Metro Bank - working part time as a Senior Legal Counsel

Elish Kennedy Metro Bank
September 9, 2023

I’ve worked at Metro Bank for four years, initially as a contractor and now as Senior Legal Counsel in the Legal team. I am a specialist employment lawyer, so work to support the bank with a wide variety of colleague-related matters. 

I‘ve worked flexibly in different ways since I returned from maternity leave after my son was born. Prior to joining Metro Bank, I worked four days a week at another organisation, and I was pleasantly surprised at how accommodating my clients were in relation to my non-working day. I think it helped that it was a Wednesday – it is rare that anything is so urgent it can’t wait until the next morning.

When I first joined Metro Bank as a contractor I was working full-time. When I converted to become a permanent colleague, I spoke to my manager about the options and what would best support me and my family – by that point, my son was starting school full-time. We agreed I’d work 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday – so, an early finish each day rather than a day off a week. Like many organisations, we now work in a hybrid way too, and mostly from home. I’m in the office once a week, so I get the best of both worlds – I can balance my work with my home responsibilities.

I have been working this pattern for a few years now, and everyone gains from it – I can do the school runs, ferry my son around to his various after-school activities and be on hand to help with homework. What’s really important to me is that at Metro Bank I feel empowered to not have to ‘hide’ my working hours – my team, and colleagues in general, are very supportive.

I am a big advocate for part-time working – any companies that don’t recognise the benefits for them are missing a trick. Often the term ‘part-time’ can be thrown around to suggest someone is slacking. I’m sure you’ve seen it in the past – if someone comes in late or leaves early, they might get called “part-timer!”.  The reality is that more often than not, part-time colleagues work efficiently and in such a way that the company has the benefit of an employee getting the work done in the part-time hours the company is paying for.

I have to be honest and say that I don’t stick rigidly to a 3pm finish. Sometimes I make myself available for important meetings that can’t be scheduled for earlier in the day, or I log back in to get something finished. That’s my choice though, and that’s the beauty of flexible working.

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