Policies and Procedures. Right to Request Flexible Working Policy & Procedure

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1 Policies and Procedures Right to Request Flexible Working Policy & Procedure Last updated 30 th June

2 1. Introduction Eligibility 3 3. Line Manager s Responsibilities Making an application Dealing with requests.5 6. Grounds for Refusing a Request Right to Appeal 6 8. Time Limits.. 7 2

3 1 Introduction 1.1 Edinburgh University Students Association is committed to being an employer of choice. We believe that staff are central to achieving excellence in our services. As such, our policies reflect a working environment and practices that value staff contribution. 1.2 This policy provides employees with opportunities to balance work and personal life, whilst being compatible with and beneficial to, business efficiency. 1.3 The purpose of this policy is to facilitate discussion and encourage both the employee and their manager to consider flexible working patterns and to find a solution where possible that suits them both. It does not provide an automatic right to work flexibly, as there may be circumstances when EUSA is unable to accommodate the employee s desired work pattern. The approval of all arrangements is therefore subject to meeting the needs of the business and seeking management approval. 1.4 The purpose of this policy is to set out EUSA s approach to flexible working requests and the procedures that should be followed when managing flexible working requests, balancing the needs of individual employees with the needs of the team and service. 1.5 This policy relates to all categories of staff. 1.6 Through this policy EUSA aims to: manage flexible working requests fairly, responsibly, consistently and in non-discriminatory manner; create a culture where employees feel valued, engaged, committed and involved; promote good working practices which encourage work life balance; provide consistent advice, support and training to both line managers and employees. 1.7 This policy is non contractual and may be subject to review and change as required by employment law and EUSA. 2 Eligibility 2.1 To be eligible to make a request for flexible working, you must: have been employed by EUSA continuously for at least 26 weeks on the date they make their request, not have made another statutory request during the past 12 months. 2.2 Prior to 30 th June 2014, only parents and carers had a statutory right to request flexible working. Under provisions set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 any eligible employee (as defined under 2.1) can now apply to work flexibly for any reason. 3

4 2.3 Requests for flexible working may include a change in working hours, change to start or finish times or requests to work from home. Applications for a change in working pattern will not always require a significant alteration. For example, an employee may simply wish to start work half an hour later and make up the time later in the day. 3. Line Manager s Responsibilities 3.1 Any action taken under this policy will normally be taken by the employee s immediate line manager. In cases of appeal, only an appropriate manager (normally one who has not been involved in the case so far) can hear the appeal. 3.2 It is the responsibility of the line manager to: consider and respond constructively to any requests for flexible working, in consultation with HR, ensure that requests for flexible working are dealt with in a prompt and timely way, make themselves familiar with this policy and procedure, consider each request for flexible working on its merits, taking into account individual circumstance and take action as appropriate to individual and business circumstances, ensure employees understand the possible outcomes of the procedure for requesting flexible working. 4. Making an application 4.1 If you wish to apply for flexible working you should submit a written application to your line manager, using the Flexible Working Application Form attached to this policy. The application must set out: the date of application, the change to working conditions you are seeking and when you would like the change to come into effect, what effect you think the requested change would have on EUSA and how, in your opinion, any such effect might be dealt with, that it is a statutory request and if you have made a previous application for flexible working and the date of that application, if the request is made in relation to the Equality Act 2010, for example as a reasonable adjustment for a disability. 4.2 You should allow plenty of time between the date of the application and the date you would like the flexible working arrangement to start. This is to allow time for the application to be considered and for an assessment to be made as to whether or not it can be accommodated. 4.3 You can only make one application a year under the policy. 4.4 An accepted application will mean a permanent (unless otherwise agreed) change to your terms and conditions of employment, which will be confirmed 4

