Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, for example having flexible start and finish times, or working from home. All employees have the legal right to request flexible working, it's not just something that's there for parents and carers (the legal rights for flexible working rules are different in Northern Ireland).
In Lloyds Banking Group, your right to request flexible working is handled under the Agile working policy.
What is agile working?
The term ‘agile working’ covers a broad range of agile working practices, extending beyond traditional flexible working arrangements. These include thinking about where you work, when you work, what you do and how you work. The bank asks encourages everyone to think and collaborate in new and different ways - just because you've always worked in one way in the past doesn't mean that this is the only way that you must work.
What can be requested?
Agile working arrangements can be permanent, fixed-term or for a trial period and are available to everyone, and while shaped around the needs of the business, it should be possible in every grade, role or business area, regardless of the reason for making a request. So what can be requested, here are some examples (this list is not exhaustive):
- A change to the number of hours you work (the standard contractual working week is 35 hours, unless you've already varied this)
- A change to your shift pattern, days of the week you work, or the hours you work each day
- Compressed working (such as a 9 day fortnight or 4 day week)
- The ability to work from home, or hybrid working
- Term-time working or annualised hours
- Job sharing
- Flexitime (for example having agreed core hours, but being able to flex when you start or finish your work outside of those core hours)
You should consider that there may be financial impacts to you as a result of some types of request (such as reducing the number of hours you work), and that you must have sufficient rest periods for the hours you work (for example you must have a minimum of 20 minutes uninterrupted break after 6 hours work, or 4.5hrs work for young workers).
We would encourage members and managers to talk openly to agree agile working on an informal basis where this is possible within your role. Any informal arrangements should be documented to ensure any agreements are captured. Local arrangements may be reviewed over time to ensure they still work for both yourself and the business.
All requests should be given proper consideration.
Should it not be possible to agree informal arrangements, a formal request can be made.
Formal agile working request
To initiate the formal process, complete the agile working request application form on the bank's intranet. It will be submitted to your line manager for consideration. Once it's submitted, you'll be invited to a meeting to discuss your request - this should be within 14 days of submitting your request. In some operational areas, your manager may need to gather further information from another team to understand the impact of your application.
You're entitled to be accompanied to your meeting by a colleague or a union representative. If you're unsure who your local rep is, you can find this information on our online support page. During the meeting, you should discuss your request in detail including what the impacts are on the team, the business and yourself. We would recommend working creatively and collaboratively with your manager to achieve a suitable change - that may mean revisiting and exploring the change you'd like considering and alternatives.
Following your meeting, you should be given a written decision within 14 days of your meeting (although this can be longer if needed for more thorough investigation to be completed). This should detail whether the application has been approved or not, and any rationale for declining. There are a limited number of permitted reasons for declining a request which are as follows:
- extra costs that will damage the business
- the work can't be reorganised among other staff
- people can't be recruited to do the work
- flexible working will affect quality and performance
- the business will not be able to meet customer demand
- there’s a lack of work to do during the proposed working times
- the business is planning changes to the workforce
You'll have the right to appeal any decision made during this stage of the process.
You have 14 days to appeal any decision made at the formal stage of the process, upon receipt of the outcome. You should submit your appeal to your line manager (or the decision maker if this wasn't your direct manager). An independent hearing manager will be appointed to hear the appeal and you'll be invited accordingly to a further meeting to discuss your case.
You'll have the right to be represented by a rep or Accord officer at your appeal meeting.
A decision should be made within 14 days of your appeal meeting (although this can be longer if needed for more thorough investigation to be completed). That decision will be final and they'll be no further right to appeal the decision.
Business led change
Sometimes it may be deemed necessary by the business to initiate a change to your working hours or patterns. This could be individually or as part of a group of other colleagues. In both scenarios, the business may start to follow a consultation process which is outlines in the working arrangements guidance. This consultation process has been developed in conjunction with Accord, and must be followed by your manager.
The principles of the consultation process is to reach mutual agreement between yourself and the business on any change to your working hours or patterns. Only as a last resort should the business look to issue you notice that they will be making the change, and it must be accompanied by a robust rationale of the reason for change.
Should the business look to enforce a change which you disagree with, you will have the ability to challenge the decision through the grievance process. In these circumstances, please get in touch with your local Accord officer to discuss your case, and agree next steps.
If you need support, or you think you're being treated unfairly, contact your local Accord officer to discuss further. Feel free to chat to us through our online chat (available Monday-Thursday 8:30-17:30 & Friday 08:30-17:00), or drop us an email to [email protected].