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Flexible working

flex work

The University recognises that a little flexibility can sometimes make a lot of difference in helping our employees to balance the demands of work and personal life.

All employees at the University can now request to work flexibly from day one of their employment. You are able to make two requests within any 12-month period, but if you have submitted a flexible working request within this period you must wait until that one has been considered, a decision has been made, and any appeal has been dealt with, before submitting a second request. 

Where it is possible and practical, we will accommodate flexible arrangements, however, your request will be considered against the service needs and may be turned down if there is a good business reason for not being able to accommodate it.

If approved, requests usually result in a permanent change to your contract of employment, but it is possible to agree a trial period or in some circumstances to agree to a temporary change.

For information on Professional Services Hybrid Working, including information on managing and implementing hybrid working, please visit our Hybrid Working pages.

Policy & guidance - for more details

Managers can also find a range of information about managing flexible working and flexible working requests on our Managers' Essentials StaffNet pages.

Flexible working prior to retirement

If you are considering flexible working prior to retirement the following guidance will explain your options and how each of these will affect your State and University pension benefits:

Examples of flexible working

Flexible working incorporates any working arrangements where the number of hours you work or the time or place that you work varies from the standard practice. 

A different work pattern

Flexible working doesn't necessarily involve a reduction in hours, it can be about altering your working pattern, i.e. your start and finish times, either on a temporary or permanent basis. This may help you to manage your caring responsibilities, for example to enable you to do the school run some days.

Would this work? Some considerations.......

  • what affect would this have on the service? 
  • is cover required at specific times?
  • how would this affect your colleagues?

A reduction in hours

Anything less than 35 hours a week is classed as part-time. This can be a reduction by working less hours each day or by reducing the number of days per week that you work. A reduction in hours should result in a corresponding reduction in workload.

Would this work? Some considerations.......

  • how can your workload be reduced? 
  • who will undertake the work you will be dropping?
  • how will this affect your colleagues?
  • does your work/department need to be covered every day?
  • when are the main times that colleagues/service-users need to contact you?

Condensed hours

This is where full-time hours are worked over fewer days per week which obviously means you would be working longer days. For example 35 hours worked over 4 days - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 8am - 6pm, Thursday 9am - 6pm.  Hours can also be compressed over a fortnight, e.g. working 70 hours (if full time) over 9 days. 

Would this work? Some considerations....

  • does your work/department need to be covered every day?
  • when are the main times that colleagues/service-users need to contact you?
  • does it suit the business needs for you to be there longer hours?
  • can your work be done outside of the normal work pattern?
  • would this affect your productivity/efficiency?
  • how would this affect your colleagues?

A shorter working year / term-time only

For example working 10 months of the year instead of 12. Your salary, annual leave, etc, would be reduced accordingly but payments would be spread out evenly over 12 months. You would need to agree with your manager when you could take the 2 months of unpaid leave.

Term-time only is a similar arrangement, the difference is that staff are only required to work during term time and are required to take their annual leave outside of term time. Salary payments for the weeks worked and the proportion of annual leave are again spread out evenly over the 12 months.

Would this work? Some considerations.....

  • are there specific times of the year where there is less or no requirement for your work?
  • what would happen to your work if you were not there?
  • how would this affect the service?
  • how would this affect your colleagues?

Annualised hours

This is where you work an agreed number of hours over the year, but the number of hours worked each week/month may vary to accommodate fluctuations in your workload. Your salary payments would be spread out evenly over the 12 months. View Annualised Hours Guidance.

Would this work? Some considerations.....

  • do the demands on your service vary quite considerably?
  • are there troughs as well as peaks?
  • could you vary your working hours on a monthly basis or do you have regular commitments outside of work that would make this difficult?

Job share

Job-sharing is quite different from part time work where the employee is individually responsible for their work. Job-sharers share all of the responsibilities of the post which they hold jointly. Pay, leave, etc are split pro rata to the hours each work. Ideally each job sharer should work exactly half time.

There can be real advantages to bringing two skill sets to the role, but there needs to be good communication channels to make it work seamlessly regardless of which job-share partner is available.


Some departments operate a flexitime scheme for support staff. This requires staff to work core hours (usually 10am - 4pm) but they may vary their start and finish times (within set parameters) and may carry over up to 7 hours debit or credit into the next 4 week period. This enables staff to accrue up to a day off each month. View Flexitime Guidance.

Would this work? Some considerations....

  • this has to be available to the whole department and cannot be agreed on an individual basis.
  • does the nature of the service lend itself to this arrangement?
  • is there sufficient staff to provide cover?