Home Working Policy
Responsible Directorate: Responsible Director:
Human Resources and Organisational Development Sue Ellis
28 October 2009
NHS Kirklees Board
NICE GUIDANCE Once NICE guidance is published, health professionals are expected to take it fully into account when exercising their clinical judgment. However, NICE guidance does not override the individual responsibility of health professionals to make appropriate decisions according to the circumstances of the individual patient in consultation with the patient and/or their guardian or carer.
Version Control Current versions of all policies can be found on NHS Kirklees internet and intranet. If printing a document, please check internet/intranet for most up-todate version. Document Title: Document number: Author: Contributors: Version: Date of Production: Review date: Postholder responsible for revision: Primary Circulation List: Web address: Restrictions:
Home Working Policy Laura Campbell See Appendix B 1.0 7 January 2010 One year following initial approval (28 October 2010) and every three years thereafter Laura Campbell, Assistant Director of Workforce, Commissioning and Policy Intranet; DDAD None
Section 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.
Introduction Associated Policies & Procedures Aims & Objectives Scope of the Policy Accountabilities & Responsibilities Definitions Home Working Requirements & Considerations The Home Environment Security Communications Health & Safety Equipment & IT Insurance Accidents, Incidents & Dangerous Occurrences Sickness Absence Base Costs Application Procedure Equality Impact Assessment List of Appendices
Page 4 4 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10
Appendices A B 1 2 3 4
Definitions Key Stakeholders consulted/involved in the development of the policy/procedure Guidance for Managers Application for Home Working Health, Safety and Risk Assessment Tool Equality Impact Assessment Tool
11 12 13 14 15 20
The Home Working policy is linked to the Flexible Working policy. Both policies are designed to recognise the importance of a healthy work / life balance. This policy describes the definitions of home working at NHS Kirklees, the conditions required for home working to be successful; and the process through which home working is agreed.
Associated policies & procedures
This policy should be read in accordance with the following Trust policies, procedures and guidance: • •
Flexible Working Policy Lone Worker Policy
Aims and objectives
NHS Kirklees recognises that home working can bring personal, organisational and environmental benefits. These may include: • • • • • • • •
Improved efficiency and effectiveness Time and cost savings on commuting and business mileage Environmental benefits associated with reduced transport Reduced pressure on office space and associated costs Greater flexibility in the use of office space Greater flexibility in the management of workload Increased job satisfaction and personal responsibility Opportunities to carry out detailed or complex pieces of work in a solitary environment
Scope of the policy
This policy must be followed by all NHS Kirklees employees who are applying for home working, considering or assessing an application for home working, taking part in home working or managing a home worker. It must be followed by all staff who work for NHS Kirklees, including those on temporary or honorary contracts, bank staff and students. Breaches of this policy may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the individual, or to the withdrawal of authorisation to work at home.
Independent Contractors are responsible for the development and management of their own procedural documents and for ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and best practice guidelines. Independent Contractors are encouraged to seek advice and support as required. 5.
Accountabilities and Responsibilities
Employees applying for home working and working at home, and managers managing employees who work at home are responsible for compliance with all elements of this policy.
Home working occurs when an employee uses their own home as a location from which to carry out work for NHS Kirklees, as an alternative to working at a designated PCT location. NHS Kirklees supports two categories of home working: Regular Home Working and Occasional Home Working. Regular Home Working A regular home worker will normally spend up to 40% of their contracted weekly hours home working. This is equivalent to 2 days per week based on a standard, full time contract of employment. The regular home worker and their line manager may agree a standard pattern of home working. In such circumstances the regular home worker will not be required to agree each individual episode of home working in advance with their line manager. Where a standard pattern of home working is not agreed, each individual episode of home working must be agreed in advance between the employee and their line manager. Regular home workers will not usually be allocated a fixed work station at their contractual base. If a regular home worker regularly spends none of their contracted weekly hours home working, consideration should be given either to an increase in the amount of time spent home working, or an application to become an occasional home worker. Occasional Home Working An occasional home worker will work at home on an ad hoc basis. This will usually be to carry out specific pieces of work. The occasional home worker must agree each episode of home working in advance with their line manager.
Occasional home workers may be allocated a fixed work station at their contractual base, although this will not always be the case. If an occasional worker regularly spends 20% or more of their contracted weekly hours home working, consideration should be given either to a reduction in the amount of time spent home working, or an application to become a regular home worker. Where employees work in roles that require them to spend a substantial amount of time visiting other institutions, it is more difficult to categorise home working arrangements. In such cases it may be necessary to vary some details on a case by case basis in order to retain the spirit of the policy whilst ensuring that the employee maintains a satisfactory level of presence at their contractual base.
