University of Bath

A guidance note on the issue of medical appointments and flexi-time

Managing medical appointments for staff on flexi-time

Guidance note on the issue of medical appointments and flexi-time

The University’s Sickness Absence Policy & Procedure for staff confirms the following requirements on time off for medical appointments:

“Time off for medical appointments - All GP, dentist and other medical appointments should where reasonably practicable be booked outside of the member of staff’s normal working hours. Where this is not practicable, paid time off will be granted. The member of staff must ensure that in such circumstances as little disruption as possible to their work/the working day is caused by such appointments.”

Arrangements for flexi-time are explained in the relevant sections (section 2.5) of the Flexible Working & Leave Policy (see below), which also refers to the above section of the Sickness Absence Policy & Procedure.

Guidance on medical appointments and flexi-time:

i. If it is not possible for a member of staff to arrange for their GP, dentist and other medical appointment to be booked outside of their normal working hours, paid time off will be granted. ii. Unless the member of staff has specifically agreed and worked set normal working hours that are different, their normal working hours will be taken as Monday to Thursday 9.00am to 5.20pm and Friday 9.00am to 5.10pm with one unpaid hour for lunch. iii. If the member of staff has specifically agreed and worked set normal working hours that are different, these will be taken as their normal working hours. iv. It is reasonable for a manager to ask their member of staff for evidence of their attempt to arrange the appointment outside of working hours, in line with Sickness Absence Policy, but this must always be asked in a respectful way as part of a supportive approach to managing sickness and health. v. It is important that as much notice as is practically possible is given when a member of staff informs their manager of a medical appointment. vi. This guidance does not prevent a line manager and member of staff from mutually agreeing a different arrangement if this enables the medical appointment to take place as soon as possible, while minimising impact and disruption on work and works for the member of staff.

Examples: • Under point ii, a medical appointment at 8am would not count as working time, but one at 5pm would count (till 5.20pm) • Under point iii and if the agreed and worked normal working hours were 8.00am to 4.20pm with one unpaid hour for lunch, then a medical appointment at 8am would count as working time, but one at 5pm would not count.

Flexible Working & Leave Policy#

2.5 Flexi-time

Subject to the operational needs of the University to deliver services effectively and where Departments chose to introduce the scheme flexi-time is available to all staff apart from casual workers, staff whose contracts require the working of specific fixed hours (e.g. staff working shifts) and academic staff, since academic staff already have flexibilities within their contract.

A flexi-time scheme allows staff to have an element of flexibility over their working hours. It involves flexible start and finish times around ‘core working hours’ (when attendance is required) and within the limitations of the ‘bandwidth’ (the earliest and latest times between which hours can be worked) allow staff more choice, subject to the operational requirements, over their working hours.

The ‘normal working hours pattern’ for a full time member of staff is: Monday to Thursday 9.00am to 5.20pm and Friday 9.00am to 5.10pm with one unpaid hour for lunch.

Other definitions are as follows: DAY: 7 hours 20 minutes (7 hours 10 minutes on Fridays) HALF DAY: 3 hours 40 minutes WEEK: 36 hours 30 minutes

This does not prevent departments setting different working hours patterns for their full-time staff, in order to best meet the operational requirements of their work.

All full-time staff, unless otherwise agreed, are expected to be present undertaking their duties during the core hours which are defined as follows: 8.00am– 10.00am Flexible

10.00am – 12.00pm Core

12 noon – 2.00pm Flexible

2.00pm - 4.00pm Core

4.00pm – 6.00pm Flexible

These are the standard core hours for full-time staff to which this scheme applies and should be used for normal working arrangements. They can be varied by those departments who wish to operate flexi-time but would need to vary the specified core and flexible hours in order to best meet the operational requirements of their work and the service that they provide. Although there is a standard scheme, implementation is in a flexible manner to suit the operations of individual departments or sections.

The purpose of the scheme is to allow members of staff to effectively manage their work commitments and their personal commitments. Subject to the operational requirements of the service, full-time staff may work flexibly during ‘Flexible’ hours for their department. Part-time staff may, subject to the exigencies of the service, work flexibly if part of their working day falls during ‘Flexible’ hours.

Flexi-time differs from Time off in Lieu (TOIL) which can only be accrued through additional hours worked requested or approved in advance by a line manager or a set requirement to undertake additional hours of work. This would normally be in relation to a specific activity or piece of work.

A. Principles of the scheme:

  1. Participation in any scheme adopted in a Department or Section is optional and staff may elect to maintain their ‘normal’ working hours.

  2. Staff who, by the nature of their contract i.e. part-time hours, or those with working patterns or on shift patterns where they are required to undertake duties at a particular time, may be unable to benefit from the scheme.

  3. It is not a contractual right and can be reviewed at any time, including on an annual basis or when staff leave/join the department or University. It may be amended or withdrawn if there is a detrimental impact on the delivery of the service. If arrangements are changed these will be given in writing.

  4. It does not alter the existing definition of a working week, defined as 36.5 hours per week and it does not affect overtime working.

  5. In line with University policy, all staff working more than five sequential hours a day must take a minimum of a half hour break which is not counted within the flexitime scheme i.e. it is taken in staff’s ‘own time’. For young people under the age of 18 years, a minimum break of half an hour is required after four and half hours in accordance with the working time regulations.

  6. Hours must be recorded and approved in quarter of an hour segments. • ‘credit’ hours accrued as a result of the scheme must be taken as flexi leave • a maximum of one working day of ‘credit’ hours can be carried into the next four week period • hours must be accrued in advance of taking flexi leave as there is no debit process

  7. Any staff who resign from the University are expected to clear any credit or debit flexi-time before leaving.

  8. Its success relies upon the trust between staff and their manager and the individuals using the scheme.

B. Operating the scheme:

  1. Any request to take more than one hour of flexi-time in any one day should be agreed by the line manager in advance. Staff are encouraged to approach their team informally to discuss their request and operational needs prior to consulting their manager. They should be mindful of busy periods within the academic year and their department.

  2. A request may be refused if minimum staffing levels cannot be maintained as this may cause undue pressure on the remainder of the team. Appropriate staffing levels will be determined by the Head of Department/Head of Professional Service.

  3. Annual leave and then TOIL should always take priority over flexi-time.

  4. If staff wish to take a full working day off to use flexi-time accrued they must make a request to their line manager normally not less than seven days in advance.

  5. All staff participating in the flexi scheme must keep a clear and accurate record of hours worked, including lunch break on a Flexi time Sheet.

  6. Flexi records should be reviewed by the line manager on a four weekly basis and a record should be kept for up to 3 months.

  7. Credit’ hours accrued as a result of the scheme must be taken as flexi leave.

  8. A maximum of one working day of ‘credit’ hours can be carried into the next four week period.

  9. Hours must be accrued in advance of taking flexi leave as there is no debit process

Time taken for medical/dental appointments is covered in the Sickness Absence Policy found at: http://www.bath.ac.uk/hr/working/sickness-absence/index.html