Members in AXA Commercial will have seen that flexitime (re-branded banked hours) will be reintroduced in their business area from the 1st July. It has been almost 15 months since the operation suspended flexitime and employees unable to bank excess hours. We are glad to see that the situation has now changed and those members working unpaid excess hours will now be able to bank them or take time off in lieu.
The consultation over this has been protracted and intense with many differing viewpoints being put forward. It is no secret that some people would like to see flexitime removed, whereas we know it is an extremely valuable benefit to our members.
Since Commercial published its principles of how it was looking to reintroduce flexible working we have been inundated with feedback from members. The main areas of concern were the pre-booking of flexitime and what would happen to excess hours worked that had not been pre-booked. A smaller amount of feedback revolved around the reduction in potential flexidays to 6.
Pre-booking flexitime: somewhat ironically this is not a new rule and was introduced in 2013 when the first flexitime charters were rolled out. Despite being in the site charters it appears very few managers applied the rule. Our view was that if it was not broke, don’t fix it. Management’s view is that its application going forward with be ‘light touch’ which is a bit nebulous but if your local manager has previously trusted you to work excess hours we expect they will continual to trust you.
Work outside bankable hours: one legitimate concern was what would happen (for example) if you were stuck on the phone with a customer past your standard hours but had not pre-booked flexible working or the work took less than the 30 minute bankable block. There never was any intention from the company that this work would be unpaid, but this was not made clear. Should you end up stuck on the phone, or are finishing an urgent piece of work after your contracted hours you will be given that time back as “time off in lieu”. Should that extra work take more than 30 minutes your manager can alternatively offer you that back as bankable hours.
Number of flexidays: before April 2020 some staff in Commercial were able to take up to 13 flexidays a year, others were not allowed to take any. Finding a way of squaring that circle has not been easy and trying to find one rule that works in a trading centre and also works in a small branch has been problematical. Given that no more than 50% of staff were taking six days a year we pushed for that as the number to be accommodated (it is more than what was initially pitched). This figure will be reviewed next year when we will have a year of recorded centralised data to review.
Whilst we appreciate not everyone will be happy with the final outcome, especially the small percentage who would build up their hours to take 13 flexidays before the suspension of flexitime, we think that the final outcome is reasonable with some members who did not get flexitime now getting it and it is a more reasonable proposition than the current suspension of flexitime that in our opinion has gone on too long.