Flexible working policy

Updated on 28 March 2024

Outlines the range of flexible working practices and a variety of flexible working arrangements which may be available to staff at the University.

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Changes in work patterns and culture mean that full-time, week long, year round employment on campus is not necessarily the only or best type of employment for both employee and employer. The University of Dundee has a wide range of flexible options available to support a diverse workforce and is receptive to considering different ways of working which may be mutually beneficial. 

Flexible working can help attract and retain staff. Working flexibly can also help support peaks in workload and allow staff to fit working hours around other commitments.  

Successful flexible working arrangements are characterised by: 

  • a relationship with mutual trust between manager and employee 
  • clearly defined goals and expectations on both sides 
  • regular and well-structured communication 
  • regular face to face meetings, both with managers and other team members 
  • close integration into University culture, including participation in appraisal/OSaR and training & development. 

The University will risk assess any proposed flexible working arrangement and be satisfied that the appropriate measures can be put in place in terms of health & safety, insurance and data security. 

Types of Flexible Working Arrangements 

A range of flexible working practices and a variety of flexible working arrangements exist within the University. 

The types of flexible working detailed below are given as examples of flexible working that can be requested by individuals within Disciplines/Schools/Directorates if mutually beneficial. 

Flexible and hybrid working 

Flexible and hybrid working are all arrangements which create flexibility in a workplace rather than work time. 

The nature of the post may allow you to work at home or from a remote location, or alternatively to split your time between working from home and attending the workplace. Such arrangements may be initiated, e.g. a part of a long-term strategic plan, in recognition of the travel demands of the job or as an ad hoc arrangement to meet unexpected situations or individual circumstances. 

Flexible working involves the employee choosing where they work, sometimes going into a workplace and sometimes working remotely subject to their circumstances, the needs of the University and agreement by line managers. 

Flexible working hours 

Flexible working hours allow you to choose, within set limits, the times you start and finish work. This practice already exists within the University as an informal arrangement. 

Within the University there exist both staff who work a specified number of hours per week and those who work the time that is reasonably required to fulfil the duties of the post. For the former type of job, the Department should define the required start and finish times of the job if there is any variation to the standard hours stated on the contract. 

Flexible working hours would allow Departments to agree with individuals different acceptable start and finish times when they expect the employee to be at their post. This could apply to both full and part-time staff. 

Part-time working 

Part-time working is already widely used in the University. This is where you are contracted to work a proportion of normal full-time working and are paid pro-rata, receiving contractual benefits over a 52 week period. 

Job sharing 

Job sharing is a particular type of part-time working that can be found at the University This is where 2 or more individuals, with separate contracts of employment, share the responsibilities of a full-time job agreeing, with reference to the needs of the employer, how best to cover the duties involved. A basic arrangement, e.g. of each carrying out 50% of the work may be covered by one week on, one week off; mornings only working and afternoons only working; alternate days, or half the week each. The proportion of the job share may differ from 50/50. Job sharers may need to have built into their job time for handover and liaison. 

Job sharing is a way of introducing part-time hours into jobs which have traditionally only been available on a full-time basis, particularly at senior and managerial levels. 

Semester time working 

This is already used in the University and is generally based on University semesters, not school terms, but it could be used for either. The work may be full or part-time and salaries may be paid pro-rata during the whole year or the period between semesters may be treated as unpaid leave. 

Voluntary reduced working time 

Income is traded for time off.  You can request to reduce your full-time working hours by an agreed percentage for a specified period, with the possibility then of either returning to full-time work or extending the reduced work time arrangement. The time off may be taken in a variety of ways, e.g. reducing the working day or week or by taking a block of time off in the year. 

Annual hours 

This is an arrangement in which you are contracted for a total number of working hours over a 12 month period. When those hours are actually worked will be negotiated according to the demands over a time period,  which may be as little as a month or as much as a year. Peaks and troughs in work can be met by adjusting hours worked to meet demand. This enables the University to match staffing more closely to its needs. Salary may be calculated on regular time periods, so providing a steady income regardless of the number of hours worked in the pay period. 

Compressed hours 

This is an arrangement in which your total number of working hours are worked over a reduced number of working days in the week/fortnight.  The facility to accommodate compressed hours will depend on the role, team and service demands.  It is important that the Health and Safety implications of extending working hours are considered carefully including the requirement to take breaks during the working ‘day’.   

Home/remote working/flexi-place  

Home/remote working or flexi-place are all arrangements which create flexibility in a workplace rather than work time. 

The nature of the post may allow you to work at home for part of your working week, or an alternative base on/off campus.  

Statutory Right to Request Flexible Working 

The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 allow all staff to request flexible working, from day one of employment. You can request a flexible working arrangement as a permanent change to your contractual terms, or for a specific period. Requests granted for a specific period will be reviewed at the end of this period, and you may request an extension at this point. You may also request this to be considered as a permanent change to contractual terms. 

You have the right to request two flexible working applications in a 12-month period. 

Formal Request to work flexibly - statutory procedure 

Please complete the flexible working application to request a change in your working pattern.  

Applications to work flexibly are welcome from all staffing groups, and no application will be discriminated against on the grounds of sex, marriage or civil partnership, disability, race, nationality or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender-re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, religious belief or age.  

You must complete Section 1 of the application form, giving details of the hours of work you would like on which days etc. 

The completed form should then be sent to the Discipline Lead/Dean of School/Director or School Manager. 

Your request will be considered as soon as practical, but within 2 months of your application. 

The Discipline Lead/Dean of School/Director/School Manager must fully consider your request and will assess your role, duties, responsibilities, and any regular commitments. Consideration will also be given to the flexibility of the role and the possibilities for redistribution of workload.  

Your manager will then meet with you to confirm the changes and any arrangements. The completed flexible working application form should be sent to the People Support team. If the application has resulted in a change to current contracted working hours, written confirmation of the change and its effective date should be sent to the People Support team in order that the appropriate amendments be made. 

Where it is felt that the role does not lend itself to the proposals, your manager will consider any alternative flexible working arrangements which could be accommodated. Your manager will then meet with you to discuss any alternative arrangements which could be considered. You have the right to be accompanied at this meeting. 

A refusal may legitimately be based on one or more of the following reasons: 

  • The burden of additional costs 
  • Inability to reorganise work among staff 
  • Inability to recruit additional staff 
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer/student demand 
  • Detrimental impact on quality 
  • Detrimental impact on performance 
  • Insufficiency of work during periods proposed for work 
  • Any planned structural change 

You have the right to request one further flexible working applications within a 12-month period of your initial application. 

The ACAS guidelines provide further information on the reasons that a refusal may be given under the current legislation.  

If your application for flexible working is refused you do have a right of appeal. Please refer to the Appeal Procedure. 

Work / life balance policies 

There are a range of policies designed to support staff to balance work and home life and deal with personal responsibilities, as well as some of life's major events. 

Full copies of all these policies, procedures and application forms are available from the People Support team. 


People Support team

From People
Corporate information category Work/life balance