To help Service Personnel (SP) strike a healthy Work/Life balance, a spectrum of Flexible Working (FW) options is open to them, subject to eligibility criteria and where the Service Need allows. These options range from delivering full output in a different way using Alternative Working Arrangements (AWA), through managed reduction in commitment under Flexible Service (FS), to prolonged periods of unpaid absence in the form of Career Intermissions (CIs).
The military lexicon for FW options and their characteristics has been reviewed and updated in JSP 750 (Centrally Determined Terms of Service) to better align them with ‘industry standard’ FW terminology.
JPA is to be used to apply for AWA and FS. For CIs, applications are to be submitted manually using the form at Annex C to Chapter 5 of JSP 760 (tS Regulations for Leave/Absence)
The term ‘Flexible Working’ has been used to describe 3 ways by which SP can work flexibly (i.e. Compressed Hours, Variable Start and Finish Times and Working from Home) all of which being full pay, full time, full output ways of working.
However, the term is used in other Public Sector and Private Sector organisations to encompass all types of non-standard working, including part-time working and career breaks (intermissions) where pay is reduced.
Now that FS has been introduced and personnel can apply to work part-time, the military lexicon has been revised for FW so that its definition better aligns with ‘industry standards’. This has resulted in FW becoming an all-embracing term for a variety of ways by which personnel may work flexibly.
Summary of Flexible Working Options
Whilst this item summarises the various forms of FW, Service Personnel (SP) are strongly encouraged to read the detailed policy set out in JSP 750 (Centrally Determined Terms of Service) for AWA and FS and JSP 760 (tS Regulations for Leave and other types of Absence) for CIs. Further guidance can also be obtained from Unit HR staff.
Alternative Working Arrangements
An AWA is an enduring arrangement that spans 31 days or more which allows individuals a degree of freedom when attempting to balance their work and personal life. An ad hoc agreement between individuals and their LM to on occasions vary the pattern/place of work (e.g. to help cater for one-off events like a parents’ evening, a car service or tradesperson calling to carry out home repairs etc) does not constitute an AWA. Any individual on the trained strength of either the Regular or Reserve (limited to FTRS and ADC) Forces may apply to their CO/LM to have an AWA. Such arrangements, when approved, do not result in a dial down of work, output or pay but allow an individual to work in a different way to that normally undertaken by others in their workplace. The 3 forms of AWA, are briefly described below:
Variable Start and Finish Times (VSFT). This option allows SP to start and finish their working day at different times from those considered to be the ‘norm’ within their working environment, although the total time in work will not be less than those considered to be normal for the role. The VSFT option is particularly useful for those wishing to travel to/from work outside of the ‘rush hour’ or for parents dropping off/picking up their children at school.
Remote Working (RW). RW allows SP to carry out their work from home or from another MOD location closer to home, where to do so would allow greater flexibility in meeting their domestic needs - providing the nature of the work allows. Also, if agreed, RW allows SP to work from an alternate location such as a hotel or on the train, albeit appropriate security arrangements will need to be put in place to ensure that protectively marked material is not compromised. The LM must have a conversation with the applicant about the proposed working environment and its suitability for work, taking into account any possible health and safety implications. It is then the responsibility of the person undertaking RW to maintain a safe working environment. Personnel with children should ensure that they have suitable childcare arrangements in place to allow them to work undisturbed.
Compressed Working (CW). CW allows individuals to undertake the normal work output for their role but over a different timeframe to allow flexibility for travel or other domestic demands during the week. For example, this would allow an individual working away from home on a conventional Monday to Friday pattern to start late on a Monday and finish early on a Friday to facilitate travel by working extended hours on the other days. Equivalent arrangements can be made for those on shift or other working patterns. The MOD retains a responsibility to ensure that individuals are not working a longer day than can be done safely and are not at risk if working a longer day means working alone. This may mean that there are limits as to how far any individual can vary or compress their working. In extreme cases, individuals can extend their working day to such an extent that they may complete their work in e.g. 4 days rather than 5 and create a day where they do not need to go to their usual place of work. However, this day away from work has no protection and as SP are paid 24/7, an individual can be required to return to work at no notice if operational requirements dictate. It is not possible to be on CW when on leave and therefore SP will have to take annual leave for each working day in line with the working pattern of their unit.
Flexible Service. FS may be authorised to allow Regular SP to restrict their normal Service obligations in order to work part-time (PTW), restrict their separation (RS) or have a combination of both (PTW/RS) for specific periods during their career.
Part-Time. A PTW FS arrangement is a percentage reduction of full-time service (both working and non-working days) and provides SP with a set number of whole days on which they cannot be called upon for duty. Part-time arrangements may be managed as a regular or irregular pattern of non-duty days as part of an agreed working pattern. Personnel can apply for a reduction of either 20% or 40%.
Restricted Separation. RS limits the amount of time that a SP can be sent away on duty from the permanent duty station where they usually work or have their residence at work address (RWA). This limit is set at 35 days per year but will be reduced proportionately if combined with PTW and/or for periods of less than a year.
Career Intermissions. A CI enables Regular SP to take a specified period of unpaid time out of their Service careers for reasons such as personal or professional growth outside of the Service, which they would otherwise be unable to do using leave entitlements. A CI may be for the following periods: 3 to 6 months; 6 to 12 months or 1 to 3 years. Terms and Conditions of Service are affected by taking a CI (e.g. there is no entitlement to Service Pay) and personnel contemplating taking a CI are strongly encouraged to read the associated policy contained in JSP 760 Chap 5.