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Phasing out of non-timebound compressed hours: Preparing for your 121 discussions

For members in Lloyds Banking Group.

If you have compressed working hours, you’ll soon be invited to a ‘Flexibility Works’ 121 discussion.

It’s important to note that any change to your contractual hours can only be introduced with your agreement. So, if you’re not prepared to change then you should make that clear to your line manager.

But, to support LBG’s new Flexibility Works policy, your line manager will want to persuade you to change and will discuss possible alternative arrangements available through the new offering – Flexibility Works (e.g., moments that matter, new parents offering).

It’s reasonable and lawful for your employer to ask you to have exploratory conversations and to agree changes if you can.

Key points to note are:

  • Working patterns form part of your contract of employment. They cannot be changed without either a collective agreement, individual consent or employer repudiation of the contract (known as ‘fire & rehire’). 
  • Accord has not reached agreement on the withdrawal of your compressed hours and we remain committed to upholding your contractual rights if you cannot make the changes being asked of you.
  • We have secured a commitment from LBG that it will not go down the ‘fire and rehire’ route.
  • We understand that the change being asked of you may disrupt your working life, work/life balance and family budget. We expect your line manager to show empathy and offer as much support as possible if you agree to change (see some of the options negotiated as part of the new Flexibility Works offering).
  • If you cannot change your current arrangements and feel under unreasonable pressure to do so, we’ll provide further guidance, including legal support if necessary.

It’s important that LBG understands the impact on you of its decision to phase out non-timebound compressed hours. 

Here’s our guidance to help you prepare for your one-to-one discussions...

You should go into this discussion with an open mind and a willingness to listen and explore options to get the best outcome for everyone. We expect your line manager to do the same.

But if you’re unable or unwilling to make the changes being asked of you, here’s some points that may help you prepare for your 121:

  • You should make your case calmly and reasonably, emphasising your commitment to your job and your desire to work together to find a solution that works for everyone over time.
  • It’s important that your line manager understands the impact any changes to your current working arrangements will have on you.
  • Explain any caring arrangements you have and the consequences of changing your current working pattern.
  • If your working pattern is necessary to protect your physical and/or mental wellbeing, discuss any medical information that may be supportive, including considering a referral to occupational health and/or a refresh of your reasonable adjustments passport.
  • Describe the impact the changes are likely to have on your productivity. Going from 4 days to 5 doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more done – in fact, it may make you less productive. Give examples of how much more flexible and productive you are because of your current working pattern.
  • Talk about how flexible you are or can be in future to make yourself accessible when stakeholders need you to be – including on your non-working day on occasions if possible. 
  • Talk through the arrangements that are already in place if stakeholders need you on your NWD – e.g., is there another member of the team available on your NWD who has the same role/responsibilities as you so there are no delays in activity that slow down progress and effectiveness.
  • How has your performance been since you’ve had a compressed working pattern? Talk about positive reviews, GPS awards and any promotions that have occurred whilst you’ve been working compressed hours.
  • Discuss whether changing your NWD would assist – for example, if too many people in your team are off on the same day and your LM feels this is impacting customer or stakeholder demand, changing your NWD may be a potential compromise.
  • Describe personal commitments which would be disrupted by a change to your current schedule – explain the impact on you and other family members.
  • Explain any financial implications the proposed change will have on you.
  • If you can offer some flexibility, let your manager know that you’re willing to discuss the matter further and explore alternative options.
  • Make notes during or straight after the meeting so you have an accurate account of what’s been discussed.

Follow up conversations

Both you and your line manager will need time to reflect on the discussion you’ve had. There may need to be further 121s to clarify points and/or talk about potential solutions. In any event, you’ll be invited to a final follow up conversation by the end of September to agree a way forward.

If you agree to change, you’ll have up to 12 months (to 1st September 2024) to transition out of your legacy compressed working.

If you don’t agree to change, you cannot be forced to do so

But if feel you’re being put under unreasonable pressure and/or your line manager says they will force a change, ask them to confirm their position in writing and get in touch with us straight away: [email protected].

We’ll talk you through how you can formally challenge and what support and representation you’ll get from Accord. This could involve lodging a formal grievance and/or putting in a statutory flexible working request.

What next?

If you haven’t agreed to change, it’s likely that your line manager will want to return to the matter in the future with a view to persuading you to change.

If it’s suggested that there may be other consequences such as a limitation on prospects for promotion and adverse implications for any discretionary bonus arrangements if you don’t, you should contact Accord for advice – [email protected].

LBG has confirmed that flexible working will never be a barrier to career progression – stating its commitment to flexible working as a critical enabler of performance and to better attract and retain talented colleagues. They say they want all colleagues to be able to enjoy successful, flexible careers at LBG. We must hold them to this.

If you want to chat through your individual circumstances, you can book a call with an Accord Officer – contact details are here.

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