Changes to flexible agreement: ask the expert

I am on maternity leave. My employer agreed to a jobshare on my return in November. I received my contract and all was in order. They have now contacted me and advised me that due to restructuring within the company I can no longer go back to work as the jobshare option and that I must go back full time or there is no job for me. I have arranged childcare, etc. Where do I stand?

From the facts you’ve given, whilst your employer (like many employers) is suffering in the current economic climate, it sounds like their actions are unreasonable. You say you received a new contract which I assume was signed by both parties following your request for flexible working under the Flexible Working Regulations? Even though you haven’t worked under the new contract your employer is effectively breaching the contract by now informing you that you have to return full-time (You couldn’t have worked under the new contract as yet due to your maternity leave and any detriment you suffer due to your maternity leave could be deemed as discriminatory behaviour on the part of your employer). I’m not recommending that you immediately claim discrimination – it may well be that on further discussion with your employer they can understand that irrespective of whether you are 1 person performing your role or 2 in a part-time capacity, it still adds up just to 1 headcount. They need to appreciate that you’ve made plans to return 3 days a week, and by doing a U turn on the contract confirming this arrangement, it could be deemed that you are effectively being made redundant (even though you haven’t worked under it yet). For further advice, you may wish to contact ACAS or your local CAB, if discussions with your employer cannot resolve the situation amicably.


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