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Flexitime and hours of work scheme

Information on the flexitime and hours of work scheme


This flexi-time scheme is part of a wider Council Human Resources strategy to address Work/Life balance issues and position itself as an ‘employer of choice’. Torbay Council recognises the commitment and hard work of all its people and understands that individuals may sometimes find it difficult to balance their professional and personal commitments.

This flexi-time scheme enables people to work more flexibly, regardless of their work location. With this we aim to promote a healthy work-life balance, improve performance, productivity and employee wellbeing.

We also understand that in order to support different ways of working, such as hybrid and permanent homeworking, that flexibility with working hours will enable our workforce to be more responsive and adaptable to the needs of our community and partners.

The following issues are the driving force behind the design and operation of this scheme:


  • The Working Time Regulations 1998
  • Right to request flexible working
  • Right to time off to care for dependants
  • Regulations abolishing discrimination on grounds of religion/belief and need to accommodate reasonable time off for religious observance


  • Avoiding a ‘long hours culture’ and the negative impact it has on families/dependants and employee health and wellbeing
  • Improving access to employment for parents and carers at all levels of the Council – providing a wider pool of talent from which to recruit and retain employees with dependant responsibilities


  • Improving ability to provide an effective and efficient service to meet community and client needs which fits with the Council’s vision of doing things differently working within multi agency teams with a view to delivering joined up services to the community,
  • Overcoming recruitment and retention difficulties by establishing the Council as an ‘employer of choice’, therefore reducing repeat recruitment costs


  • Reduction in congestion on roads with flexible start and finish times, ability to work on a 37/4 basis thus reducing commuting for one day per week which will support the Council’s ambition to tackle climate change and work towards becoming carbon neutral.
  • Equality of access to, and application of, the benefit


  • Need to formally record and monitor working hours and arrangements across the Council
  • Provision of a wide range of services and employment of a wide range of professions where workload peaks and troughs vary in timing and size.
  • Supports a move towards outputs/performance as opposed to attendance and input.

The Scheme emphasises the need for trust and co-operation, working effectively and efficiently, however the needs of the service must be paramount in applying a flexitime arrangement.  


The standard flexi-time scheme applies to all employees other than those listed below. In some areas of the Council, local variations to the standard scheme are agreed where there is a clear business need. In some cases, individuals may have agreed alternative arrangements. Any agreements must be formally agreed and documented. Please refer to the sections on local variations or the separate guidelines on requests for Flexible Working.

Flexi-time does not apply to:-

  • Employees on rotating shift patterns
  • Employees on set working patterns (the service operates at set times of the day and employees are present only during those set times)
  • Employees who receive contractual overtime
  • Employees who are on Annual Hours contracts
  • Teachers and those on Soulbury Terms and Conditions
  • Assistant Directors and Directors (Heads or Service are included in the scheme)
  • Employees in Schools (unless the Scheme is adopted by a School)

Related policies and guidance

This scheme should be used in conjunction with other policies and practices designed to address Work/Life Balance, below.

  • Flexible working requests guidance
  • Ways of working policy
  • Working Time Regulations guidance

All are available from MyView, ‘My Documents’.

Principles of flexitime

The basic idea behind flexi-time is that it is not always necessary for everyone to begin and end their working day at the same time. There are advantages both for management and employees if they can arrange their own hours of work subject to service/team requirements. 

Benefits of flexi-time include:-

  • Ability to manage peaks and troughs in workloade. Work is carried out when it needs to be carried out and time is taken off from work when there is less demand,
  • Ability to work a wider variety of hours to meet service user needs,
  • Ability to work longer hours to reach deadlines sooner in return for time off in lieu,
  • Better work/life balancee. Ability to take time off in lieu to deal with family matters, undertake leisure pursuits and/or for religious observance,
  • A reduction in ‘rush hour’ traffic at set times in the day,
  • Reduction in spending on overtime.

