Information

NHSScotland 'Once for Scotland' workforce policies - homeworking policy: consultation

The 'Once for Scotland' Workforce Policies Programme is designed to review and transform existing workforce policies (previously known as Partnership Information Network (PIN) Policies). This consultation focuses on the homeworking policy.


Flexible Work Location Policy

1. Flexible Work Location Policy

1.1. Aim

1.1.1. To provide a framework to support organisations and employees to consider and agree options for flexible work locations.

1.2. Scope

1.2.1. This policy applies to all employees. It also applies to bank and sessional workers.

1.2.2. If the arrangement is about a change to working hours or patterns, please refer to your Board's local flexible working policy. It will be updated on publication of the NHSScotland flexible working policies, as part of the refresh of the 'Supporting the Work Life Balance' PIN policy.

1.2.3. This policy is compliant with current legislation and will meet the aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty of the Equality Act 2010.

1.3. Definitions

1.3.1. Agile working is the approach. The aim of agile working is about finding the most appropriate and effective way of working by bringing together:

  • people
  • processes
  • connectivity
  • technology
  • time
  • place

1.3.2. There are a number of roles which may be suitable for agile working. There will need to be initial consideration of some or all elements of a role can be performed in an agile way.

1.3.3. There are 3 categories of work location:

1.3.4. Fixed – where roles and duties have to be undertaken at one or more specified locations and not at home.

1.3.5. Home – where roles and duties are undertaken at home. The employee may also be required to attend specified locations, for example, for training.

1.3.6. Hybrid – where roles and duties have a combination of home and specified locations.

1.4. Roles and responsibilities

There is a range of standard expectations which underpin all policies. Read more about standard roles and responsibilities. In addition, the following specific responsibilities apply to this policy.

1.4.1. Employer

The employer should:

  • provide equipment and technology to allow employees to carry out their work
  • provide support to set up any new equipment or technology

1.4.1.1. For both the manager and employee, roles and responsibilities are largely based on the working from home element of this policy and what needs to be in place.

1.4.2. Manager

The manager should:

  • assess roles and duties to establish suitability for agile working in response to organisational need or request from employee
  • agree and maintain regular communication to offer the employee support and guidance
  • make arrangements for effective team working
  • make arrangements for equipment, information storage and security
  • make sure workplace and risk assessments are completed and acted upon to help ensure a safe working environment
  • review working arrangements at least annually with the employee
  • seek confirmation that domestic arrangements such as caring arrangements are in place throughout the hours of work

1.4.3. Employee

The employee should:

  • make sure infrastructure is adequate to support efficient working, for example, internet connectivity
  • attend workplaces with reasonable notice as necessary, for example, to attend meetings and training
  • be available during the agreed period of work
  • undertake the necessary workplace assessments
  • keep all work equipment provided by the organisation in good condition and report any damage or malfunction to the line manager
  • not allow work equipment to be used by other household members
  • take necessary steps to make sure that confidentiality is maintained at all times
  • maintain contact with their manager
  • inform the tax office of their working from home arrangements if claiming tax relief
  • inform home insurer that working from home is being undertaken
  • make sure domestic arrangements such as caring arrangements are in place throughout the hours of work

1.5. Procedure

1.5.1. Home or hybrid working arrangements can be temporary, long-term or permanent. They offer flexibility about where, or how a role is carried out.

1.5.2. These working arrangements must balance the needs of the individual and their role with the following organisational factors:

  • patient or service user experience
  • staff experience
  • service delivery and service capacity

1.5.3. Eligibility

1.5.4. The scope outlines who can apply as well as situations in which home or hybrid working arrangements may be suitable. When considering eligibility, please refer to:

  • Manager guide (guide to help managers use and understand the Flexible Work Location Policy. This will include the areas that must be considered by all parties as part of a flexible work location review or as part of a request)
  • Employee guide (guide to help employees use and understand the Flexible Work Location Policy. This will include the areas that must be considered by all parties as part of a flexible work location review or as part of a request)

1.5.5. How to apply

1.5.6. The procedure for home or hybrid working arrangements is outlined in the Flexible Work Location Policy flowchart (visual and text alternative flowcharts outlining the key steps in the Flexible Work Location Policy).

1.5.7. Request by employee

1.5.8. Employees who request home or hybrid working arrangements should have a discussion with their manager in the first instance.

