Advice & Support

Role being downgraded on return from maternity leave: ask the expert

Role being downgraded on return from maternity leave: ask the expert

I have worked for my company for 10 years and am due to return from maternity leave in the next few weeks. I am a senior member of my team and a line manager to one person. During my maternity leave a secondment was brought in to fill my role from another department. I had a meeting yesterday regarding my return and was told on my return I would no longer be managing that person. This has left me feeling vulnerable for my future as without managing I am basically the same as the rest of the team and worry that they are planning on making me redundant as soon as they can. My secondment is also staying on in the department rather than going back to there initial role. I am on a better package than the other members of the team. Are  they legally able to take my management from me without justification? And secondly can they down grade me or make me redundant?

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Asked to stay later: ask the expert

Asked to stay later: ask the expert

I work for the NHS and have a contract and job plan. I have 4 young children and use both childcare and parents to enable me to work full time. My job plan states I finish work at 5pm on a Friday afternoon. It takes me 15 minutes to get home. My childcare finishes at 5.15 on Fridays. I have been informed that I must attend a meeting away from work on a Friday afternoon which ends at 5.15pm By the time I travel home it will be 7pm. My childcare cannot stay late on that particular day and every other avenue to help me has been unsuccessful. My employer has made it quite clear that I must attend this meeting. I do not know my rights or what to do as, obviously, my family will always come first. I do need to keep my job though.

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Shifts changing: ask the expert

Shifts changing: ask the expert

I've worked for my employer as a care assistant for the past 8 years. I originally worked on days doing 12 hour shifts 8-8 for a period of 6 years. Due to problems with childcare my time keeping suffered and I was having a lot of sick days due to this. I also have a son who is registered disabled. Due to the above problems I was dismissed, but continued to work for them doing twilight (7 - 12) shifts and night shifts. After nearly 6 months they offered me a full-time position on nights as they noticed I had no sickness or lateness during this period, and after a formal chat it was agreed that these shifts were more suitable for me and more beneficial to the company as I was giving consistency to the company. Since becoming full time on nights my home life is less stressful as I had a shift pattern so I could work around my disabled son. Now, however, my employer has stated that we are going to have scattered shifts . I have stated this would have an adverse effect on my family, but she is showing no understanding and has gone ahead with the alterations anyway. I also have a 6-year-old daughter to provide childcare for. I would appreciate some advice on this.

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Job location changed: ask the expert

Job location changed: ask the expert

I am currently on probation with a large company which was extended after 3 months for a further 3 months due to targets not being met. I was originally interviewed for a sales consultant job and was told it could be based at one of three stores in the area. When I got offered the post I was told it was for a store near to home so I took it with the understanding that occasional cover may be needed at other stores. After a few weeks I was asked to cover another store close to home which I agreed to. I then moved back to the original store for a few days only to be told I was moving back to the cover store permanently effective the next day. I went along with this as location wise it didn't really affect me .I was then told I was to become a "floater"...covering all stores within up to a three-hour car journey away which I made clear I could not do due to no transport and childcare so the post was given to someone else (after them claiming I was interviewed to be a floater). I settled into my 2nd store very well for a couple of months when my manager casually told me one day that as 48 hours from then I was moving to the third store in a location that would mean finding private childcare and £300 approx costs extra per month. I expressed my concerns to my manager who agreed that as I was the only one in the area with a full time childcare requirements and no car it was unfair. After he spoke to the area manager he called to say that I was interviewed for any of the 3 stores (which is true although I would not have taken the job if I was offered the 3rd store) and that it was pretty much tough. It states in my contract that hours and location can change BUT given consultation and reasonable notice which I feel I wasn't given. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Flexible working turned down: ask the expert

Flexible working turned down: ask the expert

My original request for flexible hours was refused; I am contracted 15 hours over two days, which always worked out as a Saturday plus a late shift during the week 2-10, or two lates during a weekday if I didn't  work the weekend. I asked to split my weekday shift into 6-10 twice a week plus my Saturday, or three weekday shifts 5-10 if I didn't work a Saturday. They refused due to costs and because they said that, with the exception of Sundays, it is not possible for them to assign set days/shifts due to the nature of the business. I appealed, for two reasons; my colleague works a Sunday shift, and though she doesn't have set days she works apart from this, she attends uni on a Tuesday and Thursday so cannot work these days. The other reason was that they had gotten something wrong on the refusal letter as I hadn't asked to split my shift on a Saturday, but they had taken this into consideration and used this as a reason to refuse. During my appeal meeting, I was then told that no day of the week was allowed to be assigned as a 'set day' and that, though my colleague may be working a Sunday, she should not have it as ''her' shift. I offered them alternatives to account for the reason of costs; they had assumed I was asking for set weekdays, but I told them any weekday is fine, it was just the time I was asking to change. They said that if they were unable to cover the shift 9-6, me not being in until 6pm would affect the business, so I offered that if this did happen (historically it never has, as everyone prefers to work the day shifts, it has always been the late shifts which have been a problem to cover), I would pull some strings and make one-off arrangements to enable me to work 2-10 instead. I also assured them that I wasn't asking to split my Saturday shift, I would work any shift as assigned on this day. I then also offered that I might be able to continue to work 2-10 on a Thursday or Friday (my eldest son does not have preschool on these days) in order that this would provide more options for flexibility on my part. I also assured that during school holidays, I would be free to work any shift required (as I wouldn't need to pick my daughter up from school, or son from preschool). I promised that I would still make myself available for overtime, as I always have done, and to cover staff holiday.
My appeal was refused, for the same 'repeated' reasons as on my previous letter. They said that my colleague does not have set shifts - which she does; every Sunday and though she may not work a set day during the week as part of her other hours, she cannot work Tuesday or Thursday as she is at uni! She stated that as my rota was worked out 4-6 weeks in advance, this should give me plenty of time to arrange childcare... I am quite annoyed about this comment, as my problem is not finding someone to look after them, it is getting my daughter picked up from school.
(She attends school 5 miles from where I live, which is the same area my son attends preschool Mon-Weds. My mother-in-law will have my kids, but she lives 25 miles from us, so is happy to have the kids at our house, but does not want to go back and forth to school with my other son - a baby, having to squeeze three kids into her two-door car, plus lug a pushchair around) I literally have no one that can collect her from school. I can get her into after school club, but that is going to mean my husband will have to catch a train from work straight to her school, then take her home on the train as I will need the car for work, and she is likely to end up going to bed later to accommodate this option. It would also mean that if I am rota'd to work a shift Mon-Weds, I would have to collect my son from preschool early, as he attends 9-3, in order to get him home to my MIL before I started work at 2. I realise I can no longer appeal any further as my 'appeal has been exhausted' but I still feel that they are being a bit one-sided in relation to the flexibility, as I have made every effort to resolve each of their reasons against with a viable solution. Plus they are not forcing my colleague to work a Tuesday or Thursday when she is at uni - it seems a little stilted!
What can I do now? I have to return to work as it could financially cripple us if not. Do I return 'under protest' or just go back as normal? I am also concerned that they are now going to insist that I have to work day times, even though I have always worked Saturdays or late shifts, as my contract only states 2 days/15 hours- can they do this when they verbally agreed my shift pattern on recruitment and I have been working that pattern since I started?

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