The Council recognises that operating a flexi-time scheme can improve employee satisfaction and motivation thus improving recruitment and retention. It also improves service delivery, therefore improving customer service and satisfaction.


Service provision and the needs of the people using that service must always come first. 

In some instances, an employee’s priorities can determine when hours are worked and when time is taken off, however, everyone is expected to adopt the principle that hours worked, and time taken off in lieu, is governed by service need and efficient, effective productivity. The full benefits of a flexi-time scheme cannot be achieved without everyone adopting this principle. Managers are required to run the system effectively and remove any barriers.

The flexi-time scheme and approval to take time off in lieu of hours worked must be applied fairly and objectively across all services and departments, maintaining the Council’s stance on equality, diversity and inclusion. If employees feel they are not being treated fairly they should first point this out to their line manager. If further support is required, employees can contact Human Resources, their Trade Union or refer to the Grievance Procedure, available from MyView, ‘My Documents’.

Working Time Regulations

The following rules apply and must be enforced at all levels of employment within the Council:-

  • Maximum average working time – 48 hours per week (averaged over 17 weeks)*
  • 20 minute break if working more than 6 hours
  • 11 hours rest in every 24 hours
  • 1 day rest in every 7 days (averaged over 14 days)

*unless an opt-out is in place

There are additional protections for workers under 18 years, and night workers (please contact Human Resources if you require further information).


What is flexi-time?

Under a flexi-time scheme employees may vary their start, finish and lunch times, to meet the needs of both their operational area and their personal circumstances. 

Employees are not expected to work exactly their standard hours every day or week, allowing an accumulation of ‘credit’ or ‘debit’ hours (within set limits), depending upon whether more or less hours are worked. 

Time bands and flexi-time/leave:

Office hours

This is when the office or service is open to the public or service users. Suitable cover must be maintained during these periods. This is for the line manager in conjunction with the Head of Service or Assistant Director/Director to agree for their own area. 

For employees working in Council office locations, office hours will also be determined by the building open and closure times, in agreement with the Facilities Management team.

Core time

This is when employees must be in work, regardless of their working location. Any absence from work during core time must be authorised in advance.

Flexible bands

Employees may start and finish work at different times within the flexible bands, subject to service needs, working arrangements and cover within the team. Work cannot start earlier in the morning or finish later in the afternoon than the flexible bands, unless authorised by a line manager, as detailed in the Variations to Standard Scheme section, later in this document.

In most cases, actual start and finish times within the flexible bands can be informally agreed between team members. The size of the team and whether the service is front line/customer facing or project based/back office will determine how this works in practice. Teams can mutually agree their start and finish times for that week or day to ensure cover or daily deadlines are met during office hours. 

Managers are expected to work with their teams to agree start and finish times and to resolve any issues informally. Human Resources can provide advice and assistance if required.

Flexi leave

Working more than the standard working week accrues flexi credit which can be taken as time off in lieu.

Decimal minutes

For the purpose of calculating flexi-time, minutes and hours are recorded using the 24 Hour Decimal Clock. These guidelines will refer to the Decimal Clock.

Analogue to Decimal conversion table

5 mins 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 (1 hour)
0.08 0.17 0.25 0.33 0.42 0.50 0.58 0.67 0.75 0.83 0.92 1.0

For example, 2.20pm is 14:33 in the 24 Hour Decimal Clock.  

Other Definitions:

Standard working week

Employee’s contracted weekly hours (i.e. 37 hours for full time employees).

Standard day

Employee’s contracted daily hours (i.e. 7.4 hours for employees working 37 hours over 5 days).


For claiming blocks of ‘paid’ time when not working, to maintain a standard working week.  Adjustments include annual leave and sick leave. 


Hours worked over the standard working week build up as flexi credit.  When hours worked are less than the standard working week this reduces credit, when credit goes below 0 it becomes a debit. For example, by working 40 hours one week, 3 hours will go towards a credit balance. Credit/Debit balances are carried over to the next week.

