Advice & Support

Changing flexible working and work location after maternity leave: ask the expert

Changing flexible working and work location after maternity leave: ask the expert

I have been with my company for 2.5 years and am currently in my sixth month of maternity leave. I recently submitted my Flexible Working Application (FWA) requesting a change in hours from 9-5.30 to 8-4.30, remaining as a full time worker. HR subsequently informed me (via conference call) that my requested hours would not work in my role. Additionally the company has changed the support ratio and parameters of my role (including work location) whilst I’ve been on maternity leave and as such my original role no longer exists. When I challenged them on this I was told the person carrying out my maternity cover is able to meet the new location and working hours requirements. The implication was that I fall in line and accept the new arrangements with the knowledge that my temporary cover can easily become a permanent arrangement. I asked about alternative positions within the business, but was told that none existed. Agreeing with the new terms has significant implications for me. My original role was designed around flexible working; my employment contract states I am a home-based mobile worker. I also gave full disclosure of my medical condition (a result of childhood cancer) in the company medical questionnaire upon joining the business. The impact of my physical mobility challenges was also verified via a Workstation (DSE) Risk Assessment carried out by the local Health and Safety Manager. I have all of this documented. As such the business has full awareness of the difficulties a commute into central London presents to me, and the practical advantages that a ‘drive to work’ commute affords with respect to my physical mobility challenges. I feel they are consciously discriminating against me in terms of my disability and maternity needs as they aware of my medical history and the reasonable adjustments required. I now have a follow-up call scheduled with a company HR Manager this week. From a legal standpoint do I have any options that will ensure I maintain a role as per my current employment contract? Are they in breach of my employment contract? Are they legally allowed to change my flexible working status and work location without my consent? As an alternative I would consider a voluntary redundancy package, but is there a minimum standard I should insist on (e.g. am I entitled to ensure I am financially supported until the close of this year)?

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Given new full-time role I now don't want: ask the expert

Given new full-time role I now don't want: ask the expert

I have been working part time with a company for the past 5 years. Last year when I was pregnant we got told that a reorganisation was taking place and we were all at risk. When I was away on maternity leave, I was told that my role was at risk, and I could apply for a new role if I wished. I applied for it. After a few days I got a call from HR saying that they had taken legal advice and that I would automatically be given that role. I was very happy and said yes to the role. After a few days I got a call again and got told that this was a full-time role and as it was a new role they didn't have to meet my hours’ requirement. I was given time to think and get back to them. I said yes again. A few days later, I got the appointment letter for the new role. Unfortunately, things on my personal front have changed and we (family) have decided to move to a different city. My employer agreed to let me work from that city. However, I am now not very sure that I want the role any more. I think it will be difficult for me to cope with the role: it's full time and it involves a lot of travel (which was not there in my previous role). I went back to HR and said I was having second thoughts and didn't want the role any more. I have now been told that as I am now refusing the role it will amount to resignation and I will not be entitled to any redundancy. I will also now have to return the enhanced maternity pay I received from the company. I have also been told that I can do the trial period of four weeks if I want. As I am on maternity leave, it will be difficult for me to do the trial period. I would rather be made redundant and move on. Please can anyone advise me about my situation?

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Do I have a case for unfair dismissal? Ask the expert

Do I have a case for unfair dismissal? Ask the expert

I have worked for 5 1/2 years and returned from maternity leave to be advised a few months in that my job is to be made redundant due to closure of the clinic and they are to set a new partner service up where the nurses will be transferred to and they do not want a receptionist. This happened in January, but this clinic is still open and a nurse is running reception and doing my duties assisted by a member of the Customer Services team. Where do I stand for unfair dismissal? I am also trialling a job in the Customer Services team and have not received the same training as a new starter so have been told I have performance issues. They keep asking if I am staying after my trial and I am only 1 week in. They also ask if I am having any more children. I feel pressured into leaving at this time. I have saved everything on paper that they have given me, including emails and rosters for new job.

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Can my contract be altered due to pregnancy?: ask the expert

Can my contract be altered due to pregnancy?: ask the expert

I got pregnant while covering someone's maternity leave. My contract is open-ended, but when I signed my maternity cover contract my manager said that if I got pregnant she will have to change my contract as I cannot cover maternity when pregnant. She has a right to do that? Even if my contract has no end date? Sometimes she makes her own rules so I am confused about my rights.

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Bullying during pregnancy: ask the expert

Bullying during pregnancy: ask the expert

I have worked at the same company for 8 1/2 years and throughout this time was promoted to a senior position within the branch - I asked to attend a Supervisors course back in 2006 and have this on email, but it never materialised. Others within the branch were sent on these courses and fast tracked through promotion and were promoted to my managers early last year as soon as I became pregnant. I have been subjected to what I see as a campaign of humiliation and bullying and I have had no support from the management. Indeed I have been told off when I have complained about attacks. I was in tears at work every day. I advised that I feared this was all just an excuse to remove me from my job, but this was dismissed.  Now I am on annual leave before taking my maternity leave and on the 2nd day of my annual leave I received an e-mail from the HR dept advising me to urgently contact work and that due to streamlining processes 4 people in the branch need to become 3, and that I am one of those affected, that I have to attend a meeting while on annual leave and that the decision will be made in 2 weeks. I do not know if I have a case but I have been through so much stress and heartache because of all this (since I became pregnant) and now there will only be 3 people anyway as I am on maternity leave until next year so this just seems like the opportunity they have been waiting for to use as an excuse to get rid of me.

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