In January 2022, the Government announced the phased return to the workplace. In line with this, the University will trial blended working, through the introduction of interim working arrangements for a period of one year, from April 2022 to the end of April 2023. The learning gathered during this period will inform the University’s longer-term approach to blended working arrangements.
It is understood that employees may need to make particular arrangements in order to facilitate a return to more substantial campus-based work. Accordingly, it has been decided that an initial transitional period will apply. On this basis all approved interim blended working arrangements must be approved and in place by Tuesday 19 April 2022. All requests for interim blended working arrangements under this process must be submitted for local endorsement.
It is recognised that blended working will not suit all professional and support roles, however, we will endeavour to facilitate as many arrangements as we can during this interim period. In addition, it should be noted that the purpose of the interim arrangements is not to change the current work practices of academic staff, but rather to expand opportunities for blended working to professional and support staff.
The term blended working refers to working arrangements that involve a combination of working on-campus and working off-campus, based on an agreement between the employee and the Line Manager, and approved through the application process.
In line with contractual provision, Maynooth University will continue to be the primary workplace for all employees.
The following principles will underpin the new and interim Blended Working Arrangements:
- Employees will have the right to request a blended working arrangement, however blended working arrangements are not guaranteed;
- The role and the associated duties will be the primary deciding factor when requests for interim blended working are being assessed;
- Employees will need to have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with the University before they can apply for an interim blended working arrangement;
- Certain roles will not be suitable for blended working;
- Blended working arrangements will at all times remain subject to the dynamic and changing needs of MU;
- Blended working is not a substitute for caring responsibilities;
- Office space and single office allocation will be impacted by blended working arrangements;
- These arrangements will be reviewed on the introduction of forthcoming legislation on the Right to Request Remote Working, to ensure legislative compliance; and
- The development of the University’s Strategic Plan 2023-2028 will inform the future development of the blended working offering in the University.
The interim blended working arrangements for Maynooth University are summarised as follows:
- Transitional Period: It is recognised that employees may need to make particular arrangements in order to facilitate a return to more substantial campus based work. Accordingly, there will be an initial transitional period;
- Effective Date: All approved interim blended working arrangements must be in place and operational by Tuesday 19th April 2022. (Post Easter);
- Duration: Approved interim blended working arrangements will be operational from April 2022 to April 2023;
- The Interim Blended Offering: The interim blended working pattern, available throughout this period has a minimum requirement of 60% campus-based working (3 days on campus, 2 days working off-campus). It should be noted that this will be on a pro-rata basis for part time workers;
- Employees may be asked to work on campus during peak periods of service delivery, or if unforeseen circumstances arise. As much notice as is reasonably practicable will be provided in these circumstances;
- Jurisdiction: Public sector employees must be resident on the island of Ireland to avail of blended working, and in accordance with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) requirements, must be available to attend in person where required;
- Equipment: Employees availing of an interim blended working arrangement will be provided with a laptop, keyboard, mouse and monitor. To be considered for an interim blended working arrangement, employees must provide the appropriate work station and location;
- Online Resources: Employees availing of an interim blended working arrangement must have access to a reliable and secure broadband connection. The University will provide the employee with access to VPN, if required;
- Health & Safety Requirements: The employee’s equipment and workstation must meet the required health and safety standards; and
- Data Protection: The University’s guidelines for secure and remote working must be adhered to at all times as provided for by the Maynooth University Data Protection Office.
- Employee has a minimum of 26 weeks’ service with Maynooth University in their current role;
- It is feasible for the role to be undertaken in a blended capacity;
- The employee and the respective Manager/Head of Department must agree that the role can be undertaken in a blended capacity;
- Employee has undertaken any training identified as required prior to taking up their interim blended working arrangement.
Health and Safety Requirements
- An employee’s off-campus working space must meet health and safety standards in order to work under an interim blended working arrangement;
- An employee will need to complete the Health and Safety Off-Campus Workstation Questionnaire for their off-campus workspace;
- To be covered by the University’s insurance, the employee’s off-campus workstation must meet Health and Safety standards; and
- If an accident occurs in the employee’s off-campus workspace, while the employee is working, they must report it in accordance with the University’s Accident Report Form.
Blended Working Pattern
- Blended working arrangements will be based on the employee’s current role;
- The blended working pattern available throughout this period has a minimum requirement of 60% campus-based work (3 days on campus-2 days working off campus);
- It will not be permitted to designate both a Friday and a Monday as part of a regular working pattern (Monday or Friday may form part of the working off campus pattern);
- There will be certain events/times that will require in person attendance, these events should be agreed in advance (where possible);
- When an employee is working off campus, they must remain available and contactable during normal working hours;
- If the employee’s or the Department’s circumstances change, the agreed blended working arrangement may need to be revised.
- Blended Working does not change an employee’s contractual entitlement in terms of general conditions of employment, pay, pensions, sick leave etc.;
- It is expected that staff will continue to work their contractual hours; and Annual leave, sick leave, and all other forms of statutory leave must be recorded as normal on ESS.
The Application Process
The employee must:
- Upon receiving the completed Interim Blended Working Application Form from the employee, the Manager/Head of Department must:
- Discuss the request with the employee;
- Complete Part 2 of the Interim Blended Working Application Form; and
- Approve or reject the request for interim blended working.
- Once Part 2 of the form is completed, both the employee and the Manager/Head of Department must sign it.
- The signed form is returned to the Human Resources office (Blendedworking@mu.ie) where it will be placed on the employee’s file.
Please note: The University will be maintaining institutional data on interim blended working arrangements for analysis and reporting purposes.