Flexible working

Flexible Working Requests Guidance is available from MyView, under My Documents. Flexible Working can include working within a flexi scheme arrangement, home-working, part time or annual hours.

Standard Scheme

A summary is available towards the end of this document.

Core time and flexible bands  

Lunch breaks must usually be taken between 12.00 and 14.00 (outside core time).  However, managers can agree to vary this to accommodate ad-hoc requests for earlier/later lunchtimes on the basis that adequate cover can be maintained by the team. 

The 24 Hour Decimal Clock is used for recording flexi time. Analogue Clock version of above table:

Credit/Debit limits

Provided these do not interfere with service delivery, efficient working and Working Time Regulations limits individuals on a standard full time contract can accumulate:-

  • A MAXIMUM of 5 hours (½ a week) in credit.
  • A MAXIMUM of 8 hours (2/5th of a week) in debit.

Debit balances must be brought up to 0 hours ideally within the following fortnight and no longer than 4 weeks.

Managers reserve the right to limit the amount of credit/debit accrued for those on very short term contracts or those who are working their notice, if such accumulation of credit/debit could be detrimental to the team or service.

Exceptional Circumstances

Where adverse weather, travel disruption or power shortages make working impossible or unsafe, flexible bands may be extended to allow time to be made up if the employee is able to work from home and arrangements meet the needs of the service. Flexible bands may be extended to accommodate the earlier start time of 6am and later finish time of 10pm. The maximum flexi debit which may be carried forward during exceptional circumstances such as those listed above may also be increased to 22.2 hours for up to 6 weeks.

Flexi Leave (taking time off in lieu)

There is no set organisational limit to the number of days that can be taken over a year – flexi leave is always subject to approval by the line manager. Like annual leave, there is no automatic right to take flexi leave when you want to take it and peaks and troughs in service delivery, workload and cover demands of the section will be taken into account.  Everyone is expected to adopt the principle that hours worked, and time taken off in lieu, is governed by service need and efficient, effective productivity. Managers are expected to allow reasonable time off.

Flexi leave cannot be booked unless a large enough credit hours balance can be worked in advance (efficiently and effectively) or debit hours can be made up the following fortnight.

Employees must give at least one weeks’ notice to their manager if they intend to take flexi leave of more than ½ day (with the exception of a domestic emergency).

Line managers must approve flexi leave in advance.

Flexi leave of more than ½ a day must be approved by a line manager, booked in advance and recorded on a flexi time record (in the ‘flex taken’ box, when taken). Flexitime must also be input in MyView on the ‘My Time Management’ screen so that an overview of leave taken across the year can be provided.

Smaller amounts of flexi leave (less than half a day)

Line Managers may, at their discretion, allow employees to occasionally leave earlier, start later, or extend a lunch break, provided this is monitored locally and applied fairly.

Condensed hours

It is possible to work 37 hours over 4 days within the flexible bands. This arrangement may suit some teams, individuals and service users. Other than where a 4-day-week arrangement is permanently agreed with employees (under a request for ‘flexible working’), 4-day-week working can be agreed on a month-by-month basis by booking blocks of flexi leave in advance. Any 4-day-week working must be approved by the line manager and mutually agreed between all team members and subject to the ability to work effectively and efficiently over 4 longer days.

Lunch breaks

In line with Working Time Regulations, if working for more than 6 hours a day, whether or not an employee stays at their workstation at lunchtime, at least 0.33 hrs (20 minutes) must be taken for a lunch break and recorded on the flexi-time record.


Overtime is separate from the flexi-time scheme and would only apply after full time hours have been worked. Paid overtime must not be recorded on a flexi–time record. Overtime pay must be claimed using the appropriate MyView process. Please refer to the Pay Policy for more details, this is available from MyView, under ‘My Documents’.

