Work-Life Balance Policy

The University has a well-established policy to support flexibility in working patterns as far as possible, and to enhance the scope for a healthy work-life balance. Our policy goes well beyond the legal minimum provisions contained in the Employment Relations Act (1999) and the Maternity and Paternity Leave (Amendment) Act 2001.

The University extends the statutory entitlement to allow all employees with 26 weeks continuous service the right to request a change in their work pattern for any reason connected with their personal circumstances.

The University’s policy on flexible working is set against the background of the over-riding requirement that services offered to staff, students and other customers must be maintained in order to meet our business needs. We must ensure that any change in working patterns does not compromise the quality and high standards of the provision.

Any requests for changes in working hours have to be assessed against a set of criteria linked to the maintenance of the University’s business operations and requests may not be accepted on the following grounds:

  • Burden of additional costs
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer needs
  • Inability to recruit additional staff
  • Detrimental impact on quality of the service provided
  • Detrimental impact on the performance of a work team
  • Insufficiency of work during the period the employee proposes to work
  • Planned structural changes

The statutory requirement that we have to observe in the nursery, set down by Ofsted, to apply the key person approach to childcare, means that continuity of staff is key to the ability to offer a high quality level of care for the children and their families. With this in mind, the nursery is only able to accommodate two key person members of staff working flexibly, alongside the inevitable range of additional demands from holiday cover, sickness, training and paperwork time. Further reducing the child-contact time of staff with the key person role would be detrimental to the level of service the nursery provides.

If staff would like to request a change to their working pattern they should complete a change in working hours/pattern of work form (full procedure details found at the above link). If the availability to work flexibly has already been filled by other nursery staff, the member of staff requesting the change will be placed on a waiting list until a future opportunity arises. If a member of staff who is working flexibly goes on maternity leave, the pattern of work can be offered to the next person on the list for the duration of the maternity leave but the staff member on maternity leave would be entitled to reclaim the flexible working arrangements on their return. An exception to this is a member of staff taking career break leave who would have to forfeit the flexible working arrangement on their return and re-join the waiting list.

All agreed patterns of work are subject to change if they no longer meet our business needs.

This policy was reviewed in November 2021.