Getting the balance right

How the CSP can help in your flexible working requests

Getting the balance right

Support, guidance and updates from the CSP’s Employment Relations and Union Services team.

The CSP believes all physiotherapy staff should have the opportunity to work flexibly. 

We know that flexible working aids recruitment and retention, improves productivity, reduces stress, and makes staff feel valued and motivated as they achieve the work life balance they need.

That’s why we’ve produced a range of resources for members, managers and for workplace reps - who have also received training - so they can help you in your flexible working requests. 

Our Building the Better Balance campaign has had a positive impact.

We are currently collating case studies from across the UK and the picture emerging is that CSP members are securing changes to working patterns to suit a whole variety of needs: 

  • following maternity leave
  • nearing retirement
  • to care for children, elderly and sick relatives
  • to deal with health issues
  • to allow for post graduate study, research and clinical placements and career breaks. 

Examples of changes include:

  • moves from full to part-time hours
  • reduced hours
  • compressed hours
  • job shares
  • working different hours on alternative weeks
  • agreements not to make last minute requests to work on-call/extended hours. 

The other upshot of the campaign has been more positive attitudes to flexible working by managers through closer working local reps, and in some cases this has been underpinned by the development, in partnership with unions, of improved local policies. In many workplaces managers agree that flexible working is good for staff retention and can be designed so that they don’t negatively affect services.

Not all CSP members seeking flexible working have secured it. In one instance a request for flexible working was refused because of a rigid policy that stated staff can only return to work full time or exactly half time. In some workplaces managers have said that it isn’t possible to agree to any flexible working requests at all. In each case where reps have been made aware the CSP has and continues to seek solutions.

Sadly, the reality for many workers in a variety of sectors is that securing a better work life balance is a pipe dream. According to a TUC poll conducted in July and published in early September, one in three (30 per cent) requests for flexible working are being turned down with flexi-time unavailable to over half (58 per cent) of the UK workforce. Three in 10 workers (28 per cent) say their desire for more flexible hours is one of the main reasons they might look for a new job, a reminder of the short-sightedness of employers who fail to respond to the needs of their workforce. 

That’s why the TUC, to which the CSP is affiliated, has joined the Flex for All alliance – along with Pregnant then Screwed, Fawcett Society, Mother Pukka, the Young Women’s Trust and the Fatherhood Institute. The Flex for All campaign has launched a petition to change the law so that flexible working is open to all workers from day one in the job, with employers required to advertise all jobs on that basis. 

In the NHS, where most CSP members work, only just over a half of staff say they are satisfied with flexible working opportunities*. The good news is that NHS leaders have pledged to do better, as part of the Interim NHS People Plan launched in June. It states: ‘We will significantly increase flexible working through a combination of technology and a change in people practices, to give people greater choice over their working patterns, help them achieve a better work-life balance, and help the NHS remain an attractive career choice. We will need to advertise more roles as flexible (for example, less than full time, term time only, job shares) and, where possible, enable home working to bring our employment offer into line with other sectors.’ 

More information 

Number of subscribers: 3

Log in to comment and read comments that have been added