Flexible working after maternity leave: ask the expert

I am about to return to work after 10 months maternity leave. I was a full time Marketing Manager and requested to return 3 days a week (21 hours). It was refused, and all they stated was “for purely business reasons”. Now, they’ve offered me (and I’ve accepted) a three-month contract doing a role part time, but after that I will have to return to the Marketing Manager role full time, or resign. What can I do?

There are two ways to ask for flexible hours when returning from maternity leave and it is not clear which route you have chosen. The first way is to make a general request. Your employer is under a duty to consider the request and can only refuse the request if there are good reasons for not being able to accommodate the hours you asked for e.g. it is not possible to properly do your job on fewer days.

If their refusal of your request is unreasonable then you could claim sex discrimination. They do not appear to have given you proper reasons and you could therefore appeal their decision and ask them to reconsider, and if they refuse again, to fully explain their reasons for the refusal. The other way to request your change in hours is through the flexible working rights under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Employers must follow a set procedure and will only be able to refuse a request where there is a recognised business ground for doing so. There are strict time limits that must be followed in this procedure and a meeting must be held with you to discuss your request. If your employer fails to follow the procedure or does not give proper business reasons for refusing your request then you can claim compensation.

To make a flexible working request you must satisfy certain conditions, such as:
– Be an employee
– Have worked for the employer continuously for 26 weeks at the date the application is made
– Not have made another application to work flexibly under the right during the past 12 months (if your previous request was just a general request then you can also now make a request under the ‘flexible working’ provisions)

To make the request you must make a dated, written (whether on paper, e-mail or fax) request to your employer setting out the following:
– That the application is made under the statutory right to request a flexible working pattern
– Confirmation that you meet the eligibility criteria
– The flexible work arrangements that you seek, whether to care for a child or an adult
– An explanation of what effect, if any, you think making the change would have on the employer and how, in your opinion, any such effect might be dealt with
– The date on which the proposed change should become effective i.e. after your new three month job has come to an end
– Whether a previous application has been made to the employer and if so, when it was made.

Once the request is submitted, your employer has to invite you to a meeting and offer you the right to be accompanied. There are specific time limits they must follow in arranging the meeting and then providing you with their decision. You will also have the right to appeal if you are unhappy with their decision. Reasons for refusal of your request are limited and include:
– The burden of additional costs
– Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demands
– Inability to reorganise work among existing staff
– Inability to recruit additional staff
– Detrimental impact on quality
– Detrimental impact on performance
– Insufficiency of work during the periods you are proposing to work, and/or
– Planned structural changes

If they do not give reasons for refusal which fall into the above categories then you may have a claim for sex discrimination and if you choose to resign as a result then also a claim for unfair dismissal. At this stage I would recommend that you either appeal your first request or submit an application under the flexible working provisions to reduce your hours if this was not the route you initially chose. You should ask for the hours to be changed after your three-month contract has ended. If you would like further advice then please contact Tracey Guest on 0161 969 3131.




Comments [44]

  • Anonymous says:

    hi I’m on mat leave at the moment and go back to work in Feb (well that’s what I suggested) but I’ve heard from another colleague that the person who was temping my position has been offered a permeate role but nothing has been said to me from HR. For this reason I have asked if I can go back part time basis for the first three months and for them to consider a reduction in my hours to 9-4:30pm and thereafter go full time 9-5pm with half an hour lunch. Can my manager refuse this request?

  • Shelley morris says:

    After coming back from maternity my original childminder has had to stop looking after my child which mean I am looking at different child care arrangement – i enquired about keeping my working hours the same but reducing my availability down to accommodate this which I was told that reducing availability would mean a reduction in pay.

