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Flexible working arrangements

At the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), we wish to enable staff to contribute to our strategy in ways that meet their needs and those of the organisation.

The ability of staff to work flexibly is fundamental to achieving this. Finding the right balance between the demands of work and other personal commitments and interests lies at the heart of this policy.

We value flexibility within our staff community and recognise the importance of helping and encouraging staff to achieve a healthy balance. Whilst this statement encompasses staff requests prompted by exceptional circumstances, we aspire to go beyond this and wish to create an environment that enables all staff to think about what is best for them.

Additionally, Covid-19 has significantly heightened the need for us to advocate a sensible and sustainable work-life balance approach. Consequently, this policy is designed to support and reassure our staff community as we adapt and respond to new ways of working, both during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the purposes of this policy, flexible working is defined as any type of working arrangement that gives some degree of flexibility on how long, where and when a member of staff works.

Guiding principles

  • We recognise that working flexibly can provide significant benefits to both our staff and the organisation.
  • We are committed to enabling all staff to achieve an appropriate work-life balance and recognise the role flexibility plays in creating a positive working environment and a happy and healthy staff community.
  • We value fairness and inclusivity and recognise the important role that flexible working has in responding to the diverse needs of our staff community.
  • We acknowledge the positive impact that flexible working can have in improving our efficiency and productivity as an organisation, and in developing a more flexible workforce capable of responding to changing needs.
  • An effective flexible working policy is one which simultaneously meets the needs of both the staff member and the organisation.


The policy covers all NCAS staff named in the NCAS collaboration agreements between the University of Leeds and other employers, all NCAS staff employed by the University of Leeds with open or fixed NCAS funding commitments, and all NCAS staff at CEDA.

Flexible working arrangements can be informal or formal. Some arrangements may require university/employer approval and/or an amendment to an employment contract. Other arrangements may be informal and simply require an agreement between the member of staff and their NCAS Manager and institutional line manager (if this is different to their NCAS Manager).

For all informal requests, it is recommended that arrangements are confirmed in writing by the NCAS Manager and are reviewed at regular intervals. For all formal requests, staff are asked to discuss options and agree a way forward with their NCAS Manager prior to making any application to their university/employer.


We will make every effort to facilitate flexible working and will work closely with staff to explore options and solutions.

In cases where a formal application to the host university/employer is required, we will actively support the application process. Examples of support may include:

  • Providing advice on how to complete the application.
  • Writing a letter of support, to accompany the application.
  • Providing confirmation of funding (if required).
  • Amending working practices and/or structures to facilitate the request.

There may be instances where flexible working will not be possible. Requests may be declined if the arrangement is likely to have an unmanageable impact on our ability to deliver our strategy, NC commissioned or contracted work. Under these exceptional circumstances we would work to achieve an alternative solution.

What is flexible working?

These definitions are adapted from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) example flexible working policies, taking account of the structure of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science with multiple employers and a very wide range of staff roles.

Flexible working is any type of working arrangement that gives some degree of flexibility on how long, where and when an employee works.
The following flexible working options are considered to be the typical arrangements that staff may request but we recognise that there may be alternatives or a combination of options which are suitable to both the organisation and staff:

  • Flexitime: varying the working hours across the normal working day.
  • Home-working: working for some or all of the week at home.
  • Compressed hours: working longer days to allow time off later in the week.
  • Job-sharing: two or more people share the job role.
  • Part-time working – choosing to work fewer hours than the standard full-time week.
  • Term-time working: working school term time only, taking annual leave during the school holidays.

Financial support for staff

We have developed a set of financial principles that sit alongside the NCAS Flexible Working Policy, and describe how staff may reclaim costs that enable them to work “away from the office”.