Variations to the Standard Scheme

Local Schemes

Where-ever possible the standard scheme should apply. However, where there is a clear business need services may agree a variation to the standard scheme. For instance, if there is a need for different core time or flexible bands to help clients access the service at different times, or weekend working if that fits with the needs of the service. If there are large seasonal peaks and troughs an Annual Hours contract is recommended instead of flexi.The Council’s strategic ambitions of working more closely with our communities and partners will entail fundamentally changing how we communicate with residents. For this to be successful any reasonable request for local flexi arrangements which will help to accommodate these ambitions will be considered. Human Resources can supply advice and assistance where needed.

What if I work part-time?

Part time employees may need to agree with their line manager ‘core’ and other time bands and flexi leave arrangements, as these may need to vary, depending on the number of hours worked and the pattern for working these hours. Where appropriate, a pro-rata principle should be used and part time employees should not be disadvantaged from the benefits of a flexi-scheme because of their part time status.

Permanent home and hybrid worker variations

Employees who are permanent home workers or hybrid workers have greater flexibility around their hours. The needs of the service must still take precedence however and it will be decided by the manager if individual variations can be accommodated.

Variations can include the following:-

  • Working beyond the flexible bands (for instance, starting work at 06.30 hours or finishing work at 21.00 hours).
  • Working on a Saturday or Sunday (note that this arrangement would not attract an overtime payment if through choice)
  • Allowing a carryover of more than the credit/debit limit at special times, provided there is the opportunity to reduce the credit balance within 3 months/reduce the debit balance within 1 month, and provided there is no breach of Working Time Regulations.
  • Attending meetings arranged in the evening.

Time recorded should reflect the time spent working and should not include any breaks for dinner etc.

Such arrangements must be agreed by the manager and it is recommended that arrangements are confirmed in writing (for instance, an e-mail record or file note). Human Resources do not need to be notified.

Procedure for variation

Agreeing permanent team/service variations to the standard scheme

Any changes to the standard scheme must be approved by the Head of Service and approved by the Head of HR and relevant Assistant Director or Director.  ALL the affected employees and their representatives must be consulted in advance. New employees must be informed of the arrangement at recruitment stage.

Variations may be agreed to core time or flexible bands (including a removal of core time), flexi leave arrangements and credit/debit balances. Sections can also impose a restriction on when flexi leave is taken (for example, the summer holiday period).

Line managers who want to set variations should follow the Council’s change process. This includes submitting a change paper that clearly sets out the reason for the variation, which employees will be affected and the timescale for consultation.

This must be done under the guidance of HR, please contact for further advice. 

Completing and submitting flexi-time records

Recording time

Torbay Council uses a web-based Timesheet Recording System (TRS).

It’s every employee’s responsibility to keep their flexi records up to date and to give access to these records to their line manager for checking and approval. 

Directions for completing flex time records:-

  • Record working hours on a daily basis and not from memory.
  • Enter start and finish times and start and finish times of a lunch break using the 24 hour decimal clock (to the nearest ‘5 minutes’).
  • Enter any adjustments or flexi leave details. When specifying the reason for the adjustment, do not use vague language such as ‘out’ or ‘leave’. Flexi-leave must not be included in the adjustment panel.
  • Calculate the credit/debit balance for the previous week and enter this total in the “credit or debit carried forward” box of the current week.
  • When a card or electronic flexi card is complete, check figures and transfer any carry-over figure to a new card/timesheet and give/send the last month’s card to a line manager for authorisation and storing according to department arrangements.
  • If absent from work, complete a card as soon as possible on return to work.

Entering Flexitime onto MyView and TSR

It is important that any flexi leave approved is also entered onto the MyView system under ‘My Time Management’ to show the leave booked and approved across the year.

The Council uses a web-based Time Sheet Recording System (TSR) for recording working hours. To be set-up on the system or for further information please refer to the Timesheet Recording page on the intranet. 

Some areas may still use a manual recording (paper-based) system, where in use the following example is provided and should be referred to ensure consistency in the recording of working time.

Checking records and queries

Random checks of flexi records should be carried out to ensure accuracy. For any queries please contact Human Resources  


Annual Leave

Enter your standard hours in the adjustment panel for each day, ½ day, or week taken as annual leave.  Remember to carry forward any credit/debit from week to week.