    Can they do this?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been on maternity leave for just under six months and due to return in December. Prior to maternity leave I worked 5 days a week on a 5/7 basis from 9.00/9.30am to 17.30/18.00. I would like to return to work 3 days (1 full day and 2 x 9-3pm). The organisation is in tourism and my current role is to manage a team of staff and open up and close down the attraction. It is a small team. I am the only person in this role. Realistically I don’t think the business can offer me my current role back on a flexible basis as I think it will be difficult for a job share. If they can offer me the next role down on a lower salary do I have to take it or do I have a right to be paid my current salary for doing the next level down if it means I can work my new flexible hours? I have filled in a request form and they have met me to discuss the options, I think their concern is that I wouldn’t be available to open up and close down on two days and it would be hard to find someone to do that (I think) – I have said I am happy to do anything so I can have the hours – so I just need to know what they should pay me.

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi,
      You can request flexible working in your current role and this should be given due consideration. It can be turned down for any of eight reasons. If granted, you would be entitled to be paid the same pro rata, but if you negotiate a different role you would not necessarily get the same terms and conditions.

  • Emilia Guzik says:

    Hi i just finishe my maternity leave , i request for change my shift as currently i work on a day shift 45 hours 5 out of 7, i would like to do night shift 18 hours, three days for 6 hours, i told them that i would like to do sun, mon and tues . They agree for 18 hours but they say they want me to do sun ,mon and fri. Can they do that, as i dont want to work on fridays.

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi,
      Flexible working can be a negotiation process. Have they given any reason why they want you to work the Friday and not the Tuesday eg is it harder for them to cover the Friday? If there is a good business reason then they can offer this as a compromise. It would then depend on whether you are prepared to accept this compromise or risk them turning down the request on any of the grounds allowable under the legislation or whether you can come up with your own compromise that addresses their legitimate business concerns [if they are legitimate]. If they did turn it down, you can still return to your original role on your original hours. If you feel their reasons are not based on allowable business reasons you could appeal.

  • Alice says:

    Hello Tracy,
    One question:
    Do the company have the right to ask me for another 6 months trial period after I come back from maternity leave and change my contract in fix days?

  • Kirstie barnes says:

    Hi im wondering if you can help. Im due back to work in june but im needing to go back in april as cant afford to not get paid. They have now announced job loses in my role. Meaning some will be able to have redundency. I pit in a flexible working pattern to move closer to home and reduce to one 3 day week 1 4 day week. Previously working 5 days. Only to have it declined completely i believe this has been declined to try to push me out of my job to dave the company paying me redundency. Can they do this? If i go for the redundency whats the chances ill get it? My payout would be around 5k but its a big company

    Thank you x

  • Frances tate says:

    Hello there,

    A couple of basic questions I think and would be grateful for the advise?

    If my return to work request is declined (possibly due to the charity’s budget) do I have to pay back the maternity leave money?

    Also if they offer me an alternative position in the company and I don’t want to do it and decline it – then what?

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Fran

  • Jemma says:

    Hi.
    I am currently on maternity leave and due to return to work in April. I emailed my manager last week asking for a reduction in hours from 20 over 5 days, down to 16 over 2 days. I even detailed the reason being that the childcare costs would take a third of my salary before I had even paid other bills. I received a letter back saying they can’t accomodate this. Can you tell me where I stand and what I can do please.

  • liz says:

    Hi, I’m working as restaurant manager. I’ve requested to have fix day off to cover the day that my son’s not in nursery (Monday & Saturday). I worked there for a year. I really don’t see why they cannot give me these but I think I won’t. Is there anything I can do?

  • Pippa says:

    Hi,

    I need some advice please, I am due to return to work from maternity leave in January 2016, I have requested flexible working hours through the proper channels, had a meeting to discuss, got told to fill in the form and then heard back via letter no invite to meeting that it was refused.

    I previously worked 5 days out of 7 40 hours and have asked for later shifts which were already on the rota and 2 set days off a week so i could arrange childcare however the refusal letter just states that it has been refused due to the nature of the business and they cannot guarantee set days off for me. Is this suitable for an appeal as previously i had pretty much every weekend off however i am know asking for one day a weekend and one day midweek!

    Please help?

    Thanks.

