Hybrid, compressed and LBG’s new flexible offering
Since the announcement on 27 April, we’ve been supporting members impacted by LBG's announcements to introduce a requirement for staff to attend workplaces for 40% of their working time if they have hybrid working and to pilot the removal of compressed working arrangements.
We’ve been helping members through their 121 discussions to make sure their contractual rights are upheld, and their individual circumstances are fully considered when changes are made to where they work and when.
Bringing all LBG colleagues back into offices for at least 40% of their working time has been difficult to navigate given the range of reasons why colleagues have been working from home and the length of time arrangements have been in place. The challenge continues. You can read more about hybrid working and how we’re supporting Accord members here.
The pilot has concluded, and LBG has decided to extend the removal of non-timebound compressed hours across the Group.
Whilst we’ve managed to secure protection for thousands of colleagues who have compressed working, this decision will undoubtedly disrupt working arrangements for many whilst removing the option for colleagues to apply in the future.
Although we can’t stop LBG asking staff to change, we can protect individuals’ arrangements. And that’s what we’ve done.
Let’s be clear, nobody can be forced to change.
And we’ve negotiated some improvements to alternative options to help transition to more timebound compressed hours for those willing and able to change.
There’s more detail about the discussions here and our advice on how to respond to a request to change your working hours here.
The new flexible working offering – Flexibility Works - isn’t as good as it could and should be in our view. Although we made some improvements through the consultation process, we’ll be keeping the pressure on LBG and campaigning for a better deal for all.
Here’s the detail on key Flexibility Works options together with our comments:
- Everyday flexibility – see detail here.
Accord commentary: We think this happens in most teams/workplaces already. Most line managers are great at working with colleagues to support them when they need time off. What’s positive about this, though, is that flexibility extends to time off needed for any ad-hoc event provided the time can be made up at some other point in the working week. And making time up isn’t necessary in all circumstances.
It’s subject to operational requirements which isn’t unreasonable, but our main concern is ensuring that all line managers apply access to everyday flexibility fairly. We’ve asked for better briefing, support and guidance for line managers to help them to deliver the new offering. And, of course, we’re here for any member who feels they’re not being given fair access to everyday flexibility in the way they should.
- Flexible bank holidays – see detail here.
Accord commentary: The opportunity to exchange up to five UK bank holidays for other days in the year will appeal to those who want to work on a bank holiday and take the time off on a day that suits them. But it won’t benefit colleagues who work in customer-facing businesses which are closed on bank holidays or those who already work on bank holidays as a normal working day.
- Flexible summer – see detail here.
Accord commentary: This may take some of the pain away from those who work in offices and have been asked to return for at least 40% of the time. But it’s only for six weeks and it certainly won’t benefit branch and other customer facing colleagues. We’re concerned that, along with other elements of the new Flexibility Works offering, it creates a two-tier workforce, with some colleagues benefiting more than others.
- Job-sharing – see detail here.
Accord commentary: It’s about time LBG made it simpler to progress a career regardless of the hours a colleague works so we welcome the commitment to ensure that, from January 2024, all job adverts will default to being available to job-sharers.
- Compressed working: moments that matter – see detail here.
Accord commentary: We don’t support the removal of non-timebound compressed hours. So, when the decision was taken to press ahead it was important to ensure that compressed hours didn’t disappear from LBG’s flexible offering altogether.
Whilst ‘moments that matter’ doesn’t replace what went before, it does give some flexibility going forward to help colleagues through challenging moments in their working lives
- Compressed working: long-term conditions – see detail here.
Accord commentary: It was vital to protect compressed working for colleagues with disabilities – including physical, mental health and neurodiverse conditions. Colleagues with compressed working as a reasonable adjustment will keep their arrangements and anyone who wishes to apply on this basis will have our full support in making a workplace adjustment request.
- Compressed working: new parents – see detail here.
Accord commentary: New parents will be able to apply for compressed working, but if agreed it will only be available until the child’s second birthday. This simply isn’t good enough. Childcare arrangements and costs don’t disappear when a child reaches the age of two.
Much more could and should be done to develop a compressed working offering that properly supports working parents in those early years (before school age).
Compressed working really can help women to return to the role they left before having their baby without any financial detriment or interruption to their career. We will continue to campaign for a better deal for all working parents.
- Maternity, adoption & shared parental leave – see detail here.
Accord commentary: We pressed hard for an improvement to occupational maternity and adoption pay and are pleased that an increase from 20 to 26 weeks has been introduced. But it still falls short of our conference policy to extend full pay to 40 weeks.
For too long LBG has been behind its comparators in its provision. This increase brings it in-line with other banks rather than setting it apart as a leading employer for working parents. So, although we welcome the change, we think LBG could and should be doing more and we’ll press for improvements at every opportunity.
- Unpaid parental leave – see detail here.
Accord commentary: There is no change – colleagues are entitled to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave (26 weeks for a child with disabilities) up to their child’s 18th birthday. It’s a legal entitlement.
- Compressed working: long-term support – see detail here.
Accord commentary: We’re pleased that we were able to protect support for colleagues who provide care for dependants with long-term medical needs. The offering means colleagues can utilise compressed working for as long as needed for complex caring.
- Late-stage careers – see detail here.
Accord commentary: This will help colleagues thinking either about their transition beyond working in LBG in the next one to ten years or about changing the role/way they work for LBG.
- Premature birth, Foster care & Kinship care – see detail here.
Accord commentary: The additional weeks paid leave given to colleagues if their baby arrives early is a welcome improvement. We're also pleased with the enhancements to the paid leave and support for foster carers and colleagues with kinship caring responsibilities.
Only time will tell if the disruption colleagues are being put through will deliver the benefits that those at the top of the business believe it will.
We acknowledge the challenging competitive, technological and economic environment within which LBG is operating and we’ll continue to work together for the success of the business as the best way to deliver job security, rewards and welfare for its employees.
We’ve done our best to protect existing arrangements where possible and make improvements to new offerings.
And we’re here to advise and support members however the changes affect them.
This isn’t the end. It’s the beginning of a renewed Accord campaign to create enhanced flexibility options for those employees excluded from some of the offerings and to improve areas where we feel LBG falls short.
If you're impacted by the changes and want to chat through your individual circumstances, you can book a call with your local Accord Officer – contact details here.