Advice & Support

Flexible working refused: ask the expert

Flexible working refused: ask the expert

I submitted my flexible working request and met with my manager yesterday who said they cannot do any of my requests. Previously I worked 9-5 Monday to Friday with occasional (unpaid) weekend work. In my letter I requested to reduce my working week to four days and do two days from home. Before going on maternity leave I worked two days from home because of ill health and my work were extremely supportive of me which I am eternally grateful for. However, they say I cannot do part time due to additional costs. I didn't ask what these costs are. But surely if I drop a day the reduction in my salary will offset paying someone else for that day? Also if I were to work from home two days that would reduce their office costs?
Secondly, they rejected my homeworking [which I asked for as I have a very long commute] saying that if something bad happened they would need everyone in the same place so the work could be passed on easier. I think what they were trying to say falls under the point: inability as an employer to reorganise the work within the existing workforce. I was also told that there was no hidden agenda and that the person covering my work had nothing to do with it.  My manager called this an informal meeting before the flexible working one. 

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Permanent replacement found for my job while I was on maternity leave: ask the expert

Permanent replacement found for my job while I was on maternity leave: ask the expert

I am on maternity leave I am due back in the spring. I am contracted to 21 hours a week. Prior to my maternity I worked a 14-hour shift on Sundays and a 7-hour shift on Wednesdays afternoons. However, I emailed my HR department last week to ask if I could possibly work either on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays as I now go to university from Tuesday to Friday every week. I work in a healthcare organisation where we work every day of the week. However, she phoned me and told me that they can't accomodate my chosen days so I will have to apply for bank staff. I reminded her that I have worked long shifts on Sundays for the past year. She just said they have recruited a lot of staff since I left for maternity leave. I have since learned that someone has been employed permanently in my post. HR said if I apply for bank staff they will try and get me regular shifts. From my experience with this firm every member of staff struggles to get overtime. The next day I found a post advertised online for the same firm but a different department which suits my uni free days. I emailed the Head of the Department and she emailed me application forms. I then informed my HR and asked her what is the procedure if I would like a department transfer. I even told her that I have been sent application forms by the other department. She didn't reply. I have also informed the new department that I am already an employee as I thought they weren't aware. They haven't replied either. Where do I stand? I haven't applied for bank staff or resigned either. I just wanted to sort things out beforehand. Can the firm ask staff to apply for a bank post verbally? I feel I am not being fairly treated. 

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Asked to pay back OMP after career break: ask the expert

Asked to pay back OMP after career break: ask the expert

Following my first period of maternity leave, I took a 2-year career break.  During this time I fell pregnant again, so the career break was frozen and second period of maternity leave began for I was paid OMP.  Now the career break has finished and I have given the required notice of my return to work.  I have requested family friendly hours to fit in with my family commitments.  I was offered one role which did not fit in with the requested hours and they were not prepared to be flexible on this.  I had a verbal offer of a role which I accepted, but was then told I would have go through a selection process and fill out an application form and attend an interview.  I did not get this role.  My employer has now written to make me redundant with nine weeks pay.  However, they want me to repay the OMP which ultimately means I owe them £5,000. I have appealed this decision and they say their original position still stands.  As it was my intention to return to work and not leave, is the OMP repayment clause enforceable?  Plus how long is this clause valid for?  Do I have a case to go to Employment Tribunal?  Currently I do not have a job so have no means of paying them back.

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Employer inflexible on night shifts: ask the expert

Employer inflexible on night shifts: ask the expert

I returned to work from maternity leave earlier this year and prior to returning to work I made a flexible working application to reduce my hours and work an agreed shift pattern. This application was refused on the grounds of pending organisational changes and I was advised to reapply for work life balance as this could be agreed on a temporary basis and reviewed once the organisation changes came in. The organisational changes happened in October and I was told unofficially by a manager that I would be expected to follow the same shift pattern as all other staff within my team which includes night shifts. Since then I have made four applications to my employer for flexible working all of which have not been dealt with properly as I have been told that each application does not match the underlying shift pattern. I have pointed out that as it is an application for flexible working it will never exactly match the shift pattern. More importantly I have explained to my employer that I would struggle to work night shifts as my husband works nights so I would not have anyone to care for my child. I am not able to find an overnight childcare provision and my parents can only help for part of the year. I have suggested that I am allowed to work fewer nights than the rest of the team which my team are happy to cover, but I have been told that I must cover all of my own nights and secondly I have suggested that I am able to share my nights with another member of staff who is currently being allowed to sit outside of the shift pattern and does not have to work nights. I have quite sternly been told not to include that person in any of my considerations in my application. I now really feel that I am being left in an impossible position between failing to follow my employer's instructions to work nights as it would involve leaving my child at home alone with no one to care for him which I am not prepared to do. I am more than prepared to work with my employer to come to a reasonable resolution, but they do not seem interested in considering anything other than the shift pattern that I would work if I did not need flexible working. Where can I go from here?

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Forced to go full time? Ask the expert

Forced to go full time? Ask the expert

I'm due to go on maternity leave, but have been asked to go full time upon my return, having worked part time since my last pregnancy. I asked them to consider increasing my hours from 20 to 30, but they have said that my role requires a person to be present at all times and job sharing just wouldn't work. I am in a marketing role and they have said that recruitment agencies will find it difficult to source anyone willing to do the remainder of my hours if I stay with 20 hours or job share. Can they force me to go full time - will they push me to leave if I refuse to go full time? They want a decision before I go on maternity leave.

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