1.5.9. Discussions should consider the needs of the service and the health, safety and wellbeing of the employee. The issues that must be considered by both parties are outlined in the:

  • Manager guide (guide to help managers use and understand the Flexible Work Location Policy. This will include the areas that must be considered by all parties as part of a flexible work location review or as part of a request)
  • Employee guide (guide to help employees use and understand the Flexible Work Location Policy. This will include the areas that must be considered by all parties as part of a flexible work location review or as part of a request)

1.5.10. The discussions should also consider what parts of the job can be done at home and what, if any, parts of the job must be done on work premises.

1.5.11. The employee should complete:

  • flexible work location request form (form to request a move to home or hybrid working arrangements)
  • health and safety self-assessment (self-assessment form to identify and assess risks to home or hybrid working arrangements)

1.5.12. These will be sent to and discussed with their manager to ensure that relevant health, safety and wellbeing issues are considered.

1.5.13. Having received the documents, the manager must acknowledge them within 7 calendar days and arrange a meeting to discuss them within 28 calendar days. If necessary, this time period can be extended by agreement of all parties.

1.5.14. When the manager and employee agree to a change under this policy, both parties should sign a flexible work location agreement (template for written agreement for flexible work location to be agreed and signed by both parties).

1.5.15. If the agreed change results in a change of work location then the written agreement should confirm the employees designated base. For contractual purposes this will be the location where the majority of the working time is spent.

1.5.16. The arrangements should be reviewed at least once a year, including the health and safety self-assessment (self-assessment form to identify and assess risks to home or hybrid working arrangements) or when circumstances or requirements change for the employee or manager. For medical and dental staff, this could form part of the job planning process. For all other employees, this could form part of the appraisal process.

1.5.17. Refusal of the request

1.5.18. An employee's request for home or hybrid working should be supported where possible. A manager should only refuse a request for valid service or organisational reasons, where one or more of the following apply:

  • adverse impact on service delivery and quality
  • adverse impact on work colleagues
  • outcome of the health and safety self-assessment (self-assessment form to identify and assess risks to home or hybrid working arrangements)

1.5.19. If the request is refused, the decision including reasons for that should be confirmed in writing within 7 calendar days.

1.5.20. Appeal process

1.5.21. The employee will have a right to appeal within 14 calendar days against the decision to refuse the request. When exercising this right, the employee must identify the reason for their appeal.

1.5.22. The appeal panel Chair, in accordance with the scheme of delegation, will be responsible for identifying membership of the appeal hearing panel.

1.5.23. The Chair will also be responsible for ensuring that all parties are advised in writing of the arrangements, no later than 14 calendar days prior to the hearing.

1.5.24. Outcome

1.5.25. Following the hearing, the Chair will write with the outcome of the appeal hearing to the employee. This should include the rationale behind any decision taken in response to the employee's grounds for appeal. The letter will be issued within 7 calendar days following the appeal hearing.

1.5.26. Request by employer

1.5.27. Where a manager or organisation would like employees to change their work location, they should have a conversation with these employees in the first instance.

1.5.28. Proposed changes like this are covered by the Staff Governance Standard which require full engagement and involvement with affected staff.

1.5.29. The Board's Organisational Change Policy gives more information on the process to be followed. The local policy also ensures protection of terms and conditions and no detriment to the employee.

1.6. Supporting documentation

1.6.1. It is proposed that the supporting documents listed below will be developed to support the policy. Supporting documents are not part of the consultation. These will be drafted following the consultation when responses have been analysed and the policy is developed in a final draft.

  • Employee guide

Descriptor: guide to help employees use and understand the Flexible Work Location Policy. This will include the areas that must be considered by all parties as part of a flexible work location review or as part of a request

  • Manager guide

Descriptor: guide to help managers use and understand the Flexible Work Location Policy. This will include the areas that must be considered by all parties as part of a flexible work location review or as part of a request

  • Flexible work location policy flowchart

Descriptor: visual and text alternative flowcharts outlining the key steps in the Flexible Work Location Policy

  • Flexible work location request form

Descriptor: form to request a move to home or hybrid working arrangements

  • Health and Safety self-assessment

Descriptor: self-assessment form to identify and assess risks to home or hybrid working arrangements

  • Flexible work location agreement

Descriptor: template for written agreement for flexible work location to be agreed and signed by both parties

  • Examples of flexible work location personas

Descriptor: real life examples of roles and duties which may be suitable for flexible work locations

Contact

Email: Lynn.Hunter@gov.scot

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