Home Working Requirements & Considerations
There is no statutory right to home working; and home working does not form part of the employment contract between the PCT and any of its employees. Home working is a voluntary arrangement that must be mutually agreed between the employee and their line manager; and subsequently approved by the appropriate Director. Home working arrangements may be agreed during the recruitment process for a post. It is accepted that not all roles and not all employees may be suitable for home working. Consequently, each situation needs to be considered on its merits. Employees considered for home working will normally be able to demonstrate satisfactory attendance, performance and conduct records. Notice to cease home working can be issued in writing by the employee or the line manager at any point. 12 weeks’ written notice is required to cease a home working arrangement of more than 12 weeks’ standing, except where a shorter period is mutually agreed.
The Home Environment
An employee normally needs an environment at home which offers the following: • • •
Suitable “office” space, ideally a separate room but at least a dedicated space Adequate equipment including computer Freedom from interruptions and distractions
Security and confidentiality Ability to meet Health and Safety requirements
Under normal circumstances it will not be acceptable for employees to undertake caring responsibilities for dependants whilst home working. Employees may be required to demonstrate that they do not have dependant care responsibilities within their contracted working hours. Meetings must not be held in the employee’s home under any circumstances. Meetings must be held in a PCT building or other appropriate venue. There may be restrictive covenants, lease terms or similar legal restrictions preventing the use of an employee’s home for business use. It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that all appropriate insurances are in place.
Before a home working arrangement can commence, the employee is required to certify that s/he is able to maintain security and confidentiality of documents within the home and comply with IT security and data protection requirements. A condition for home working is that the employee carries out an appropriate risk assessment of their proposed home working environment (Appendix 3) before a formal home working arrangement is authorised. Employees are required not to hold confidential documents (related to their work) at their home except on days when they are working at home and require access to such documents. No person other than the home working employee is permitted to use the PCT’s equipment or server. The employee is responsible for ensuring that no other person can access PCT information and services, including access to the Internet.
A condition of home working is that employees working from home must be contactable and available for work during the same core working hours that they observe when working at PCT premises. The PCT reserves the right to ask the employee to attend PCT premises at short notice. The employee should, on each occasion, inform appropriate colleagues that s/he will be working from home and how and when s/he might be contacted.
Health and Safety:
The PCT has a general duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of its employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This general duty is qualified by the principle of “so far as is reasonably practicable”. In the case of home working the employee is required to take personal responsibility for the health and safety aspect of home working. Before a home working arrangement can commence, the employee will be required to conduct a risk assessment of the home environment (Appendix 3), and certify that the working environment will be safe and adequate for the purpose and that s/he will take all steps necessary for safe working and a safe environment. 12.
Equipment and IT
NHS Kirklees does not undertake to supply any equipment for the express purpose of home working. However, it may at its discretion supply equipment such as a lap top computer and peripherals to enable/enhance home working either on a short or long-term basis. Employees are reminded that it is not permissible to connect privately owned computers to the Kirklees PCT computer network nor to use PCT-owned computers for private use or use by others. It is permissible for employees to use their home PC to carry out home working, provided that any documents produced or worked on are stored only on a PCT-encrypted memory stick. IT equipment installation, maintenance and repair for home working The Health Informatics Service will be able to provide guidance via the IT Service Desk to support employee (self) home installation and connectivity to the employee broadband The Health Informatics Service (THIS) and the PCT have no responsibility to ensure an employee’s home broadband is appropriate or functional, similarly, THIS staff will not attend an employees home to install or configure, maintain or repair any IT equipment provided by the PCT. It will be the responsibility of the employee to bring such IT equipment requiring attention into NHS premises to be resolved. 13.
Employees working from home must: •
Immediately advise the line manager of any loss or damage to PCT property. All losses involving theft or malicious damage should also be reported to the police and the police reference taken.
Advise the line manager of any injuries to themselves or to a third party, which occur whilst carrying out their official duties at home.
Ensure that any vehicle used is insured in respect of business use. Anyone in doubt about the adequacy of their insurance should contact their insurance adviser. In some cases an additional premium may be charged. The law makes the driver responsible for ensuring that proper insurance is in force. The PCT does not hold any insurance for the benefit of employees driving privately owned cars.
