Glossary of flexible working

the most common terms on the topic of flexible working


This section provides explanations for the most common terms that you might see on the topic of flexible working. Please speak with HR if you are unsure about any of these terms or any part of the flexible working process.

Annualised hours

An arrangement where the employee works a defined number of hours over a year rather than a fixed number of hours a week. Salary is paid as a set amount each month regardless of the actual number of hours worked in that month.

Appeal (right of)

An employee can appeal following a formal flexible working decision, as set out in the Flexible Working Policy.

Compressed hours

An employee works their usual hours in fewer days, e.g. 35 hours over 4 days.

Informal flexible working

Some local flexible working practices don’t need to follow a formal process, for example arrangements that are very temporary or a response to unexpected developments (such as an employee working from home for a day because their boiler has broken down). It’s important that employee and manager are still contactable during these times.

Flexible Working Request Form

This form should be used to request and record all formal flexible working requests. The employee should complete the first section and forward the form to their manager to complete the rest.

Formal flexible working

A formal process should be followed for all requests that would mean a long-term change of working pattern or a pattern which would mean a change to the employee’s terms and conditions (especially any change in salary or hours). 


An employee carries out their usual work at home for some of the working week.

Job share

Two employees (or sometimes more) voluntarily share the responsibilities of a full-time role.

Part-time hours

An employee decides to reduce their working hours. Their salary and other benefits are pro-rated.

Staggered hours

An employee starts and finishes work at varying times during the working week, subject to attendance during core hours (10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm).

Term-time working

An employee reduces their annual hours to work only during term times, enabling them to take time off during school holidays.

Transition to retirement

A reduction in the hours worked and/or responsibilities of a role to help support an employee’s transition to retirement.

Trial period

A defined period of time at the start of a new flexible working arrangement, which is an opportunity for both the employee and manager to assess whether the arrangement is working satisfactorily.