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Advice & Guidance

Part-time Working

Can I work more than eight hours a day?
Yes. If you work a VSA your shift pattern will probably already include shifts of longer than eight hours. However it becomes more complicated if you are on an eight hour shift pattern. You will have to negotiate your hours of work with the force and this will all depend on whether there is a business need for you to work those particular hours and what your own personal circumstances are.

Can I work on a day when my team are rest day?
Yes. Again this is down to negotiation with the force. Is there a business need for you to work when your team are not working and what are your own individual circumstances? Each case has to be looked at on its own individual basis.

Can my free day be cancelled?
Yes. However this should only be done when necessary.

If my free day is cancelled what compensation do I receive?
If the duty is one that only you can perform e.g. attendance at court and,

  • If you receive more than 15 days notice then the free day should be reallocated within 4 days of it being cancelled
  • If you receive less than 15 days notice then the additional hours should be paid at plain time or alternatively taken as time off equal to the duty time worked
  • If the duty time is one that can be performed by any officer e.g. operational policing and
  • You receive more than 15 days notice the free day should be reallocated within 4 days of it being cancelled.
  • You receive less than 15 days notice; you should be paid at the appropriate rate for rest day working.

Can I choose what I want to work?
No, as stated previously an officer has to negotiate with the force what pattern of hours they work and this will depend upon the business needs of the team or department where the officer works and the personal circumstances of the officer.

Officers can choose the number of hours they wish to work but the pattern is down to negotiation.

Can the force change my hours?
Yes. If the business needs change and no pattern can be agreed between an officer and the force then the force can issue an officer with a shift pattern which has not been agreed. However this rarely happens as usually compromise is reached on both sides. Also if the force were to do this they would have to be very careful that they had taken the individuals circumstances into account and done all that they could to accommodate them and that they were not breaching any employment law.

Can I be made to work overtime?
Yes. As with all officers if there is an exigency officers can be required to work overtime. It is therefore important that when an officer goes part time for caring responsibilities that they ensure they have contingencies in place for these circumstances.

Can I be forced to work nights?
If you are performing a role that requires night working it would not be unreasonable for the force to expect you to work some of the night shifts on the rota. An officer’s personal circumstances and the business needs of the force will be taken into consideration as previously stated.

Am I allowed to work Bank Holidays if I go part time?
Yes. You should be treated no differently to your full time colleagues. A part time officer who works on a bank holiday will receive the appropriate rate of pay for the hours that they perform.

What happens if after a bank holiday I owe hours?
You will be given the opportunity to pay the hours back by either using hours from your ‘time off’ bank or by working the extra hours at a mutually agreed time between you and your line manager. Annual leave cannot be used for this purpose and it is for you, the officer to decide how the time will be paid back. Under no circumstances should duties clerks automatically take time from an officer without their authority.

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Foreword By Tony McNulty, Minister of State.

Please download the PDF to read to complete article.

Flexible working opens up opportunities to people who may in the past, have been prevented from entering certain types of work because of other commitments and activities in their lives. With the introduction of greater emphasis on offering flexible working arrangements, many more individuals have the opportunity to access work and increase their own life chances and social mobility. It also opens up the potential for the wider police family to tap into a previously excluded wealth of expertise.

Valuing and engaging in the flexible working arrangements not only creates additional opportunities for individuals to balance their home and working life more easily, but it also has a positive impact on reducing adverse affects, such as limited employment options and by increasing those openings, increases overall well being. Moreover working flexibility can be highly motivating for individuals and that motivation, usually manifests in increased productivity.

However, there are still pockets of negative thinking about flexible working which need to be tackled. We collectively must strive to remove the stigma and misconceptions which are often associated with flexible and part time working by ensuring that everyone is equally valued for their productivity from the outset, irrespective of the hours worked. The notion that individuals who work flexibly do not give 100% commitment is highly inaccurate. Evidence demonstrates that increased flexibility in the workplace engenders greater commitment from individuals.

I congratulate all the representatives from The Women in Policing Steering Group, ACPO, PHRU Equality and Diversity Team, British Association for Women in Policing (BAWP), the Superintendents Association, the Association of Police Authorities (APA), the Police Federation, and Unison for their tireless commitment in putting the benefits of flexible working together in one document to assist others in driving it forward and making it happen.

Tony McNulty
Minister of State

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