Archive for AXA Commercial

9 in 10 Commercial Staff Working Excess Hours…

The recent Commercial Flexitime Survey put into black and white, the stark issue of the amount of extra hours Commercial staff are having to undertake to support customers and the business, much of it without any form of compensation from AXA Insurance.

Over 250 employees completed the survey and almost nine in ten said they were working in excess of their contracted hours with over one-third saying they worked in excess of five hours a week extra. This is of concern as the main reason Commercial Operations senior management gave us in March for suspending flexitime was to avoid staff working excess hours for mental health reasons.

The vast majority of respondents said they were doing this to keep on top of their normal workload and worryingly one-third were doing this extra work without their manager even being aware.

Of those staff doing excess hours and where their manager was aware, despite the assurances of Jon Walker, head of Commercial, back in March that staff would not be expected to work excess hours for nothing, six in ten employees have been told by their local management that they cannot claim the extra hours they have worked supporting the business. 

Half of those staff had been told by their manager that they would not be compensated for the extra time they have worked as “flexitime been suspended/not available/withdrawn”, contradicting the promises made by senior management. The other half were not given a reason.

The results did not come as a surprise to Unite in AXA, we pointed out in March after flexitime was unilaterally suspended by management that staff regularly work excess hours to support customer need and in July flagged the issue that despite the promise Jon Walker made, local managers in many instances were not crediting staff with work done beyond contracted hours whether that be by overtime, flexitime hours banking or time off in lieu.

We have presented the survey to Jon Walker, Commercial HR and other senior HR managers and look forward to their response to our findings and what action they propose to take following receipt of the data that they requested we find to back up our previously raised concerns.

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Commercial Flexitime Survey

At the end of April Commercial Lines suspended flexitime without consultation with Unite. In subsequent conversations Commercial management stated they were doing this in the interests of employee well being so people did not work excessive hours at home. We disagreed with this citing a range of factors from business needs, to ways of managing the perceived problem, to the fact other areas in AXA Insurance still were operating flexitime eg. Claims,  but the decision had already been made.

Jon Walker, head of Commercial, assured us that no member of staff would be expected to work more than their contracted hours, and if they needed to for specific customer needs then they would no be expected to work for free and would be given the time back.

Regardless of that we have received numerous calls from members that this is not happening, or only after making a lot of fuss with their manager often requiring the intervention of their local union rep.

In July, with some staff now working back in the office, we suggested a phased return of flexitime but Commercial management have ignored our suggestion, eventually after two months of chasing, only offering to set up a working party to see how flexitime will operate in the future smart working environment (the hybrid, part home/part office one) even though that is at its formative discussion stage and no where near being rolled out.

Despite the anecdotal evidence we provided from members, Commercial management do not believe there is a problem so we have decided to survey as many staff as we can in Commercial operations across the country to evidence how widespread the issue is.

Consequently if you work in Commercial Lines (not in Claims or Finance doing Commercial orientated work) we would be grateful if you could complete this survey, and encourage your colleagues also, so we can pursue the matter of flexitime with senior management.

Please click here to access the survey.

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Commercial flexitime suspension

Last week we learnt that Commercial had suspended the operation of flexitime and accrual of hours whilst employees worked from home with immediate effect. Unite in AXA were not consulted on this beforehand.

Yesterday we held a meeting with Jon Walker, Commercial Director, about his decision and raised our concerns over the lack of prior consultation, the impact on staff and their ability to react to urgent customer needs, and the decision to not allow individuals to take flexidays from the time they have already accrued.

Jon Walker advised the reason for the decision was primarilly driven by concerns for the mental well-being of Commercial staff working from home during the crisis, as well as problems that could arise out a build up of flexitime to be taken once employees return to the office. He advised there was no intention to make this suspension permanent.

We stressed that we would not accept employees being expected to work beyond their contracted hours to meet customer needs without any form of compensation, whether than be in the form of time accrual, time off in lieu or overtime payment.

It was agreed that employees should not be expected to work beyond their contracted hours for free and that if necessary specific instances were extra work is required by staff for customer service reasons then they would be allowed to record this as accrued time. It was also agreed that staff who had already accrued enough hours to take time off could do so.

We are assured this is a temporary measure and we will ensure that the decision is regularly reviewed to ensure it meets the needs of our members as well as that of the business as the current situation evolves.

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