4 May 2022

DfE Hybrid Working Update

An update on talks held with the DfE and a direction for members to speak to line managers about hybrid working, reporting to PCS if their request is refused. 

PCS along with our colleagues in other unions, met with senior leaders in the DfE on 4 May to further discuss the drastic change in hybrid working guidance.

This follows on from the all members meeting PCS held on 3 May, which saw 200 PCS members from DfE gather to get an update from PCS negotiators, ask questions and share their experiences of the impact this change is having.

PCS raised some of these concerns today in talks with DfE leaders, including the problem of office space, the lack of justification to make the change, and the impact this policy is having on staff with disabilities and caring responsibilities. They sought to offer us assurances that there was flexibility within the process. As PCS understand it, these flexibilities are:

80% office working is the beginning of the conversation, however, staff can go down to 60% following a discussion with their line manager. This should be easy to achieve and shouldn’t require lots of supporting evidence, just a discussion over whether the job can be done 60% in the office, rather than 80%.

Achieving a working arrangement of less than 60% office working requires a discussion with the line manager. Managers have the discretion to agree alternative working arrangement below 60% office requirements, as they always have. DfE senior leaders were confident that alternative arrangements could be agreed.

From what members have told PCS, we know that the above explanation is not the experience that many of you have had. If you have attempted this method of achieving alternative office working arrangements and have been refused, or have issues which concern reasonable adjustments regarding returning to the office, please get in contact with your local PCS reps who can assist you in challenging this decision.

Reporting your experience of achieving the working arrangement you require to PCS will also help to inform our talks with the Permanent Secretary next week.

Following this meeting, we will update members.