements


1. In line with its Equal Opportunities Policy the University is committed to ensuring that equality of opportunity is open to all, and to developing strategies which will enhance staff recruitment, retention and return. To this end the University has agreed a policy on Flexible Working Arrangements.

2. There are many reasons why people want to work less than full-time hours at various points in their careers and there are several ways in which this can be achieved to the benefit of both the University and the individual. There are already a wide variety of working patterns within the University which have been devised to meet the needs of departments and their staff.

3. Improving the availability of part-time working is one way in which we can retain and benefit from the skills of experienced members of staff. At the same time it helps staff to combine work with their other commitments more effectively.

Why do people work part-time?

4. There are many reasons why some people might want to consider the option of working part-time.

These include :

  • childcare responsibilities or caring for dependant relatives
  • health problems or disabilities
  • easing down to retirement
  • further education or training
  • pursuing other interests or activities.

What benefits are there for the University?

5. The benefits to the University can include

  • the retention of skilled and experienced members of staff more efficient and flexible use of staff resources - part-time work can ensure a better match between the needs of the department and the staff employed
  • better cover for sickness, annual and special leave
  • access to a wider pool of potential employees and therefore a wider pool of experience and skill

What types of part-time working are there?

6. Permanent part-time working is an arrangement where staff work less than the usual hours agreed for their grade

  • it can be any number and arrangement of hours
  • it can be worked in any grade of post

7. Job sharing is a form of part-time working in which the responsibilities of one job are split between two (or more) people. The specific duties covered by the post can be shared between the two job sharers or split so that each has slightly different responsibilities

  • converting full-time posts into part-time job shared posts can help to provide opportunities for part-time work across all grades and departments
  • job share partners would be employed on the same grade but could be appointed and paid on different salary points within the grade depending on experience

8. Part-year working is an arrangement whereby staff are appointed to work less than a full year. The decision as to which weeks will be worked would be the subject of agreement between the Head of Department and the member of staff concerned

  • this arrangement could suit those members of staff with school age children. Staff would work full-time during the 38 weeks of school term and not at all during the school holidays

9. Temporary part-time working could assist staff returning to work after a period of ill-health by allowing them to ease back to full-time duties gradually, probably increasing their hours over an agreed period until they are back working full-time. It could also suit a member of staff who needed to reduce their hours for a short period to care for a sick relative.

10. Voluntary reduced time would allow a member of staff to work less than the standard week, eg four days rather than five. This may suit a member of staff nearing retirement age or someone who wishes to pursue outside interests.

11. Annualised hours is where a member of staff works an agreed number of hours during the course of a year, but those hours can be spread unevenly throughout the year

  • this could be a mixture of part-time and full-time working (eg full-time during a department's busiest period and part-time for the remainder of the year)

What should I do if I am interested in changing my hours?

12. If you are interested in changing your hours, either permanently or on a temporary basis, you should first talk to your Head of Department (or equivalent) about the possibilities within your present post or work area. You will not be able to change your hours of work in your present post unless there is agreement by your Head of Department. Requests to reduce your hours of work can only be met if they suit the operational needs of your Department. If it is not possible to accommodate your request within the Department you may if you wish write to the appropriate HR Manager, with a copy to the HR & Diversity Manager, specifying the change you are seeking. The HR Manager will seek to match your request with suitable notified vacancies as they arise.

13. Before finalising any arrangement to reduce your hours you should make sure you are fully aware of the implications of part-time working on your salary and conditions of service. You can check this out with Human Resources or with your trade union.