  • Louise says:

    I have asked to reduce my hours by one day and have been refused as there is not enough staff to cover me is there anything I can do?? I am a full time aneasthetic nurse covering day back night on call and weekend shifts I absolutely can not manage full time please any advice welcome

  • Samantha says:

    I have requested to return to work on a part time basis. I currently work shifts (2 days and 2 nights), I have requested to drop one night. They have turned me down on the reason of cost on overtime and this will cost them more to cover the night duty. My company relocated whilst I was pregnant, my journey time is now (1hr 30 mins each way) on top of sorting out childcare I will be unable to return full time. I am willing to be flexible on my return but they have blanket refused. Surely they will have to pay out more in overtime if I leave, so is this an acceptable reason?

  • Ellie says:

    Hello,

    I was working 35 hours a week before I left for maternity leave.
    I put in a flexible work request to ask if I could work 25 hours per week with times of 10am to 3pm.
    This was refused as it was too difficult to get someone else to cover my position for the tines I am not there during the day and also Due to health and safety reasons.
    They told me I would need to start at 9am.
    I am now able to do this and requested to work from 9am to 2pm this solved the problem of getting someone to cover my position As they could do 2pm to 5pm and it also saved the health and safety issue.
    Now they are saying the only role available is 8 hours a week but they will allow me to do 10 and there are no other positions available.
    What do I do?

  • Anonymous says:

    I would like some advise please. I am returning to work after my second child. When i returned the first time (3 yrs ago) i reduced my working to four days a week. I now would like to do one of those four days from home. They have refused this request verbally saying they don’t think it will work and others have asked recently so cant say yes to everyone. I have asked for them to the reasons in writing to me, but they said they will give me a call to discuss. What can i do? Thanks.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi there I'm wandering if you could help, I'm due to return to work May 1st, I have requested flexible working hours 2-3 days 10 hr days and they states they would advertise a job share to cover the other 2-3 days per week!! (Job share) They asked for one month and arranged a second interview today, I arrived today and they have refused my request on the basis they have not managed to find someone else to fulfill my other job share. They say they have pulled the advertisement down yet there is still another 4 weeks left before my return date Infact 6 days including holidays owed!!
    I have been informed that Infact no one over the last month as even been in for an interview, yet I have seen the job advertised with a massive amount of applications, I have asked why it is not possible for my role to be accepted and within the 6 week time frame interviewing proceeds? Bearing in mind there are four "service advisor" positions on the reception and my position as not been fulfilled temp whilst on my maternity? Ie; they haven't filled my position? Also the other 3 advisors would be able to handle my customers between them quite easily or at least until the job share position had been recruited? I feel I'm being totally fobbed off, I know I can appeal but wandering whether in turn it will only lead to a bad reference and still no return to work? Please advise I have worked for this company 50 hour weeks for the last ten years!!
    Thank you

    Editor: If you feel they have only paid lip service to finding a job share, you could appeal on those grounds and put the above points to them to find out why they have not interviewed any of those who applied for the job. There are eight grounds on which a flexible work request can be turned down, but the employer must show that they have given the request due consideration – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/working-mums-magazine/hot-topics/7890872/extending-flexible-working.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    hiya, I need some advice please
    I returned back to work on 5ht jan 2015 after maternity leave to work 3 days as childcare had let me down xmas eve,which I phoned my employer and told him the circumstances and I asked him if he wanted me to still come into work starting 5th jane. and he said yes.
    my contract is actually to work 4 days a week but due to child care I only come in for 3 days.
    I requested with my employer for me to temporarily work 3 days until I could guarantee a place for my child in childcare in april 2016. at the moment it has taken my employer just over 3months to set up a meeting.
    any how, from the way my employer was speaking I think he is going to refuse my application, he's been playing the card "that I am breaching my contract by only working 3 days when I should be working 4" (please note that my employer is not paying me for the day im not working)
    what will happen if he refuses my request, I am unable to go back to working 4 days.
    will he dismiss me on the grounds of breaching contract?
    will be make me resign my job?
    will be make me redundant?