On return to work enter your standard hours in the adjustment panel for the day(s) or week(s) you were absent. If you are absent during the working day, enter the number of hours needed to make that day up to a standard working day in the adjustment panel. To calculate this:-

  • Subtract the total “INs” from the total “OUTs” for that day – this will tell you how many hours you have worked that day (e.g. 12:50 – 09:00 = 3.5 hours) then
  • Subtract that figure from your standard working day (e.g. 7.4 – 3.5 = 3.9)

This is the number of hours to be claimed in the adjustment panel as sick leave (e.g. 3.9).

Training, Conferences and off-site Visits/Meetings

Enter the actual hours spent attending any work related training events/conferences or meetings off site (in the normal recording panel). 

Other than brief refreshment breaks, you must reflect the actual length of any breaks (and not count these as work time).  If it is a ‘working lunch’, deduct a standard 0.33 (20 minutes) as the break.

Rules governing core and flexible bands do not apply for days away from the normal work location.

The: first 0.5 (½) hour of any outward travel from home* to a venue; and last 0.5 (½) hour of return travel from a venue to home cannot be counted as work time.  Travel in excess of 0.5 (½) hour can be counted as work time. The following also applies:-

  • When commuting between home and a venue within Torbay (that is not the normal work location) and the duration of the journey is longer than a normal commute, the time claimed as work time is the duration of the journey less normal commuting time from home to the work base. Journeys from home to a venue in Torbay that are shorter than a normal commute are not counted as work time.
  • For all journeys, the fastest possible route should be taken, any deviations or breaks (except brief refreshment breaks) that are not work related cannot be counted as work time.
  • During the working day, travel time between the normal work location and other work related venues is counted as work time.
  • If working from home, ‘home’ is counted as the work location and therefore any travel time from home to another venue is counted as work time.
  • Overnight accommodation nearer a venue counts as *home for the purpose of travel to and from a venue at the start and end of a day.
  • When travelling to overnight accommodation immediately after a working day, the last 0.5 hours of travel cannot be claimed (this takes into account the normal commute home that day). The same principle applies if setting off in the morning.

Day release courses

If you attend day release courses at college (as part of an agreed longer term development programme), enter your standard hours in the adjustment panel for each day’s absence and do not count any travel time. When attendance at college is for a half a day, enter the standard hours for the half day, as well as the actual hours worked for the other half of that day on to the flex-time record.

What if it is a residential course?

Enter the standard hours for each day of the course in the adjustment panel. 

What can I claim back for nights away from home?

For each night spent away from home claim 1.5 hours in the adjustment panel. 

The overnight allowance cannot be claimed if staying at a second home, or staying with a partner or immediate family.

If arrival at the destination requires a departure from home before 07.00 (7.00am), the employee has the right to travel to a location nearer the destination the night before, likewise, if arriving home later than 23.00 (11.00pm), the employee has the right to travel back the following day.

Other appointments

Attendance at a hospital or other such clinic, which may require a half day or full day of absence may be claimed as sick leave, if such an absence is to be claimed back as a half day or full day adjustment. 

The reason for the appointment must be on medical grounds.  Adjustment hours/sick leave cannot be claimed for treatments that are not specifically recommended by a GP (for instance, informal relaxation therapies).

Ante-natal and blood donation appointments

Adjustments for ante-natal appointments (expectant mothers only) and blood donation can reflect the actual time away from work, provided the complete hours claimed for that day do not exceed a full standard working day.

Avoiding excessive working hours

Employees are not expected to regularly work more than their standard contracted hours. Flexibility in working hours is so people can have a work/life balance. Excessive working hours has a negative impact on both individuals and service quality and should be avoided.

Managers should regularly review working hours with their team members to ensure that a long hours culture is avoided. Managers should take action if there is a risk of ‘burnout’ for people in the team due to excessive hours.

