Section 34: Flexible working arrangements

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34.1 NHS employers, in partnership with staff organisations, will develop positive flexible working arrangements which allow people to balance work responsibilities with other aspects of their lives. 


34.2 In considering the provisions of this section employers should also have regard to the provisions in Section 2 (England), Section 2 (Wales) or Section 2 (Scotland and Northern Ireland), Maintaining round the clock services and Annex 29: Principles for harmonised on-call arrangements.


34.3 Employers are required to consider flexible working options for all staff in the workplace, for example:

  • disabled staff and staff with health conditions
  • staff returning to work following maternity/paternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave
  • staff in need of temporary changes to their employment arrangements, for example, following a domestic crisis, bereavement or sickness absence.

34.4 New working arrangements should only be introduced by mutual agreement, whether sought by the employee or the employer. 


34.5 Flexible working should be part of an integrated approach to the organisation of work and the healthy work/life balance of staff.


34.6 Policies for flexible working should be made clear to all employees.


34.7 Employers should develop policies on flexible working which, as far as is practicable, should include:


  • part-time working, where a person works to a pattern and number of hours by mutual agreement
  • job sharing, where two or more people share the responsibilities of one or more full-time job(s), dividing the hours, duties and pay between them
  • flexi-time, where employees can choose their own start and finish time around fixed core hours
  • annual hours contracts, where people work a specific number of hours each year, with the hours being unevenly distributed throughout the year
  • flexible rostering, using periods of work of differing lengths within an agreed overall period
  • term-time working, where people work during the school term but not during school holidays
  • school-time contracts
  • tele-working, where people work from home for all or part of their hours with a computer or telecommunication link to their organisation
  • voluntary reduced working time, where people work reduced hours by agreement at a reduced salary
  • fixed work patterns where, by agreement, days off can be irregular to enable, for example, separated parents to have access to their children and flexible rostering
  • flexible retirement.

34.8 Flexible working arrangements should be available to all employees. All jobs should be considered for flexible working; if this is not possible the employer must provide written, objectively justifiable reasons for this and give a clear, demonstrable operational reason why this is not practicable. 


34.9 There should be a clear procedure for application for flexible working, agreed by employers and local staff representatives. Employers should make reference to the ACAS Code of Practice and guidance in this respect which can be found at


34.10 All people with flexible working arrangements should have access to standard terms and conditions of employment, on an equal or pro-rata basis, unless different treatment can be justified for operational reasons.


Monitoring and review


34.11 Employers will need to ensure that their flexible working policies and procedures operate fairly and transparently and do not advantage any group of staff over another. 


34.12 Applications and outcomes and records should cover all information necessary to ensure that there is equitable access to flexible working.


34.13 Application and outcomes records should be monitored and analysed in partnership with local staff side representatives, and data used to review and revise policies and procedures to ensure their continuing effectiveness and equity of access.

Amendment number 39: NHS TCS Advisory Notice 01/2018

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