My company is about to introduce flexitime system for staff. Could anyone tell me if we do this could we omit the reception staff from this benefit due to their responsibility to man the desk from 9 till 5? would we be going against equal opportunity law, i.e. what you offer to one you must offer to all. Or are we within our rights to do this due to the nature of thier position.
Please login or register to join the discussion.
I think that it will be a bad move if you exclude certain categories of staff. Why should you be any less flexible for those staff. I think that if you are serious about bringing in flexible working then you must ensure that it is not a token gesture. We use annual hours and find the system works well.
Be careful how you go about this, I don't see much of a problem with keeping the reception staff due to the nature of their role - we do this at our workplace and have done in other places I have worked.
However if your reception staff are to feel equally valued it might make sense if during the implementation of flexi-time you offered these staff some form of additonal thank you for being so understanding i.e. a one off bonus or a couple of days extra holiday. This way they will understand the reasons for the difference in treatment and yet still feel appreciated for what they do.
Finally, make sure you consult them prior to announcing the policy - otherwise be prepared for a major drop in morale.
carol it dpends why tou arwe introducing it
if it is just some sort of staff benefit then it does seem alittle unfair to exclude some people BUT you need to provide a service. many schemes exclude some staff for all sorts of good reasons. Unless you can come up with an alternative relief telphonist to allow them to be included in some way then stick to logic not emotion and irrational fear of indirect discrimination claims which would be easy to fight off.
Can't quite see how you could exclude reception staff then give them a couple of days holiday as a gesture! To me that simply creates further inequality. If you hold the view that you will exclude recepetion staff there are bound to be other staff that are also excluded. What about customer service staff - or other frontline staff? Your policy should be consistent but provide for flexible working according to business requirements. In that way individual managers can implement the scheme according to those requirements and staff then understand that there is a policy that sets out the rules.
I introduced flexible working at our company last year. We have 2 receptionists and there was a concern that flexible working would mean that there would be occasions when there was no cover. We therefore decided to train one of our administrators to become a receptionist, so when one has taken flex time, we have cover.
Our policy also states that the staff have to give 1 weeks notice to take a fuill flex day off, and 48 hours to take flex hours. This gives us plenty of time to arrange cover, or if necessary, decline the request.
So far, this has worked really well with no problems at all.
If you would like a copy of the policy then please let me know.
Equal Opps Law has nothing to do with Flexitime it is essentially about offering the same employment opportunities to all. However, I can see how you may have stirred up a hornet’s nest with the proposed introduction of Flexitime. We have found that Flexitime tends to be a blunt instrument and imposes a set of rules in a fairly arbitrary manner across the whole organisation and one which is based on hours worked rather than objectives achieved. As a result of this approach there will always be a significant number of people for whom it does not work, not just reception staff. True flexible working should be about delivering the needs of the business as well as the needs of the individual. One needs to implement practice that is the result of a consultative process with different departments and consideration of the specific internal and external customer requirements of the roles. In this way you can design a win-win solution for all.
In the case of your receptionists, have you looked at the nature of the role and the busy vs. quieter periods? For example, you may find that certain afternoons are quiet and that you can manage comfortably with reduced cover during these periods in which case it may suit one of your colleagues to finish earlier on these days. Alternatively a busy period may be between 8.00am and 9.00am in which case the full complement of staff will be needed during these times and your colleagues will be happy to provide cover. So look at flexing the role based on the needs of the business i.e. "output" and the objective of the role rather than “input” and a purely time based solution. This principle of “Intelligent Working” can be applied to any department within any organisation.