An important component in the flexitime concept is the accounting period or flex cycle. The accounting period had typically been based on either 4 weeks or a calendar month. However, in recent times it is becoming quite usual where the duration of an accounting period can be agreed to suit individual circumstances.
This enables one employee to have a six week accounting period and another an eight week. This is particularly prevalent where employees job share on a flexitime arrangement. This means that instead of a four week or calendar monthly flex cycle, there may be an eight week cycle, but each colleague working half the hours.
This leads to other important elements of the flex concept which are
- Carry forward allowance
- Flex day
Carry forward allowance
The Carry Forward Allowance is the amount of excess hours built up in one accounting period that can be carried forward to the next period. Once this allowance has been built up, some organisations allow the excess hours to be used only to allow flexibility of arrival and departure times, others for taking a flexi day or half day.
Typically, in a flexible working hours’ arrangement, excess hours, in addition to being used for the flexibility of arrival and departure times, can be to used take time off.
This block is called the flexi day or flexi half day (or flex day) and can usually be taken in the next accounting period. However, some organisations will allow employees to take a flexi day even if excess time has not yet been worked.
Flexible working arrangements
Increasingly the employee, supervisor and organisation wish to achieve what is popularly termed as a work/life balance, and look to new ways of arranging working times to suit each. Thus flexible working hours, as a concept, can be considered part of an even larger mix of working time and working location agreements which are, nowadays, referred to as flexible working arrangements. These wider arrangements encompass even more diverse possibilities such as:
- Home working
- Hot desking
- Job sharing
- Work sharing
- Term time
- Variable working hours
- Annualised hours
- Compressed working week
- Part time work
- Voluntary reduced hours
Other flexible working arrangements can fall under the headings of statutory leave, non-statutory leave, employment/career breaks and also more specialised arrangements such as teleworking.