Flexible Working Policy. (including Flexible Retirement)

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1 SH HR 48 (including Flexible Retirement) Summary: Keywords (minimum of 5): (To assist policy search engine) Target Audience: The document provides guidance for staff and managers considering and requesting flexible working arrangements and flexible retirement. Furthermore, the and Procedure provides a framework for managers to take a fair, equitable and consistent approach towards the consideration of flexible working requests. Flexible working, part-time working, job sharing, flexitime, annual hours contracts, term-time working, compressed working week, flexible retirement, wind down, step down, retire and return to the NHS, draw down, late retirement enhancement, retirement. All staff employed by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. Next Review Date: October 2018 Approved and Ratified by: Staffside Policy Scrutiny Group Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee Date of meeting: 26 February March 2014 Date issued: Author: Sponsor: Rita Hawkshaw HR Manager, Best Practice Sandra Grant Director of Workforce, Development and Communications 1

2 Version Control Change Record Date Author Version Section Reason for Change Feb 2014 Rita Hawkshaw, HR Manager- Best Practice Amended for managers to consider the need for statutory & mandatory training, and need of the service, when agreeing to reduced flexible hours Throughout General update of terminology. Updated addresses Emma Wright 16/3/17 Review date extended from April to August /8/17 Review date extended to December /11/17 Review date extended to March /2/2018 Review date extended to October 2018 Reviewers/Contributors Name Position Version Reviewed & Date Human Resources Team, Staff Side and Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee Human Resources Team, Staff Side and Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee Version 1, October 2012, November to December

3 Contents Page 1. Introduction 4 2. Scope and Eligibility 4 3. Definitions 5 4. Roles and Responsibilities 5 5. Policy Principles 8 6. Summary of Procedure 9 7. Training Requirements Monitoring Compliance Policy Review Associated Documents Supporting References 11 A1. Equality Impact Screening Analysis Tool 12 3

4 (including Flexible Retirement) 1. Introduction 1.1. Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust ) is committed to helping staff balance the demands of both their work and personal needs through flexible working arrangements, wherever reasonably practicable and subject to service needs. Furthermore, flexible working arrangement enables the Trust to be responsive to the changing demands of services to meet the needs of our service users; providing increased access to our high quality services Specifically, this policy provides guiding principles:- To ensure a fair, equitable and consistent approach towards the consideration of flexible working/flexible retirement requests in line with the working arrangements of the whole team, and the overall service and business needs. On flexible retirement, to facilitate a staff member s transition from work to retirement This policy exceeds the statutory minimum requirements of the legislation, in that it extends the right to request flexible working to all staff Under the Equality Act 2010, the Trust is required to consider flexible working options as part of the duty to make reasonable adjustments for staff/job applicants with a disability or with dependants who have a disability, and staff who are returning from maternity leave There is no statutory duty on the Trust to agree automatically to an individual's request. Each request will be considered on the basis of the particular work involved and the impact the change could have on an individual, team or the service This and Procedure is in accordance with the, Employment Act 2002, Employment Rights Act Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002 (and associated legislation), the NHS Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions Agreement 2004 (and further amendments), the Work and Families Act 2006, the Equality Act 2010, and the Working Time Regulations 1998 (and further amendments). 2. Scope and Eligibility 2.1. This policy and its associated procedure will apply to all staff directly employed by the Trust other than when specific conditions may apply e.g. to Medical and Dental staff. This also includes trainees, secondees and staff on honorary contracts or on joint contracts with the Trust and another employer However, to have statutory eligibility to the right to request for a flexible working arrangement, the applicant must be an employee (with a contract of employment). Furthermore, the employee must:- 4

