Can my job share be taken away?

I have been with my employer since 2012, working on a full-time contract. In 2014 I went on maternity leave for a year and before I returned I asked for, and was given, the opportunity to return to my previous role on a part-time basis and a job share was employed. Up until today my role has been split 50:50 between myself and my job share, with each of us working a 2.5 day week. On Friday my job share handed in her notice and today my boss has emailed to say they are reverting my role to a full-time position so will be making my part-time role redundant. They have offered me the full-time position, but if I choose not to take it I will be out of a job. There was no consultation before I received the notice of redundancy. The full-time job is exactly the same as I am currently doing on a part-time basis, but will be carried out by one person rather than on a job share basis. I do not want to return to work full time as I want to spend time with my son while he is young (the job involves a lot of travel and nights away). Is it legal for my employers to make my part-time position redundant under these circumstances?

It seems that your employer considered that your role was suitable for a job share, so it would be interesting to know what has changed, other than your colleague’s resignation. They don’t, for example, seem to have made any effort to recruit another job share.

Both the flexible working legislation and laws around indirect discrimination require your employer to justify reasons to require a role to be full time by reference to business need. Under discrimination law, any justification must be proportionate. It might be that your employer will claim that they have tried a job share and it did not work, but without evidence of that, you may have a claim in the Employment Tribunal if you are indeed made redundant because you don’t revert to full time.

You should be consulted regarding any proposed redundancy. I suggest you use those consultation meetings to make clear how well the job share worked and ask why no attempt has been made to recruit a replacement.

If you are made redundant, I suggest you get specialist advice on your situation. Don’t delay because there is a three-month time limit to start the process of claiming at the Tribunal.

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