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The pressures and demands of modern life often mean that employees need to take time off work to deal with other commitments they have. These commitments may be family-related, a legal matter, perhaps health-related, or simply a desire to spend time during the day on other interests or activities. Flexible working practices are designed to accommodate these needs, and every employee who has completed 26 weeks continuous service is entitled to request flexibility in their working hours.
Accommodating these requests can be achieved using a wide range of different measures and approaches. Amongst these are part-time working, term-time working, job-sharing, flexi-time, home working, careers breaks and study leave. Each of these measures can help individuals to manage the time they spend at work and this can in turn reduce stress, and provide them with a better work-life balance.
In practice flexible working does not just benefit employees; organisations who offer flexible working hours can also gain from the arrangement. For example, they are likely to attract and retain staff who feel that working a fixed 9-to-5 work-pattern too restrictive, and many highly skilled individuals are now looking for more flexibility in working hours. Providing flexibility is also likely to have a beneficial effect on employee-commitment and productivity, and lead to a happier work-place
Managing information relating to flexible working can be a challenge. Three new features provided as customisation to the People Inc. system are designed to help organisations to record and manage information relating to flexible working. The new functionality enables users to:
The features are added as workflow within the People Inc. Employee Self-Service module. This means that the employees themselves add their own records, and their line-managers review these before the system is updated. Managing the information in this way provides a number of benefits when compared to other approaches. These include accessibility, real-time information, data accuracy, accountability, and a significant time saving.
Using workflow-based functionality within People Inc. employees can submit a request to vary the number of holiday days/hours available to them in a particular year. Buying and selling holidays is subject to the approval of the employee’s manager. When a request is approved, the time is added to (or subtracted from) their holiday allowance and an adjustment is made to their salary to reflect the change. Holidays bought by an employee are then booked via the standard ESS holiday request form.
There are normally limits to the number of days that can be bought and sold. For example employees might be allowed to buy up to five extra days, or sell up to two days (this ensures that their holiday allowance does not go above or below pre-set limits. Each holiday day that employees buy or sell is valued at 1/260th (or 1/261th) of their annual salary (depending on the system settings). Employees' holiday allowances remains unchanged for future years.
Using employee timesheets (a standard ESS add-on), it is possible to record information about the number of hours each employee works each day. Completed by the employee themselves, these timesheets are passed to the employee's manager for approval using an existing ESS workflow. A new People Inc. plug-in analyses this information, comparing the hours worked on each day with the employee's work pattern. The plug-in then adds an adjustment to the employee's flexi-time balance (held as an absence allowance within People Inc.) and this can then be booked as time off work using the standard ESS holiday request form.
Where limitations are set against the number of hours that can be accrued as flexi-time, this can be managed automatically by the system. For example, an organisation may wish to limit the number of hours accrued in a particular period (month) or may wish to limit the maximum number of hours accrued.
From time to time it may be necessary for an employee to work additional hours (over and above their standard contractual hours or work pattern). When this happens, employees may receive additional leave in lieu of payment for the extra time they have worked. To enable an employee to request time off in lieu an additional ESS request screen is added to the People Inc. system.
Using their ESS login, an employee is able to submit a request detailing the additional hours they have worked (a date and a number of hours). This is routed to their manager, who can approve or decline the request. Once approved the specified number of hours are added to the employee's absence allowance automatically and can then be booked as time off work using the standard ESS holiday request form.
Alternatively, the employee can elect to be paid. In this case, rather than providing them with additional leave, an entry is added to the People Inc. payroll change log, and exported with the monthly payroll information.
Available as customisation, the three features detailed in this document can be implemented in a few hours. They are however not included as standard functionality within the People Inc. system. Note that a licence for the Employee Self-Service module is required to provide individual employees with access to the requests screens (so the functionality cannot be added to a system that does not include this module).
Please contact us for more information.