5 have parental responsibility 1 of a child under the age of 17 or under the age of 18 if the child has a disability, or be the carer for an adult 2, have worked for their employer for 26 weeks continuously at the date that the application is made, not have made another application to work flexibly under the right to request flexible working during the past 12 months Please note, the Trust has extended the right to request for flexible working, in line with the Agenda for Change terms and conditions of employment, to staff who meet the following criteria:- have worked for the Trust for 26 weeks continuously at the date that the application is made, not have made another application to work flexibly under the Flexible Working Policy and Procedure during the past 12 months. 3. Definitions 3.1. Flexible working The term 'flexible working' describes a type of working arrangement which gives some degree of flexibility on how long, where and when staff work. The flexibility can be in terms of working time, working location or the pattern of working (CIPD 3, 2012) Flexible retirement age The Trust operates a flexible retirement age which means the decision about whether or when to retire is flexible and is a matter for each member of staff. The Trust has set no mandatory retirement age (there are separate provisions for medical staff), confirming its commitment to employing a diverse workforce Flexible retirement Flexible retirement is defined as flexibility regarding the age at which an employee retires, the length of time an employee takes to retire or the nature and intensity of work in the lead up to final retirement (NHS Employers, 2010). 4. Roles and Responsibilities 4.1. Trust The Trust has overall responsibility to have processes in place to ensure that staff are aware of this policy and procedure and adhere to its requirements. 1 As defined by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) (2010), the employee must qualify for parental responsibility for the child. This includes biological parents, legal guardians, adoptive and foster parents and spouses of these including same sex partners as long as they have parental responsibility for the child. 2 A carer is an employee who is or expects to be caring for the adult, who is married to, or the partner or civil partner of the employee; or is a relative of the employee or; falls into neither category but lives at the same address as the employee. The definition of relative covers parents, parent-in-law, adult child, adopted adult child, siblings (including those who are in-laws), uncles, aunts, grandparents or step-relatives (BIS, 2010). 3 Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development 5

6 4.2. Managers Managers responsibilities include the following: Ensuring this policy and procedure are disseminated effectively to their teams and that teams are aware of the procedures for requesting flexible working/flexible retirement. To ensure a high quality of service to patients and service users by planning for flexible working, where possible. To achieve this, the Line Manager must understand required staffing levels and skill mix required in order to create a clear framework within which flexible working could be accommodated. To avoid any misunderstandings, the Line Manager should review working patterns and where appropriate brief other team members and discuss any impact of a flexible working request, before agreeing to a flexible working application. To adhere to the process and timescales stated in the and Procedure. Where, for extenuating reasons, this is not possible, the applicant must be provided with a timely explanation. To provide staff with appropriate support and information during the course of the application for flexible working/flexible retirement. This includes ensuring staff are aware of the implications (if any) on the individual s terms and conditions of employment (e.g. salary, annual leave, pension). To only decline a flexible working request where there are specific service-related grounds and to explain the reasons in writing to the applicant. Line Managers have a primary responsibility for maintaining service effectiveness and quality. To ensure that copies of all flexible working documentation are securely retained in a staff member s local personal file for a minimum of twelve (12) months, from the date of the final decision on the flexible working request. Supporting staff in their pre-retirement planning and maintaining regular contact with staff during the retirement process. When considering flexible retirement options, as well as taking into account individual needs, managers should also take into account the needs of the service (e.g. retention of skilled staff and workforce planning). Ensuring the timely completion of all relevant documents and processes relating to flexible retirement Staff Staff responsibilities include the following: Have awareness of this policy and procedure and how to request flexible working/flexible retirement. 6

7 To carefully consider their proposed working pattern, if it is realistic and how it might work in practice and the effect it would have on their terms and conditions of employment (e.g. salary, annual leave, pension) and upon the following:- o Patients and other service users, o the Trust/department o individual members of staff, o the team in which they work. A staff member may wish to informally discuss a flexible working proposal and the above implications with their Line Manager in the first instance. To submit a carefully thought out and fully completed application form requesting flexible working to their Line Manager. To be prepared to discuss their proposed flexible working pattern with other members of their team. To ensure a flexible working application is made well in advance of the date they wish their proposed working pattern to commence, unless extenuating circumstances necessitate urgent consideration. To demonstrate a willingness to fully explore alternative suggestions made by their Line Manager if they are unable to accommodate the individual s initial request. Where applicable, to fully engage with their Line Manager in discussing preretirement options as part of regular 1-to-1 meetings or raising their intention to retire during the annual appraisal. Where an individual is intending to retire under the provisions of the NHS Pension Scheme, it is necessary for the member of staff to provide at least four (4) months notice (or their contractual notice if this is greater), in writing, of their intention to retire, in order to ensure that the relevant document is processed for calculation of final pension figures and to arrange payment. Non-NHS Pension Scheme Members should give their contractual notice. To discuss flexible retirements options with their Line Manager. To request attendance on the Trust s Pre-retirement Course through Leadership, Education and Development Human Resources The Human Resources team has a responsibility to ensure that this policy and procedure is followed, fairly and consistently. Their duties will involve: ensuring the effective implementation and embedding of this policy and procedure through education and monitoring activity; providing advice and support in the application of this policy and procedure in individual cases; and ensuring that the policy and procedure are maintained and updated accordingly in line with any organisational changes or legislative changes. 7

