Family Friendly Policies

28 Mar
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Employment, Employment Legislation, Flexi-time, Flexible working, gender, Home-workers, HR Policy, HR Support, Human Resources, Job Sharing, Maternity, Part-time Workers Act, Paternity, people management, Policies and Procedures, reduced hours, Video, Vlog   |  No Comments

A full set of policies around maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay need to be developed so that employees feel valued and their skills are not lost from the business, but so that they business is able to function effectively with short and long term absences as a result of the prospective and actual birth of a baby.

The law provides for statutory time off and pay, but companies can provide more or structure things differently.



Flexible Working

08 Aug
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Carers, Employees, Employers, Flexi-time, Flexible working, people manaagment   |  1 Comments

 Within your business, you are obliged to take eligible employees’ requests for flexible working arrangements seriously.

It is your right as an employer to determine whether a flexible working request will be detrimental to delivering your business services / products to your clients and you are able to reject requests for flexible working as long as you comply with the regulations.  You could also consider a trial period, but once agreed any variation to working conditions are permanent and become contractual.

You may ask who is eligible for flexible working.  By law, there are three groups of eligible employees as follows:

  • Employees who care for a child aged 16 or under
  • Employees who care for, a disabled child under 18
  • Employees with elder care responsibilities

However, employees must also qualify for flexible working by:

  • Having been employed  by the business for  at least 26 weeks (continuous service)
  • Be the parent or guardian of a child as defined above or be married/a partner of the parent as defined above.
  • If the request is linked care for an adult, the employee has to be a relative of the adult in question.
  • Not having made a request for flexible working within the last year.

If all of the above is in order then your employee making the request should submit a formal ‘request  form’ in line with the Company’s policy. The onus is on the employee making the request to detail the nature of the flexible working request i.e. to work from home, to change hours, to job share etc. together with mitigating actions required to ensure minimal disruption to the business.

The employer must consider and respond to applications within 28 of receipt and either hold a meeting to discuss any modifications to the application / alternative options or accept the request in writing.  If a meeting is required to discuss the application, a mutually convenient appointment should be made and a decision given within a fortnight of the meeting.  Time periods are flexible subject to agreement by both yourself and your employee.  It is also possible to agree a flexible working arrangement on a trial basis (normally up to three months), and if the arrangement is not working within that time, the trial can be terminated, again complying with the regulations.

Any changes to employment patterns agreed must be documented and no further requests for varying work arrangements can be made for at least a year after the initial application, regardless of whether you, the employer, accepted or rejected their first request.

As an employer, if the flexible working request is proven to not work for your business (for example it may have an unacceptable burden of additional cost or require a structural change) then you are at liberty to refuse the request, but you must document the business reasons for this.

Employees are able to appeal against a decision of refusal but must do this within 14 days of the date of decision.

Flexible working can work in many circumstances, but sometimes it just doesn’t do the business justice to accept an application.

While the law allows requests from three specific groups, many businesses, both large and small have allowed all employees the right to request flexible working. By adopting a flexible approach for all workers, many businesses benefit from longer operational hours of business, multi-skilled employees covering different shifts and greater holiday cover.

For further information on understanding flexible working, developing policies and procedures and protecting your business when receiving a formal request, contact enquiries@dohr.co.uk or call 01923 504100.

Job Sharing

01 Oct
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Employees, Employers, Flexi-time, Flexible working, HR, HR Policy, Job Sharing   |  No Comments

For most employers, a job does not shrink just because an employee applies for flexible working and as a result many employers are resistant to job share arrangements.

The truth is, that for many employers job sharing is just too scary. It is not the way things have traditionally been done and it is a step into the unknown. Employers can’t imagine trying to work out who does what, how they will ensure consistency and continuity and how they can afford two people.

What they do not often think about is the advantages of having two people who know the job (if the job is shared) and therefore being able to provide sickness and holiday cover; or the advantages of having employees dedicated to a discrete area of work (if the role is divided) and therefore becoming more expert or proficient in that field.

The cost of job share is minimal as the employee only gets paid for the hours they work, they usually share facilities such as a desk and the cost of their pension contributions, if based on a % earned will remain unchanged. So the only additional costs may be health care or life assurance (if offered) or other similar benefits.
The key to a successful job share is communication. It is important to ensure that the job is well defined and that the whole organisation knows who to approach and when. Communication between the job share employees is vital to ensure efficiency and continuity of service to the business, its suppliers and its customers.

Another essential factor is getting the right people in the roles. If the role is shared, the job holders must be great team players, they must be able to work and thrive within a team and not be possessive of their role. They must also be highly motivated and driven to do a good job so that bits of the job are not continually left for the other person and end up never being done. Getting recruitment right is essential.

When an employee applies for job sharing, they may be doing so under the flexible working legislation. If so, there is a duty on the employer to seriously consider the request and to respond within specified timescales. Although there is an obligation to consider the request, there is no obligation to grant it, but if the employer decides not to allow the arrangement, their decision has to be based on specific criteria. The employer can reject the request if the proposed changes result in:
• a burden of additional cost
• a detrimental effect on the business’s ability to meet customer demand
• an inability to re-organise work among existing staff
• an inability to recruit additional staff
• a detrimental effect on quality
• a detrimental effect on performance
• an insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work
• a planned structural change

With the improvements in technology, the need for employers to compete for top talent and the desire to retain high performing employees, job sharing is becoming more popular. Employers who look after their staff and allow them to work in patterns they are able to, generally find that the employees are more productive while at work and perform to a higher level as they are more motivated and focussed.

To find out more about job sharing, your obligations as an employer and the HR Policy you need in place, please visit us at www.dohr.co.uk or call us for a chat.