Flexible hours not agreed: ask the expert

I’m on the last month of maternity leave. I’ve requested my employer to  let me use my holidays for this year to reduce my working days from 5 to 4 until I run out of accrued holidays. I’ve also requested that once my accrued holidays are used up, I’d like to reduce my working days from 5 to 4 on a permanent basis. My employer has agreed to my first request of using the accrued holidays, but on the second request it said that in around 5 months my working hours can be reviewed. I understand that my department is highly likely to go through a restructure in a couple of months. I’d have liked to have agreed to permanent terms from the outset, as I feel that I may lose out on my rights to flexible working if I accept returning to work without reaching a final decision on cutting my working hours. Please could you advise.

It is good that your employer has allowed you to take your holiday as you requested to reduce your working hours.  However, the request to work 4 days per week permanently as a flexible working request has been denied.  If you are not happy with that outcome you have the right to appeal.

You do need to bear in mind that if the department is to be restructured there is no guarantee of what working hours/roles will be available if that goes ahead. Therefore even agreeing permanent part-time hours now will not guarantee that the role would remain as such in the new structure.


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