You are on page 1of 8

UWI St Augustine

Coursework Essay #2:1. In your role as the HR business partner at Safelife Insurance Limited you have been asked to prepare a briefing sheet for staff on the introduction of the policy on flexible working. The briefing note should include 2. The strategic rationale for the introduction of flexible working 3. Details of eligibility for flexible working, which includes those with statutory rights, and the company policy for all staff 4. Details of the process for requesting flexible working 5. A framework for the development of the business case including recommended structure of the case 6. Details of the process for assessing the business case including the criteria which will be used


Following the legislative changes in 2003 enabling parents to request flexible working, Safelife Limited has taken the strategic decision that all staff should be able to request flexible working, although there is no commitment that staff will necessarily be granted the option of flexible working. This strategic decision was taken because of the need to retain knowledgeable staff in a highly competitive labour market, the wish to increase the motivation of employees by giving them more control over their work, with the expectation that this will positively impact sickness absence levels as well as provide a high level of customer service. Safelife believes that flexible working, which can include any reasonable request from a variation in start and finish times, to remote working, also has benefits for staff as it can be used to meet employees needs to fit with home responsibilities and to enable staff to have a better work life balance. Teams as well as individuals are encouraged to review their objectives and current patterns of work and to devise a business case for changes to working arrangements, which meet the needs of the team members and also ensure excellent customer service. Flexible working is possible thanks to the increases in technology where many employees can now use this option to make it easier to juggle other commitments such as taking and receiving their children from school or spending more time with their families caring for challenged family members or even pursuing other interests. Basically it is changing from your normal working times and or location to suit your individual needs. There are various options open to employees, some of which are part-time which is working fewer days per week, flexi-time which is staggering your start and ending time of work such as from the normal nine to five to an eleven to seven worked day for instance. Annualized hours is another option whereby your working hours are worked out by the year rather than by the month. This is often set shifts with you deciding when to work the other hours. There is also the option of working compressed hours where you work your agreed hours over fewer days. Staggered hours is where you would work different starting, break and finishing times form employees in the same workplace this may help you to avoid the stress of commuting at peak times. Job sharing is where you sharing a job designed for one person with someone else however the downside of this option is that you also share the salary. Historically this option has mostly been used in times of economic recession.

Of course everyones dream job of working from home as this allows them to feel more in control of their workload. This is probably the most desirable option, but generally this is reserved for management and employees with professional status the demands of their workload would determine. Some lower level staff is also eligible when engaged in more routine or independent types of work such as data entry operators, typist, telemarketers, computer programmers, editors and researchers among others. Anyone can ask their employer for flexible work arrangements however, the law provides some employees with the statutory right to request flexible working under section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996. You must be an employee, but not an agency worker or in the armed forces. You must have worked for your employer for six (6) months continuously before applying and you must not have made another application to work flexibly under the right during the past twelve (12) months. You will then have the statutory right to ask if you have or expect to have parental responsibility of a child aged 16 or under or a disabled child under 18 who receives Disability Living Allowance or if you are the parent, guardian, foster parent or as the holder of a residence order or the spouse, partner or civil partner of one of these and are applying to care for the child or expects to become a caregiver for an adult who is a spouse, partner, civil partner or relative; or who although not related to you, lives at the same address as you. Under the law your employer must seriously consider any application you make, and only reject it if there are good business reasons for doing so. The law gives you the right to ask for flexible working but not the right to have it. Employees who do not have the legal right to request flexible working are of course free to ask their employer if they can work flexibly. Workplace rules are changing and now many employers are willing to consider such requests. Applying is easy if you have the statutory right to apply, because there is a set process you must follow. The process can take a while if there are concerns that must be considered in deliberating your request so if you are thinking about making a request your human resource department should be notified sooner rather than later. You should also be aware that if your request is granted, then it may result in a permanent change to your contract of employment. If you request a flexible working option that will result in you working fewer hours, your pay will be reduced as well. If you do not have the right to request flexible working then the statutory process may still be helpful to you and you should consider speaking to your employer as early as possible.