8 4.5. Trade Unions Trade Union representatives have an important role to play generally in providing advice, support and, if required, representation to their members and working in partnership with managers and the Human Resources Team in looking to ensure that the Trust s and Procedure is applied reasonably and fairly The local Pension team The local Pension team s responsibilities include the following: To provide advice and guidance to Line Managers and staff on the pension options available; To provide information to staff on the financial aspects of any proposed retirement; and To process all the necessary paperwork and liaise with the NHS Pensions to ensure prompt payment of pension to staff retiring. The local Pension team can be contacted contact the team via the Payroll helpdesk on telephone or by 5. Policy Principles 5.1. The purpose of this policy and procedure is to provide a framework for managers to take a fair and equitable approach in the consideration of flexible working/flexible retirement requests, taking into account the individual role, the team and service needs. In addition, managers need to consider flexible work arrangements granted previously in similar circumstances within their service area to ensure consistency Furthermore, flexible retirement options are outlined to offer choices on how an individual may wish to transition from work to eventual retirement The Trust is committed to providing the widest possible range of working patterns for its workforce, although both managers and staff need to recognise that the full range of flexible working options will not be appropriate for all posts and services. There is no statutory duty on the Trust to agree automatically to an individual's request. Each request will be considered on the basis of the particular work involved and the impact the change could have on individual, team or needs of the service Under the Equality Act 2010, the Trust is required to consider flexible working options as part of the duty to make reasonable adjustments for staff/job applicants with a disability or with dependants who have a disability, and staff who are returning from maternity leave This policy and procedure outlines the statutory procedure that must be followed whenever an eligible employee submits a request for flexible working. The procedure aims to encourage dialogue between managers and staff with a view to facilitating agreement on changes to an individual's working arrangements wherever such changes are practicable and workable. 8

9 5.6. Whilst it is the Trust s policy to be flexible on working patterns for all its staff, in order to ensure that it is complying with its legal obligations concerning the right to request flexible working, there may be situations where precedence has to be given to those who have statutory eligibility for this right Staff may make one flexible working request in each twelve (12) month period. Such requests must be made in writing, providing as much detail about their requirements as possible, including what the effect will be on the team and service and how the service will be able to accommodate the flexible working arrangement When considering a request for reduced working hours, managers should consider whether statutory and mandatory training, balanced with service needs, can be accommodated within the requested reduced hours Should a flexible working request be approved, the change will be on a permanent basis unless all parties have agreed at the outset that the arrangement is temporary or a trial period has been agreed. There is no automatic right to revert to the previous working pattern Any requests for flexible working should not be unreasonably refused without sound business grounds and should be further discussed with a Human Resources Advisor prior to the confirmation of such a decision To ensure managers apply a fair, objective and equitable approach to each request, appropriate documentation must be produced to enable transparency of the decision The Trust has an overriding responsibility to deliver timely and effective services to service users. The Trust is also responsible and subsequently has the right to seek ways of developing the capacity of its services increasing its capability to deliver a safe quality service through the Trust s workforce while maintaining cost effective services. Therefore, at times, flexible working arrangements to meet the needs of a service may be instigated by the Trust Managers should review the agreed new flexible working pattern, with the member of staff, on an annual basis to ensure the working arrangements continues to meet the needs of the individual and service. 6. Summary of Procedure 6.1. The Flexible Working Procedure (including Flexible Retirement) provides an overview of the following:- Flexible work arrangements: part-time working, job sharing, flexi-time, annual hours contracts, term-time working and a compressed working week. Retirement and flexible retirement options: complete retirement, wind down, step down, retire and return to the NHS, draw down and late retirement enhancement Furthermore, the process is outlined for requesting both flexible working and flexible retirement. In relation to flexible working, the procedure sets out the statutory process and timescales for considering flexible working requests from staff with the statutory eligibility to the right to request flexible working. 9