5 in writing. It is important therefore that, before making an application, you give careful consideration to which working pattern is most suitable for you and any financial implications it might have on you in cases where the desired working pattern will involve a decrease in salary. 5. Dealing with requests 5.1 On receiving a flexible working request, the line manager will arrange to discuss the desired work pattern with you and how best it might be accommodated. 5.2 The discussion will allow you to explain the reasons why you are seeking the change if you choose to tell your line manager this. It will also provide an opportunity to consider other alternative working patterns should there be problems in accommodating the desired work pattern outlined in your application. The discussion does not have to be face to face, if you and your line manager agree it can be held by phone or some other way. 5.3 If you wish, you have the right to be accompanied during this discussion by a work colleague or a trade union representative (a companion ). It is your responsibility to arrange the attendance of any colleague or trade union representative. This individual has the right to decline to attend. The name of your companion and whether they are your workplace colleague or trade union representative must be provided to the line manager at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. Your companion is primarily there as a form of support for you but may: address the meeting confer with you during the meeting, and request an adjournment. However, they are not allowed to: behave in any way that prevents the case being fully heard, or answer questions put directly to you 5.4 You can withdraw your flexible working application either verbally or in writing. 5.5 An application will be considered as withdrawn if you fail to attend two meetings without providing reasonable notice or reasonable explanation of your non-attendance. EUSA will confirm any withdrawal of an application in writing. 5.6 Following the discussion, the line manager will consider your request carefully weighing up the advantages against any adverse impact on the business. We will then write to you to either: accept your request and confirm a start date and any other action; confirm a compromise agreed at the discussion; reject the request, setting out business reasons and how these apply to your application, as well as the appeal process. 5

6 5.7 If the line manager is unsure whether the arrangements requested are sustainable for EUSA or about the possible impact on other employees requests for flexible working, the flexible working arrangement may be agreed for a temporary or trial period. If this is the case, it will be confirmed to you in writing. Your line manager will agree review points with you to discuss how the new arrangements are working and make any adjustments as necessary. 6. Grounds for refusing a request 6.1 The business grounds for refusing a flexible working request must come from at least one of those listed below: the burden of additional costs; an inability to reorganise work among existing staff; an inability to recruit additional staff; a detrimental impact on quality; a detrimental impact on performance; a detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand; lack of work during the periods the employee proposes to work; planned structural changes to the business. 7. Right to Appeal 7.1 If you are unhappy with the manager s decision, you have the right to appeal. All appeals have to be submitted in writing to the HR Department within 7 calendar days of the date of receiving the written confirmation of the outcome. In your letter you must clearly state the full grounds on which you are appealing including all details which you feel are relevant to your appeal. The appeal should not simply outline that you are not happy with the outcome. 7.2 An appeal meeting will be arranged as soon as possible and without undue delay. Appeals will be heard by an impartial manager who, wherever possible, will be more senior to the manager making the original decision. You will have a right to be accompanied by a workplace colleague or a trade union representative. 7.3 Appeal decisions are final and will be confirmed in writing following the appeal meeting. 8. Time limits 8.1 EUSA will deal with all flexible working applications promptly, without undue delay. All requests, including any appeals, must be considered and decided on within a period of three months from first receipt of the flexible working application. 8.2 This time limit may be extended in exceptional circumstances through agreement between the line manager and the employee making the request. 6

7 Flexible Working Application Form You can use this form to make an application to work flexibly under the right provided in law. For more information about the right to request flexible working, please refer to EUSA s Right to Request Flexible Working Policy and Procedure. You should ensure that you submit your application to your line manager well in advance of the date you wish the request to take effect to allow sufficient time for the application to be considered. It will help EUSA to consider your request if you provide as much information as you can about your desired working pattern. It is important that you complete all the questions as otherwise your application may not be valid. Once you have completed the form, you should immediately forward it to your line manager (you might want to keep a copy for your own records). If the request is granted, this will be a permanent change to your terms and conditions unless otherwise agreed. Personal Details Employee Name:. Department:.. Line Manager:. Date of application:.. Eligibility: I would like to apply to work a flexible working pattern that is different to my current working pattern under my right provided in law. I confirm I meet each of the eligibility criteria as follows: I have worked continuously as an employee of the company for the last 26 weeks. I have not made a request to work flexibly under this right during the past 12 months. Date of previous flexible working application (if relevant): If you are not sure whether you meet any of the criteria, please do not hesitate to contact HR. If you are unable to tick both boxes then you do not qualify to make a request to work flexibly in law. This does not mean that your request may not be considered, but you will have to explore this separately with your line manager. Your current working pattern (days/hours/times worked): 7

8 The working pattern you would like to work in future (days/hours/times worked). Please provide as many options as possible to be considered, ideally a 1 st, 2 nd and 3 rd choice: I would like this new working pattern to commence from:. (date) Impact of the new working pattern: I think this change in my working pattern will affect EUSA and colleagues as follows: Accommodating the new working pattern I think the effect on EUSA and colleagues can be dealt with as follows: Are you making this request in relation to Equality Act 2010, for example, as a reasonable adjustment for a disability? (if you re unsure, please contact EUSA s HR department for advice) Yes No If yes, please provide any other relevant information EUSA should be aware of to support you in the performance of your duties: Signature: Date:. PLEASE PASS THIS FORM TO YOUR LINE MANAGER 8