As flexible working is set to become the norm within organisations across the UK we have found that many businesses aren’t fully aware of the types of flexible working practices available to them. The variety available gives options and benefits to both employees and employers in all industries
Here we seek to give a little insight into what some of the more common flexible working practices.
Part Time working is certain to be the most wel-known of the flexible working practices. It is essentially the practice of working less than full time hours over the course of a week. A full time worker is usually defined as someone working more than 35 hours a week. Many often assume it is working less days than a full time 5 day week, and this practice is indeed very common. However, Part time working can also mean working shorter days but still being present over a traditional full time 5 days.
Part time is a great for a variety of workers such as parents returning from maternity leave, parents who wish to work around school runs, and for employees who are wishing to slowly reduce their hours later in life. For the employer it ensures they retain staff with experience, ensure busiest times are covered and ensure they have a happy and contented workforce.
Some common part time working practices include Job Sharing and Term time working
Compressed hours are a means of ensuring a full working quota of hours is achieved but over a shorter timeframe. For instance, instead of working 8 hours on 5 days (40 hours) an employee may work 10 hours on 4 days (40 hours) giving them an extra day off but retaining a full time wage. This is great for industries where certain days may be a lot quieter than the rest of the week such as Fridays. For the business this means they have a lot more available time during the busier days of the week, which boosts productivity, and ensuring less downtime due to quieter times.
The benefit for the employee is that they have extra days off work, such as a 3 day weekend, without sacrificing any salary
With annualised hours the employee must work a set number of hours over a year but has flexibility in when they work them. For instance, giving someone a balance of 2080 hours to work (including holidays) averages at 40 hours a week over the year. However, there may be weeks where 30 hours only are required and others where there are 50 required. As the employee works each week their balance comes down accordingly. It’s a useful tool for minimising weekly overtime as excess hours simply come off their balance. Annualised hours are well used in seasonal industries, such as farming, where growing and picking seasons heavily influence labour required.
In an annualised hour setup, an amount of hours is usually rostered and the rest held in reserve, although there are scenarios when the full allocation is assigned to a set roster or all set as a reserve amount. In the mix scenario an annual roster will be allocated to each employee, who is also made aware their reserve allocation will be used up on occasions they are called in to work to meet business demands.
Wages for annualised hours are sometimes paid as an average per month/week, and other times are paid for what has been worked in that pay period. Along with Holiday and Sickness rights employers should make payment terms clear in each employee’s agreement
Employers should ensure there are effective procedures and policies in place for calling in employees to work their reserve hours and also ensure they have a system in place for managing balances. It is important to ensure staff work their assigned hours, especially if the business is paying an average wage per pay period rather than hours worked
Within certain criteria the employee can choose when to start and finish work usually with a mandatory core time such as 10:00 and 15:00 when the employee must be in work. Outside of that the employee has freedom to work as they wish but must usually be required to complete the correct number of hours over a specified period.
Flexitime is often thought of as a preserve for Public Sector office environments but there is a notable increase in the utilisation of flextime from manufacturing and production environments.
To learn more about flexible working practices and how to manage them in your business get in touch for an informal chat