10 7. Training Requirements 7.1. Training will be provided, as appropriate, to new staff as part of the local induction process. The existence and scope of this and Procedure will be brought to the attention of all staff through information exchange, staff newsletters and any other method considered relevant, i.e. dedicated workshops/training events, or team/individual discussions Specific training will also be provided for managers to ensure they have the knowledge, skills and awareness necessary to operate this policy efficiently and effectively and to communicate it to their staff. 8. Monitoring Compliance 8.1. Human Resources (HR) will monitor and analyse data on an annual basis. HR will use the data to monitor the implementation of the policy and management of cases. In addition, the data will be collated and analysed for information to ensure the policy and procedure is being adhered to, to identify trends and any interventions required to address any issues Subsequently, the data will be used to inform and improve policies, as well as provide recommendations for improving working practices. HR will provide relevant reports, based on this data, to the Strategic Workforce Committee (SWC), Executive Board and the Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee (JCNC). 9. Policy Review 9.1. The policy and procedures contained within these documents will be in place for three years following approval of a review and amendments. An earlier review can take place should exceptional circumstances arise resulting from this policy and procedure; in whole or in part, being insufficient for the purpose and/or if there are legislative changes. 10. Associated Documents Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy and Procedure Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Leave and Pay Policy and Procedure. Mobile and Home Working Policy. Organisational Change Policy and Procedure Agenda for Change: NHS terms and condition of service handbook Employment Act 2002 Employment Rights Act 1996 Equality Act 2010 Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002 (and associated legislation) Work and Families Act 2006 Working Time Regulations 1998 (and further amendments) 10

11 11. Supporting References Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) promotes employment relations and HR excellence. The government department of Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is the department for economic growth. The department invests in skills and education to promote trade, boost innovation and help people to start and grow a business. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is the chartered HR and development professional body and provides guidance on employment law and best practice. XpertHR provides further guidance on employment law and best practice. NHS Pensions administers the NHS Pension Scheme. NHS Employers is part of the NHS Confederation, and provides guidance on workforce issues in the NHS. 11

12 APPENDIX 1 Equality Impact Analysis Equality Impact Assessment (or Equality Analysis ) is a process of systematically analysing a new or existing policy/practice or service to identify what impact or likely impact it will have on protected groups. It involves using equality information, and the results of engagement with protected groups and others, to understand the actual effect or the potential effect of your functions, policies or decisions. The form is a written record that demonstrates that you have shown due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations with respect to the characteristics protected by equality law. For guidance and support in completing this form please contact a member of the Equality and Diversity team. Name of policy/service/project/plan: and Procedure (including Flexible Retirement) Policy Number: SH HR 48 Department: Lead officer for assessment: Date Assessment Carried Out: December Identify the aims of the policy and how it is implemented. Key questions Answers / Notes Briefly describe purpose of the policy including How the policy is delivered and by whom Intended outcomes Human Resources Rita Hawkshaw: HR Best Practice Lead & Ricky Somal: E&D Lead and Procedure provides a framework for managers to take a fair, equitable and consistent approach towards the consideration of flexible working requests. 2. Consideration of available data, research and information. Monitoring data and other information involves using equality information, and the results of engagement with protected groups and others, to understand the actual effect or the potential effect of your functions, policies or decisions. It can help you to identify practical steps to tackle any negative effects or discrimination, to advance equality and to foster good relations. Please consider the availability of the following as potential sources: Demographic data and other statistics, including census findings Recent research findings (local and national) Results from consultation or engagement you have undertaken Service user monitoring data Information from relevant groups or agencies, for example trade unions and voluntary/community organisations Analysis of records of enquiries about your service, or complaints or compliments about them Recommendations of external inspections or audit reports Key questions Data, research and information that you can refer to 12