The Application Process is standard and therefore your application must be made in writing whether on paper, fax or via the internet. It must be dated and must state whether or not the application is made under the statutory right to request flexible working. An example of an opening sentence can be I would like to apply under section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to work a flexible working pattern that is different to my current working pattern because I am the parent of a dyslectic child and I need to be available to take him to the therapist on the requested days and times. It should also itemize any previous requests for flexible working you have made in the last twelve (12) months. Within the letter you must also state your present hours of work and the location of your work. For example that you work from 9 to 5 from Monday to Friday at the London offices of Safelife Insurance Limited. You must then give details of the flexible working you are applying for including the date you wish the new working pattern to start. An example would be that you wish to work from 11 to 7 from Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 9 to 5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Along with this, your request must include an explanation as to what effect you believe the new working pattern would have on your employer and how any effects might be dealt with. For example if you choose to request flexi-time, is the nature of you job such that a supervisor has to either come in early or leave late in order to supervise your work or does the person who opens the company offices have to come in early to open up for you or stay late to lock up after you. Also the cost of the new working arrangements to the business, such that in the case of a request for job sharing from an employee there would be no additional salary as the job is shared between the two employees. However the business now has to incur insurance coverage or government payments such as health surcharge for two persons rather than one. Some of the more noted benefits of flexible work schedules are an increase in morale followed by a reduction in late coming and absenteeism as employees are better able to apportion time to their home lives. Safelife would be seen as a company who appreciates the diversity of their employees needs outside of the company, which would increase their attractiveness to prospective employees. There would be a reduced turnover of valued staff because employees are allowed to work when they feel more motivated and would therefore produce more. The main benefit of flexi time however is the

extended hours of operation for departments such as customer service, sales and underwriting to name a few. This aids in the development of Safelife as the employer of choice with family friendly flexible work schedules. For Safelife promoting flexible working makes good business sense and brings greater cost effectiveness and efficiency, such as savings on overheads when employees work from home or less downtime for machinery when 24-hour shifts are worked. Another benefit is the ability to attract a higher level of skills because the business is able to attract and retain a skilled and more diverse workforce thereby reducing the cost of continuous recruitment. Greater continuity as staff, which might otherwise have left the company, are offered hours they can manage. Safelife found that a better work life balance has a positive impact on staff retention, and on employee relations, motivation and commitment. High rates of retention means that we at Safelife get to keep experienced staff who can often offer a better overall service. This leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty and improved competitiveness as we are better able to react to changing market conditions more effectively. The flexible worker must be monitored to ensure productivity and efficiency of production is maintained. This is to be done by their line manager and overseen by the human resource department. A monthly report on every worker benefiting from this arrangement is required by all supervisors under which they operate. To assess the results of the new arrangement, supervisors are expected to meet with workers on flexible time at least once a fortnight in the first instance to access the success of the program. They must access the employees state of mind, their behaviour while on the job and their attitude to work checking for improvements in relations to stated reasons for the initial request. An employee under the flexible working arrangements must adhere to their time and location arrangements. They must meet their targets and standards of work in keeping with others of similar skills levels and positions within the company. They must provide rapid and effective responses to their customers needs and expectations as customer satisfaction is central to the business. The employee must systematically analyse the causes of problems and identify solutions and or implement solutions along company policy and guidelines. They must maintain Safelife processes and procedures to ensure company goodwill is not compromised. The human resource department is to be informed immediately of any change that is required to this arrangement or any problems

encountered in carrying out this new arrangement. Line managers are to be sensitized to this new thrust of the company and the new culture of the Safelife Insurance Limited in the implementation of flexible working arrangements for employees.

References: UK Government website - Flexible working: Making an application Flexible Work Arrangements: The Overview Memo viewMemo.pdf

Appendix i Form FW (A): Flexible Working Application Form Staff or payroll number: [your staff or payroll number] Dear [managers name] I would like to apply under section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to work a flexible working pattern that is different to my current working pattern because: I [have / expect to have] parental responsibility for the upbringing of a [child aged up to and including16 / a disabled child under 18] I am [married to / the partner of] the [mother / father / adopter / guardian / special guardian / foster parent] of the child I have been granted a residence order in respect of the child

I am making this request to help me care for the child. [OR] I [am / expect to be] caring for an adult and I am the [spouse / partner / civil partner / relative] living at the same address as the adult.

I am making this request to help me care for the adult. I can confirm that I have worked continuously as an employee of the company for the last 26 weeks. I have not made a request to work flexibly during the past 12 months. [include the statement that applies to you below and delete the rest] I have previously made a request to work flexibly on [date in DD/MM/YYYY format] I have never made a request to work flexibly. My current working pattern is [include a paragraph which describes your current working pattern including the days/hours/time/place you work at the moment] I would like to start working [include a paragraph to describe the working pattern you would like to have in the future including the days/hours/times/place you would like to work] I would like this working pattern to start from [date in DD/MM/YYYY format] I think this change in my working pattern will affect my employer and colleagues by [include any information on the impact you feel your flexible working pattern will have on your employer]

I think the effect on the business and my colleagues can be dealt with by [include steps you feel can be taken to accommodate your flexible working pattern] Yours sincerely, Name: [your name] Date: [date in DD/MM/YYYY format]