Flexi: clarity and the changes

We are in consultation about the scheme of flexible working hours—have your say

We are currently in consultation with the Council about flexible working arrangements and would like to hear what members want to see in the new system.

To have your say, email our vice convener Graeme Smith at graeme.smith2@unitetheunion.org. We also encourage you to raise your concerns using askHR.

Graeme Smith, vice convener, brings us an update—and some much needed clarity on the proposals and discussions.

No more clocking in

The Council is doing away with the ‘Crown Flexi system’—the clocking machine in Waverley Court, the City Chambers and other buildings. The system is outdated, poorly used and would be expensive to replace. The clocking system was turned off when we went into lockdown and will not be turned back on.

This changes the way flexi works immediately. HR asked staff to

  • bring their balances back to zero—working back up to 10 hours if you owed time and taking up to 15 hours if you had accrued hours.
  • work their contracted hours, within the day.

What’s changing

The proposed changes are to the scheme of flexible working hours.

There are no changes to the flexible work options policy.

The new proposals suggest doing away

  • clocking in and out
  • accruing hours to take as a flexi day.

You can still work flexibly with the agreement of your manager, such as

  • starting and finishing earlier or later
  • getting away early and making it up the next day.

The drive is to work the number of your contracted hours within the day.

Consultation

The new proposals put an emphasis on discussions with your manager. While this sounds more flexible and has the capacity to be more considerate than dealing with the flawed clocking system, we know that not all managers treat their staff fairly and that this more informal approach is open to problems of bias for or against members of staff.

On the other side, we appreciate that this approach can put pressure on line managers as they deal with requests without a tool to measure the hours staff have worked.

We are keen to see guidance and training to help ensure staff are treated fairly and managers fully understand what is possible under these arrangements—and under the other policies that grant staff rights to time off.

Right policy for the right reason

One aspect that has been discussed is the right to time off under other policies. Many other policies let you get time away for things that people have suggested they use flexi for.

For example, through the special leave policy you’re entitled to paid time off things such as

  • medical appointments
  • emergency care of dependents
  • healthcare for children under five

and unpaid time off for many reasons. The special leave entitlement guidance shows what you can get time off for at a glance.

You can use the flexible work options policy to change your contracted hours with agreement, such as working

  • compressed hours
  • a 9-day fortnight.

We have discussed with HR how they can support staff that want to change their hours.

Next steps

The Council will issue guidance on the proposed change soon.

The consultation is ongoing, so if you have anything you want to raise email me at graeme.smith2@unitetheunion.org.

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