Check whether or not their own personal buildings or contents insurances are affected by using part of their home for a business purpose. If in any doubt the employee should contact their insurance adviser. Staff working from home should also ensure that any lease, mortgage arrangements or tenancy agreements are not affected. Enquiries concerning the PCT’s insurance policies should be directed to the Corporate Governance Manager.
Accidents, Incidents and Dangerous Occurrences
Employees working at home must inform their manager in the event of accidents, incidents or dangerous occurrences related to their work, or occurring during their agreed home working hours. 15.
An employee working at home must inform her/his manager if s/he is sick or unable to work as per the sickness absence reporting procedure and will be under obligation to adhere to the NHS Kirklees procedure for the management of sickness absence. 16.
The employee’s contractual base will remain as the appropriate NHS Kirklees premises. 17.
NHS Kirklees will not normally meet any costs associated with regular or occasional home working, including broadband and telephone line rental costs. 18.
Prior to making an application to become a regular or occasional home worker, it is expected that the employee will discuss their home working proposal with her/his manager. A list of guidelines for managers to help when considering a request for home working is at Appendix 1.
If the manager is in favour of the proposal, the request will be put in writing using the form at Appendix 2 and submitted together with the completed risk assessment described at Appendix 3. The form and risk assessment will be submitted to the appropriate Director for a decision on the request for to become a home worker. The decision should be delivered within a reasonable amount of time. If authorised, the completed form and risk assessment must be sent to the HR Department to be stored on the employee’s electronic personal file. If the request is declined, reasons for the refusal should be stated to the employee in writing. If the request is approved, the employee will be able to commence home working from an agreed date. The home working arrangement can be ended by either party with 12 weeks’ written notice. Copies of formal documentation relating to home working requests should be retained on the employee’s personal file. Advice can be sought from the HR Department at any stage in the application process. 19.
Equality Impact Assessment
All public bodies have a statutory duty under the Race Relation (Amendment) Act 2000 to “set out arrangements to assess and consult on how their policies and functions impact on race equality.” This obligation has been increased to include equality and human rights with regard to disability age and gender. The Trust aims to design and implement services, policies and measures that meet the diverse needs of our service, population and workforce, ensuring that none are placed at a disadvantage over others. In order to meet these requirements, a single equality impact assessment is used to assess all its policies/guidelines and practices. This Policy was found to be compliant with this philosophy (see Appendix 4). 21.
Appendix A: Definitions Appendix B: Key Stakeholders Appendix 1: Guidance for Managers Appendix 2: Application for Home Working
Appendix 3: Risk Assessment Tool Appendix 4: Equality Impact Assessment Tool
Appendix A: Definitions Home working
Regular Home Working
Occasional Home Working
occurs when an employee uses their own home as a location from which to carry out work for NHS Kirklees, as an alternative to working at a designated PCT location.
A regular home worker will normally spend up to 40% of their contracted weekly hours home working. This is equivalent to 2 days per week based on a standard, full time contract of employment.
An occasional home worker will work at home on an ad hoc basis. This will usually be to carry out specific pieces of work. The occasional home worker must agree each episode of home working in advance with their line manager.
Appendix B: Key stakeholders consulted/involved in the development of the policy/procedure Key Participant Yes/No Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Stakeholders name and designation HR & OD Team HQ Policy Group Health & Safety Manager NHS Kirklees Partnership Forum KCHS Workforce Sub Group KCHS Governance Committee NHS Kirklees Board
Feedback requested Yes/No Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Feedback accepted Yes/No Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Appendix 1: Guidance for Managers When considering a request from a member of staff to become a regular or occasional home worker, each request must be considered on its own merits. You may find it helpful to consider the following factors: 1. Is the employee’s work suitable to be carried out from home? For example, work involving the production of complex reports or documents may be appropriately carried out from home. Work requiring significant amounts of face to face contact with clients, patients, line manager or other colleagues is unlikely to be suitable for a home working arrangement. Home working may be particularly difficult in certain other circumstances, for example: • • • •
Managing a team of staff requiring significant supervision or face to face support Working in a team where significant ‘hard copy’ resources need to be shared with others Acting as a secretary or PA to more than one manager
2. Is the employee suited to working at home? Employees considered for home working will normally have satisfactory attendance records and punctuality records, either with NHS Kirklees or evidenced from a previous employer if new in post. In addition employees and managers must consider whether working at home in a solitary environment would have any adverse reaction on the employee, for example through the reduction in daily face-to-face interaction with colleagues and managerial support. 3. What impact would the employee’s home working have on the rest of the team, including any direct reports? In some cases, an employee’s home working may create unreasonably increased work for others in dealing with telephone calls and queries on their behalf, difficulties in fulfilling managerial responsibilities and detrimental effects on team working. In the majority of home working requests, however, it is anticipated that the impact on the rest of the team could be mitigated through careful discussion between employee and line manager about contact and management arrangements. 4. How will you and the employee maintain contact whilst the employee is home working? Consideration should be given to factors including remote IT access, whether you / the employee are in possession of a work mobile phone etc. Appendix 2 refers. 5. Is the employee’s home environment suitable for work? Refer to risk assessment tool in Appendix 3. The tool must be completed and returned to the HR Department for storage on the employee’s electronic personal file.
