Council invites staff to choose on work hours

South
Oxfordshire District Council has introduced annualised hours to help its staff
balance their work and home lives.

The
council now contracts each employee to work a specified number of hours per
year, instead of measuring working time over a week.

The
council’s head of HR Trevor Hill said the move to annualised hours would allow
its 250 employees more freedom to change their working arrangements to suit
their home lives.

Flexible
working options available as part of annualised hours  will include term-time working and nine-day fortnights.

The
new arrangements also allow staff to deal with short-term problems more
effectively – such as a dependents’ illness – by enabling them to make up the
time later in the year.

"The
move to annualised hours will enable workers to change their working patterns
with the agreement of their line managers to suit their personal lives, while
ensuring that the service to the public in south Oxfordshire does not
suffer," said Hill.

All
line managers will be trained in organising staff rotas to help their teams
benefit from the new arrangements.

Hill
said annualised hours had been introduced with the agreement of union Unison as
part of the council’s recent job evaluation project, which overhauled grading
and pay structure.

He
is also optimistic that the changes will boost recruitment and retention.
"This will hopefully also show people that we value diversity in the
council and help attract recruits from an ethnic background," said Hill.

Council
leader Jan Morgan said: "The real benefits accrue through having a better
motivated workforce, each one of whom knows their employer is supportive of
them getting the right work-life balance to suit their particular
circumstances."

By
Ben Willmott

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