Flexible working policy

 

Contents

Overview
Types of flexible working
Summary of the process
Submitting a written request
Meeting to discuss the application
Withdrawing an application
After the meeting
Agreeing the application
Rejecting an application
Appeals
Holding an appeal meeting
Making a complaint
Appendix A – Application for change in working pattern
 
Overview

Flexible working will open up the business to possibilities that could not be achieved in a more rigid format, and allows people a greater balance between work and life. It is recognised as a valuable method of enhancing the efficiency of employees who would welcome the benefit of more flexible working arrangements and who work in areas where this is feasible from the nature of their work and where the business can support it. The right balance has to be struck between employees having maximum flexibility and business remaining competitive and meeting its customer needs.

The Work & Families Act (2007) along with the regulations set out in the Employment Act 2005 established the statutory right to request flexible working arrangements in order to fulfil their caring responsibilities for the following categories of employees:

parents of children up to the age of 16
parents of disabled children up to the age of 18
carers of adults.

Adopting a flexible working approach goes beyond statutory compliance however; and requires innovative tools and solutions, based on productivity and outcomes that result in an agile and proactive organisation. It is therefore the intention of Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd to be flexible on working patterns for all employees regardless of personal circumstance and we operate a reason neutral
 
Types of flexible working

There are different ways of working flexibly:Job sharing; two people do one job and split the hours.
Working from home; it might be possible to do some or all of the work from home or anywhere else other than the normal place of work.

Part time; working less than full-time hours (usually by working fewer days)
Compressed hours; working full-time hours but over fewer days
Flexi-time; the employee chooses when to start and end work (within agreed limits) but works certain ‘core hours’, e.g. 10am to 4pm every day.
Annualised hours; the employee has to work a certain number of hours over the year but they have some flexibility about when they work. There are sometimes ‘core hours’ which the employee regularly works each week, and they work the rest of their hours flexibly or when there’s extra demand at work
Staggered hours; the employee has different start, finish and break times from other workers
Phased retirement; default retirement age has been phased out and older workers can choose when they want to retire. This means they can reduce their hours and work part time.

Summary of the process

The following process must be followed by any employee and line manager involved in the application for a change in working pattern:The employee submits a written request to their line manager.
The manager will arrange a meeting within 28 days to discuss the application.
The manager will make a decision within 14 days of the meeting and tell the employee about it in writing.
If the manager agrees to the new working pattern, the employee will be given a new contract.
If the manager rejects the application, the employee can appeal.
The appeal will be heard within 14 days.
The employee will receive written outcome of their appeal.
 
Submitting a written request
 
Employees can only make an application if they have worked continuously for Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd for the last 26 weeks.
Employees can only make one application in a twelve month rolling period.
Employees can write their own email or letter to their line manager, or use the Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd template, appendix A.
The application must be via email/letter and:be dated
give details about how they want to work flexibly and when they want to start
explain how they think flexible working might affect the business and how this could be dealt with
say if and when they’ve made a previous application
The employee doesn’t have to include proof that they’re a parent or carer that no-one else can care for the child or adult they’re responsible for; if they are making an application under the statutory right (working regulations).
 
Meeting to discuss the application

The meeting must happen within 28 days of the line manager receiving the application.
If the responsible manager isn’t at work, the 28 days start when they get back.
The employee must give a reasonable explanation if they can’t attend the meeting. Otherwise the line manager can treat the application as withdrawn.
Employees can bring a work colleague or trade union representative (‘rep’) to the meeting. The rep can discuss things with the line manager but they can’t answer questions on behalf of the employee.
If the colleague or representative can’t make the meeting, it should be rearranged to take place within 7 days.

Withdrawing an application

Employees should tell the line manager in writing as soon as possible.
The application will be treated as withdrawn if the employee misses 2 meetings (without good reason) with the line manager.
If the employee doesn’t provide the extra information that the line manager needs to make a decision, the application might be treated as withdrawn.
If the application is withdrawn, the employee can’t make another one for 12 months.
 
After the meeting

The line manager must write to the employee within 14 days of the meeting to let them know what the decision is. This time limit can be longer if they both agree.

Agreeing the application

If the line manager agrees they should write to the employee informing them of this and specify the date the new working pattern will start.

The employee will enter into a trial period which as a minimum will be for 12 weeks, although Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd will consider extending this on a case to case basis.

After the trial period both parties can either reject the application (see point 9) or make this a permanent change to the employees working pattern and the employee will be issued with a new employment contract.

Rejecting an application

If the line manager doesn’t agree to the request, they must have a meeting with the employee to discuss the reasons first and strive to come to a mutual agreement.
The line managers letter rejecting the application, must include:the business reasons for rejecting the application
an explanation about how flexible working affects their business
how the employee can appeal 
Line managers can only reject an application for one of the following reasons:The burden of additional costs
Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
Inability to re-organise work among existing staff
Inability to recruit additional staff
Detrimental impact on quality and/or performance
Insufficiency of work during the proposed periods to work
Planned structural changes.

Appeals

Employees can appeal against the decision if:the line manager didn’t know something important related to the application when they made their decision
the employee wants to challenge information used by the line manager
Employees can’t appeal if they only disagree with the business reasons for the rejection.

Holding an appeal meeting

The line manager must hold a meeting with the employee within 14 days after the employee has told them they want to appeal. Both sides must agree on the date.
Employees can bring a work colleague or union rep with them to the meeting. The line manager must write to the employee saying what the decision is within 14 days of the meeting.
If the employee misses 2 appeal meetings without a good reason, the line manager can treat the appeal as withdrawn. The employee won’t be able to make another application for 12 months.
 
Making a complaint

Should an employee wish to make a complaint about a decision made during this process or how the process was followed; they must state in writing the full nature of the complaint and address it to the Managing Director.

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