Appendix 2: Application for Home Working Before a formal application is made, the employee must have discussed the situation in detail with her/his line manager. Name: Job title: Directorate: Line manager: I would like to apply for home working in one of the following two categories: 1. Regular Home Working: (please describe the pattern and frequency of the regular home working that you would like to carry out) 2. Occasional home working: (please describe the purpose and estimated frequency of the occasional home working that you would like to carry out)
On occasions when I am working at home, I have made the following arrangements relating to my day-to-day work responsibilities: a. Arrangements for dealing with phone calls:
b. Arrangements for dealing with E-mails:
c. Arrangements for managing staff:
d. Arrangements for contact with line manager: My line manager and I are satisfied that all of the requirements of the Risk Assessment Tool (Home Working Policy, Appendix 3) have been met. The tool has been completed and returned to the HR Department. I understand that Kirklees PCT will not pay any costs of working from home. I have read, understood and agree to abide by Kirklees PCT’s Home Working Policy. Signed: Date: Agreed by (Director):
Agreed by (Line manager): Date: Date:
Please return a copy of this completed form to the HR Department for filing on the employee’s electronic personal file. An electronic copy will be acceptable, provided it is emailed by the line manager or Director from the line manager or Director’s NHS Kirklees email account.
Appendix 3: Health, Safety and Risk Assessment Tool This risk assessment tool must be fully completed for all home workers. Please return a copy of the completed tool to the HR Department for filing on the employee’s electronic personal file. An electronic copy will be acceptable, provided it is emailed by the line manager from the line manager’s NHS Kirklees email account. DEFINITIONS: HOME-WORKING: For the purposes of this exercise home-working is defined as working at home with a laptop and a phone and associated paperwork for a portion of the normal working week. RESPONSIBILTY: It is the line manager’s responsibility to ensure that all their staff members working from home have an assessment and it is kept up-to-date. This assessment must be reviewed at no later than a three year period, or if there is cause for concern, or when there is notification of significant change. ASSESSMENT TOOL: NAME OF HOME WORKER:……………………………………………………….. ADDRESS:…………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………..Post Code……………………………. CONTACT DETAILS:………………………………………………………………..
MANAGER: …………………………………………………………………………… DATE OF ASSESSMENT: …………………………………………………………. Please work through the following questions. If you reach the DO NOT CONTINUE instruction at any stage you are NOT eligible to work from home. Q1: Have you read and agreed compliance with the following: Home-Worker Guidance (available on the Intranet) Lone Worker Guidance (available on the Intranet) YES TO ALL NO TO ANY
– Proceed to Q2 - DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q2: Do you have any pre-existing health issues that may require special arrangements? YES – Proceed to Q3 NO
- Proceed to Q5
Q3. Do you have any pre-existing conditions that require specific equipment that has been approved by Occupational Health to make you comfortable whilst specifically working with your display screen equipment? YES – Proceed to Q4 NO
- Proceed to Q5
Q4. Has Occupational Health provided advice and support to set-up the homeworking environment so that you can work in a reasonable manner? YES – Proceed to Q5 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q5. Do you have any pre-existing health conditions that would require you to be monitored/supervised? (Examples: Epilepsy, Diabetes etc.) YES – Proceed to Q6 NO
- Proceed to Q.7
Q6. Has Occupational Health approved working from home for you? YES – Proceed to Q7 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE
Q7. Are you a new or expectant mother? YES
- Proceed to Q8
NO – Proceed to Q9 Q8. Has the New and Expectant Mother Assessment (found HERE) been completed putting procedures in place to effectively manage associated risk, and has it been read and understood by you? YES – Proceed to Q9 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q9. Have you attended the Mandatory Annual Fire Talk training within the last twelve months? YES – Date of training …………………….. Proceed to Q10 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q10. Is the working environment reasonably free from fire risk? YES – Proceed to Q12 NO
- .Proceed to Q11
Q11. Has the Risk Assessment been completed putting procedures in place to effectively manage this fire risk, and has it been read and understood by you? YES – Proceed to Q12 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q12. Have you attended basic manual handling training within the last three years? YES – Date of training …………………….. Proceed to Q13 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q13. Are there any significant work-related manual handling risks for you? YES – Proceed to Q14 NO
- Proceed to Q15.