13 2.1 What is the equalities profile of the team delivering the service/policy? The Equality and Diversity team will report on Workforce data on an annual basis. 2.2 What equalities training have staff received? 2.3 What is the equalities profile of service users? All Trust staff have a requirement to undertake Equality and Diversity training as part of Organisational Induction (Respect and Values) and E-Assessment The Trust Equality and Diversity team report on Trust patient equality data profiling on an annual basis 2.4 What other data do you have in terms of service users or staff? (e.g results of customer satisfaction surveys, consultation findings). Are there any gaps? Employees may only apply once within a twelve month period. This may disadvantage staff whose circumstances change more frequently and does not reflect the spirit of the NHS initiative : Improving working Lives standard which states: Evidence can demonstrate that staff are able to review and agree changes in their working patterns on a temporary or permanent basis at different stages in their careers and as their personal circumstances change. The Trust is preparing to implement the Equality Delivery System which will allow a robust examination of Trust performance on Equality, Diversity and Human Rights. This will be based on 4 key objectives that include: 1. Better health outcomes for all 2. Improved patient access and experience 3. Empowered, engaged and included staff 4. Inclusive leadership 2.5 What internal engagement or consultation has been undertaken as part of this EIA and with whom? What were the results? Service users/carers/staff 2.6 What external engagement or consultation has been undertaken as part of this EIA and with whom? What were the results? General Public/Commissioners/Local Authority/Voluntary Organisations 13

14 Age Disability Positive impact (including examples of what the policy/service has done to promote equality) Applied to all protected groups: The promotion of flexible working will have a positive effect on retention,absence and turnover Analysis of the application of the flexible working policy (Diversity Scorecard) will identify any difference in its application in terms of protected characteristics Under the Equality Act 2010, the Trust is required to consider flexible working options as part of the duty to make reasonable adjustments for staff/job applicants with a disability or with Negative Impact If an individual chooses flexible retirement option this may affect their pension The policy could have a differential impact on the grounds of disability. Employees with disabilities may need to work more flexibility for care reasons and employees with caring responsibilities Action Plan to address negative impact Actions to overcome problem/barrier Individuals are advised to seek, with support from their line manger, advice from their/nhs pension provider prior to agreeing to flexible retirement option. Under the Equality Act 2010, the Trust is required to consider flexible working options as part of the duty to make reasonable adjustments for Resources required Responsibility Target date 14

15 dependants who have a disability, and staff who are returning from maternity leave. staff/job applicants with a disability or with dependants who have a disability, and staff who are returning from maternity leave. Gender Reassignment Marriage and Civil Partnership No adverse impacts have been identified at this time. There is currently no information that indicates that this document will disadvantage or have a negative impact on the target equality groups if implemented and operated in a manner that is laid out within this document. No adverse impacts have been identified at this time. There is currently no information that indicates that this document will disadvantage or have a negative 15

16 impact on the target equality groups if implemented and operated in a manner that is laid out within this document. Pregnancy and Maternity Race Religion or Belief No adverse impacts have been identified at this time. There is currently no information that indicates that this document will disadvantage or have a negative impact on the target equality groups if implemented and operated in a manner that is laid out within this document. No adverse impacts have been identified at this time. There is currently no information that indicates that this document will 16

17 Sex There is general evidence to show that a higher proportion of female employees require flexible working to accommodate childcare commitments. This policy will have a positive impact on supporting employees who wish to request flexible working. disadvantage or have a negative impact on the target equality groups if implemented and operated in a manner that is laid out within this document. No adverse impacts have been identified at this time. There is currently no information that indicates that this document will disadvantage or have a negative impact on the target equality groups if implemented and operated in a manner that is laid out within this document. Sexual Orientation No adverse impacts have been identified at this time. There is currently no information that indicates that this document will disadvantage or have a negative 17

18 impact on the target equality groups if implemented and operated in a manner that is laid out within this document. 18

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