BT Group: Homeworking Policy Review
18 February 2011
In November 2010 BT announced a wide-ranging review of its policy governing homeworking. The CWU Head Office team have been involved in difficult negotiations on the Company's proposals.
The initial proposals from the Company were:
- To remove the payment of travel costs on the occasions when homeworkers are required to attend an assigned BT building.
- To remove forthwith the London Weighting Allowance from existing and future homeworkers.
- To remove the Utility Allowance and the provision of furniture from Occasional Homeworkers and re-classify them as Mobile/Agile Workers.
From the outset the Company made clear their intention to implement changes. If necessary they would invoke the notice to end homeworking and re-offer on revised terms as outlined above.
Through negotiation the Union has managed to change the Company's position, as follows:
- The proposal to make homeworkers pay for any travel costs when they are required to attend a BT building has been removed and the current policy will apply.
- London Weighting Allowance will not apply to people choosing to become homeworkers after 1 April 2011.
Existing homeworkers will have the current London Weighting policy apply to them. That is, if they continue to reside in areas for which Inner or Outer London Weighting applies they will continue to be paid the allowance appropriate to that area. Should a Home based worker be in receipt of a London Weighting Allowance that is not appropriate for the area in which they reside the allowance will be adjusted or ceased accordingly at the end of a 2-year period.
Occasional Homeworkers will be reclassified as Agile or Mobile Office Workers. The definitions of Agile and Mobile Office Workers are contained within the Company letter dated 30 January 2011. Neither of these classifications will be able to claim the Utility Allowance. The proposal to remove the provision of furniture for either Agile or Mobile Office workers has been withdrawn for those in these categories who work from home on average more than one full working day per week.
During these discussions the Head Office team has continued to press the Union's policy to achieve a significant increase in the current Utility Allowance. Whilst we have not been able to get the Company to agree to a significant increase they have agreed to a review in October 2011.
Throughout these difficult discussions the Head Office team has argued strongly that these changes will provide disincentives to people volunteering for more flexible working. Nevertheless the Company have stated their clear intention to press ahead.