Advice & Support

Shift pattern changed: ask the expert

Shift pattern changed: ask the expert

I am currently a part-time working mum with 2 children. I have worked with my company for a number of years and after maternity leave I found I was unable to return as my shift pattern of a 7-day fortnight meaning I would work 2 days then have 7 days off. Although long days - I start at 7am and finish at 5 pm, so I have left for work before the children wake and am home when they are in bed, my husband and I could make it work as he (who also works shifts) could request his days off as the 2 days that I work. We have done this for approximately 5 years now. Last week my company proposed a new shift pattern which would be two weeks on an early shift, new times of 6am- 5.30pm then two weeks of late shifts from 2.30 pm -2am. Do I have any rights to fight this? My main concern being that on my last night shift is I wouldn't return home till 3am at the earliest and my husband frequently has to leave for his job any time between 2.30am - 5am. This means that transport will be an issue (we share our car for work, public transport is not an option) and I will be expected to start my day about 3 hours later at 6am which is the normal time my children wake. This would happen fortnightly. Sometimes the overlap might mean that I would not be home before he has to leave for work, but childcare at this time is not possible. Also the impact of being responsible for 2 young children after only having 2-3 hours sleep  is surely unreasonable? I would be really grateful if you could advise me on my rights. I am willing to stay on the earlies as we can fit this around my husband (even though childcare is not even a possibility for the earlies as I leave at 5am to get to work), but for me to work 2 weeks of these late shifts seems so unfair being a mum who doesn't want to hand in her notice because she can't accommodate the new shift pattern in a family routine.

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Colleague granted reduced hours and I am refused: ask the expert

Colleague granted reduced hours and I am refused: ask the expert

I am currently on maternity leave and due to return to work in June. I have applied to reduce my hours from full time to 25 hours a week. Another colleague in my office has also asked to reduce her hours and even though no decision had been made on her application when mine went in, she has had her hours accepted on a tempory 3 month trial yet I have been refused mine. They have said that the hours left from me reducing and those of the other colleague (which amounts to 20 hours) does not warrant the cost and effort of training up a new employee part time and that we do not have adequate space within our department for another worker- even though there is adequate space and another colleague who also only works part time only works mornings so we could desk share. They also said that we wouldn't meet targets if I went part time and that work could not be rota'd fairly. Why weren't these reasons also said to my colleague? They went on to say that while I have been off on my maternity leave, my work has been covered by my team leader which has meant that some of her own work has not been done and this is another reason they are refusing my request.  I feel this is unfair as firstly I am not even there as I am on maternity leave and secondly, how they have arranged to cover my maternity leave is nothing to do with me, and if they haven't managed to fulfil some work then why have they agreed to my other colleague's request to go part time? Please can you help in any way. I am finding this very upsetting and stressful and it is ruining the rest of my maternity leave. I really do think I am being treat unfairly.

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Job being made redundant on return from maternity leave: ask the expert

Job being made redundant on return from maternity leave: ask the expert

I'm one of two producers on a weekly TV show and have a full-time contract. I've been at the company for 17 years. I'm also a single mum with no family support. I returned to work after a year of maternity leave. I had a meeting a week before my return date & I was told there was a lot of changes going on & they felt it would be better for me to move onto a programme that was more office based. This project would only take me up to June 2014 and when I asked what would happen to me afterwards they said they didn't know. Since being back I have heard office gossip that they are making my original role redundant - they hasn't been any formal consultation about this - but I asked my line manager and he said it was likely this would happen and they know they have to find me another job. Can they make my role redundant and keep the other producer (a male) there - why can they chose him over me? As I accepted to work on the other programme does that mean I have no rights back to my old job? When discussing the possible roles for me from June - I was offered a month of overnight edits for a short series so a significant change in terms and hours which I said I can't do. Now they have offered me another role just for two weeks which creates more problems for me with childcare than if I went back to my old job. I have no problems with my original role being made redundant due to restructuring, but it has to be done within the law and fairly. Can you advise on the law of this please? Also in terms of a new role what would the law see as a suitable alternative? My old job was Monday to Friday - fairly normal hours but the ad hoc late night. They are muting possibly working on a programme on a Saturday now. None of the above has been put in writing and I don't know whether I should do this.

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Threatened with demotion after maternity leave: ask the expert

Threatened with demotion after maternity leave: ask the expert

I am 6 1/2 months pregnant. I currently have two main aspects to my role and report directly to the boss (CEO). The firm I work for has accidentally revealed that it is undergoing a restructure, and under the new organisation, my role is being split up. A new person is potentially being brought in above me (although on the same pay scale) and will be taking over half my current role and reporting in to this person will be someone responsible for the other half of my role, as well as a couple of other people. I am being pressed to commit to my maternity leave, but don't know where I stand legally. Whilst the two separate aspects of the role are busy and demanding, they complement each other in terms of challenge. I have been advised that the firm is expecting me to take up the lesser half of the role, which is not comparable to the other half in terms of career progression, challenge or indeed worthy of a full-time job. I have received excellent performance reports to date on both aspects of the role and have been at the firm for around five years. Please can you let me know where I stand? 

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Sidelined on return from maternity leave: ask the expert

Sidelined on return from maternity leave: ask the expert

I have just returned from 52 weeks maternity leave and the interim cover is still in place (her contract ends at the end of April). In addition to the role I am employed to do the interim has been covering a vacant position. No effort has been made by the employer to hand over work. I have no laptop due to my e-mail account being deleted and therefore have been sat twiddling my thumbs. My line manager asked me to do some work which is completly different to which I am employed to do and I refused. Today is my 3rd day back and I have spent it sat at home (whilst the interim continues to carry out the role which Im employed to do). In addition to this, at the end of my first day back I was told that there was going to be a re-structure, reducing the management positions by 1 but creating a position of a lesser status; I have been told that we have to re-apply for our jobs. The interim has been included in the pool. I find the whole situation unfair and I believe I am receiving less than favourable treatment - could you let me know your thoughts? There is also a bit more background whereby I believe my manager resented me taking maternity leave earlier than what was originally agreed.

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