Q14: Have the Specific Manual Handling Assessments been completed for the tasks identified and have they been read and understood by you? YES – Proceed to Q15 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q15. Will you be required to use, store or dispose-of any substances that may present a risk to your health, property or the environment? YES – Proceed to Q16 NO
- Proceed to Q17.
Q16. Have the COSHH Assessments been completed and have they been read and understood by you? YES – Proceed to Q17 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q17. Are there any persons who have access to these premises who may present a threat to the security of you, the Trust’s equipment or any of the data being handled? YES – Proceed to Q18 NO
- Proceed to Q19.
Q18. Has the Risk Assessment been completed putting acceptable secure procedures in place, and has it been read and understood by you? YES – Proceed to Q19 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q19. Are all data storage devices encrypted (e.g. USB storage)? YES – Proceed to Q20 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q20. Portable Appliance Testing. Is all electrical equipment, including chargers and leads, supplied by the Trust for the purpose of home-working tested, labelled and in date (not greater that three years from last test date)? YES – Proceed to Q21 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q21. Are you familiar with the use of all the equipment provided? YES – Proceed to Q22 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q22: Is the proposed home workplace free from other demands (examples dependants, noise or other distractions) that may act as stressors on you if you are trying to meet deadlines? YES – Proceed to Q24 NO
- Proceed to Q23
Q23. Has a Risk Assessment been completed to manage the stressors and has it been read and understood by you? YES – Proceed to Q24 NO
- DO NOT CONTINUE.
Q24. For the purpose of audit List all equipment provided by the Trust for use specifically for the home-worker. Include serial numbers and/or unique reference numbers. ………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………… List types of confidential data held by this person for the purpose of home-working. ………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………… Q25. Additional comments or concerns: ………………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………
SIGN-OFF HOME WORKING APPLICANT: I confirm that the information contained in this assessment is accurate, and that I will work safely within the guidance provided. Signed……………………………………………………………………………… Date:………………..
LINE MANAGER: I am satisfied with this assessment and that the home-worker will work safely within the guidance provided. Signed……………………………………………………………………………… Date:……………….. Please return a copy of this form to the HR Department for filing on the employee’s electronic personal file. An electronic copy of the form will be acceptable, provided it is emailed by the line manager from the line manager’s NHS Kirklees email account.
Appendix 4: Equality Impact Assessment Tool To be completed and attached to any procedural document when submitted to the appropriate committee for consideration and approval. Insert Name of Policy / Procedure Yes/No 1.
Does the policy/guidance affect one group less or more favourably than another on the basis of: • Race
• Ethnic origins (including gypsies and travellers)
• Religion or belief
• Sexual orientation including lesbian, gay and bisexual people
• Disability - learning disabilities, physical disability, sensory impairment and mental health problems
Is there any evidence that some groups are affected differently?
If you have identified potential discrimination, are any exceptions valid, legal and/or justifiable?
Is the impact of the policy/guidance likely to be
Disabled employees requiring reasonable adjustments may find it difficult to set their home environment up to meet the required risk assessment levels. Support will be offered on a case by case basis, for example by exploring whether reasonable adjustments set up in the employee’s office base can be transferred between the home and office, or whether it is financially reasonable to provide additional reasonable adjustments for the home, based on the cost of the reasonable adjustments and the amount of time the employee would spend working at home/the importance of the employee working at home
Insert Name of Policy / Procedure Yes/No
If so can the impact be avoided?
What alternatives are there to achieving the policy/guidance without the impact?
Working from office location is always available as an alternative to home working
Can we reduce the impact by taking different action?
Reasonable action will be taken to provide reasonable adjustments
If you have identified a potential discriminatory impact of this procedural document, please refer it to the Assistant Director of Workforce, together with any suggestions as to the action required to avoid/reduce this impact. For advice in respect of answering the above questions, please contact the Equality and Diversity Officer.