Can flexible working be cancelled for everyone in a team? Ask the expert

I have been working flexibly for 3 years because I have 2 children under 3. I work for a US company. They have said that they want to cancel all flexible working contracts for my team. My question is if my reason for applying to work flexibly is that I have 2 kids under 6 and it was approved am I protected?

You have been working flexibly for 3 years so your employer at that time must have agreed to your flexible working. If an employer agrees to a change in an employee’s terms and conditions, then this becomes a permanent change in the employment contract going forward.
Legally therefore, an existing employment contract can only be varied with the agreement of both parties. So if your employer wants to alter your employment contract, he will have to formally consult with you and the rest of your team and try to get you to agree to the changes. If you refuse to change, then your employer would have to terminate your employment and rehire you on new employment terms. If they went down this route, your employer would need to follow legal dismissal procedures and failure to do this might give you a claim of unfair dismissal against them.
So, you are protected against your employer just altering your working hours immediately. Over the long term your employer can change them, but without your consent you would have to be dismissed and rehired under different terms and conditions. If it got to this point, you might want to get further legal advice.
I would suggest you talk to your employer to find out the rationale for cancelling flexible working and point out that formal consultation is required before they can legally change your employment contract.
Good luck.
Whilst every care has been taken in compiling this answer, WorkingMums cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice.




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