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The University of Southampton
Parents and Carers Network

Flexible working

Parents and carers have to balance their commitment to working at the University with often considerable, complex responsibilities elsewhere.  Some form of flexible working may help with this.

Balancing commitments
Balancing commitments

What is flexible working?

Broadly speaking, it's a variation from a 'standard' working pattern such as the standard Monday-Friday 35 hour week.

Here are some examples of varying when you work, individually or as a team:

Examples of varying where you work could include:

Flexible solutions

Team member

As parent or carer, you may be:

In balancing your working week, you may also be thinking about, for example, the impact of nursery fees or domiciliary care costs.

Line manager

Here, you could find that flexible working might:

Across the team

As a team you can:

Requesting flexible working

An employee has the legal right to formally request flexible working in certain circumstances. Rather than seeing flexible working as a 'problem' or 'demotion', the University regards it as a mutual opportunity for line managers or PIs and their staff to re-think to achieve a win-win outcome.

Your line manager should consider all requests on an individual basis and should be able to explain their decision.

Human Resources can provide further information on flexible working including flexi-time, job sharing and working from home. For more advice, contact your HR Manager.

Meanwhile, GOV.UK has produced a good overview of the options and benefits of flexible working, including an online tool for putting together a case. Another source is Working Families. Business Gateway provides a guide to the law and best practice.

When your children are older or other circumstances have again altered, you may seek to increase your hours. Approach this again as a potential win-win - you may be helping a colleague who now wants to scale back.

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