Regular wellbeing discussions with teams and individuals are strongly encouraged, a range of wellbeing resources are available to support with these discussions, please refer to the Council’s Staff Wellbeing intranet pages for more information.

Further guidance and support, please contact

Abuse of the Scheme

The flexi-time scheme works based on trust and is not provided in order that employees can ‘take their time’ over tasks.  Work is still required to be carried out as efficiently and as effectively as possible.

Flexi is provided to deal with peaks and troughs in volumes of work, personal commitments and meeting appointment needs of service users.

The following are examples of abuses of the system and will be viewed as not supporting the principles of the scheme:-

  • Work building up because an employee finishes work early/ starts work late regularly
  • Continuing to work very late/starting work very early when there is not a lot of work to be done at those times
  • Frequent breaches of the balance limits
  • False recording of start/finish times
  • Leaving an office without cover, for no good reason, when expected to be providing cover
  • Taking an unreasonable amount of time to carry out tasks
  • Using an excessive and unreasonable amount of time for cigarette and/or refreshment breaks, an outcome of which could be either a restriction on the number of breaks or a request that the employee “clocks off”

Managers are required to audit flexi-time records from time to time. Any apparent abuse of the scheme by employees will be investigated and records will be used as evidence in any disciplinary action that may follow. 

Abuses of the scheme will be treated as a matter for investigation, which may end in action under the Council’s disciplinary procedure and can amount to gross misconduct. Depending upon the seriousness of the situation, action can include removal of flexi-time for that individual.


On leaving employment with the Council, the flexi-time credit/debit balance must be as near to zero as possible. 

Any outstanding credit hours will be lost on leaving, as no payment will be made for those hours.  However, an adjustment to pay will be made if there is an outstanding debit balance of more than 1 hour.  

In exceptional circumstances, when an employee who leaves the Council under circumstances for which they have had no direct control (for instance, industrial injury) consideration will be given to paying the credit hours at plain time rate or making no deduction for debit hours.

Policy Feedback

Should you have any comments about this policy, please address them to the HR Policy mailbox –

History of policy Changes
Date Page Details of Change Agreed by:
May 2017

To reflect change to credit/debit balance.

Collective Agreement Dec 2016
May 2021


  • New section – Permanent and Hybrid workers.
  • Updated section on variations to the Scheme – removal of local agreement and replaced with agreement from the Head of Service and Head of HR.
  • New section – Avoiding Excessive Working Hours and wellbeing information.
  • Widening of flexible bands – 7am start, 8pm finish
  • Reference to Time Recording System (TRS)
  • Lunchtime bands extended by 1.5hrs to 2hrs
  • New section – other related policies
  • Removal of Local Agreement for permanent team variations – reference to Change process.
TJCC – May 2021
January 2023


Addition of Exceptional Circumstances and temporary increase to flexi debit limits to 22.2 hours.

TJCC – For info only 17 February 2023

Policy to be reviewed as and when required due to operational or legislative changes. 

Appendix 1: Flexi Scheme Summary

Flexible band start Core time - am Lunch break Core time – pm Flexible band end
07:00 10:00 to 12:00 0.33 to 1.5 hours Between 12.00 and 14.00 14:00 to 15:50 20.00
Category Value Notes
Credit limit 0.5 week or 18.5 hours Limit to average hours worked in a week = 48 hours (Working Time Regulations)
Debit limit

0.4 week or 14.8 hours

Notice of leave required

1 week

Annual leave/Sickness adjustment

Standard working day adjustment (or hours to make up to standard working day if sick for part of day)

Training/conference/meeting off site

Actual hours claimed

Day release/residential

Standard working day adjustment

Overnight allowance

1.5 hours

Travel allowance (not to normal work base)

(Outward) first and (Return) last 0.5 hour of travel cannot be claimed

Normal commute time deducted if travelling further to a venue in Torbay

Doctor/dentist allowance

Up to 1 hour If absence required during core-time

Hospital/Medical appointments or treatments

Treat as sickness absence