    Please help .. thank you x

    Editor: Have you recently filed a flexible working request to change your hours to four days a week? If not, you could apply formally to reduce to three days, but this would be a permanent change to your contract. It is a difficult situation because this is not a temporary situation unless there is any other way you can resolve the childcare issue and you are contracted to work four days a week. Is it possible to do your work in the three days or is this leaving the business with problems covering the day you cannot currently work? You need to find a compromise with your employer.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hiya. I have filed a formal flexible working application to compress my full time hours into 4 days instead of 5. I had a meeting with HR who have inferred that it will be rejected although they have not yet considered it and so have not formally rejected it. They advised me to go away and come up with other scenarios that could work. However, I would really like them to consider my original request properly before turning to alternative scenarios. If they do reject this single request, can I then discuss alternatives with them or would it then be treated as a separate application (which I understand you can only submit one application per 12 months)?

    Editor: The flexible working process is a negotiation process and so you could discuss alternatives at the meeting to discuss your original request so that you can reach some sort of compromise. Have you any idea what their objection might be to the original request? You could, for instance, say you would come in or work from home if there was an urgent need on the day you are off or suggest a trial, etc.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm returning to work on Tuesday for maternity leave and have asked to reduce my hours from 22 to 16 and also work 2 set days every week and I have been told I can't as it is not fair that I don't work weekends is this an acceptable reason ?

    Editor: Did you file a formal request for flexible working? If not, you should do so as requests can only be turned down on one of eight grounds and employers must show due consideration – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/working-mums-magazine/hot-topics/7890872/extending-flexible-working.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your advice previously (department store worker above), I have now received a response rejecting my request to return to my existing role and instead offering me work at another company. The reasons they have rejected this are: Nature of the role – Importance of maintaining a tight and focused offer for customers, there is a need for jobholder to have single point of view for the offer. Detriment to performance – 38 suppliers, need one key contact. Are these valid reasons given part time staff are already employed, including two which job share in my department? Thank you for your help.

    Editor: Employers can turn down requests for flexible working on the grounds, for instance, of Agreeing to the request will have a detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand. However, you say there are others working part time in your organisation. Are they doing the same job? Is a job share possible and has this been explored? If you believe they have not given your request due consideration then you can appeal, but it would be a good idea to address the concerns which led to them turning it down and to find some sort of compromise.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked as a sales assistant in a department store for 10 years. I have informally asked to return to work after the end of my maternity pay in February on a part time basis. I have been told that there are currently no vacancies available in any of the departments and they are not sure which Christmas staff may wish to stay on so will look again in January. Should I consider making a formal flexible working request, are my rights still the same as I will be returning after additional maternity leave?

    Editor: It is advisable to make a formal request as this will mean they have to give you at least one of eight reasons to turn it down and will have to show they have given the request due consideration and looked at ways of making it work. Your rights with regard to flexible working are the same after additional leave. Under additional leave, you have the right to return to your original job or to a suitable alternative, but only if that is not available. Under ordinary leave you have the right to return to your original job.

  • Anonymous says:

    I work for EDF energy and have done for 14 years. I am due to return to work in dec. my current shift pattern is 8.30-2.30 mon – thurs. I have submitted a flex working form for Mon 8.30-6.30, Tues NWD, Wed & Thurs 8.30-2.30pm. They have refused saying i have to offer 30hours a week (i only worked 24) 2 late shifts (12.8) and every other sat. I work 30 miles away from my home and have 3 children, 2 of which are under 2. Please help, can they really stipulate this type of shift pattern?

    Editor: What does it say in your contract about changing your shift pattern and do you feel they have done this because you asked for flexible working? Have they given a reason to justify it – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/q-and-a/all/7353003/shift-changed-ask-the-expert.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    If they never put my new contract in writing. How do I stand ? I was told verbally by the HR manager . Thank you .

    Editor: Could you provide a bit more information? A verbal agreement is legally binding – see this

  • Anonymous says:

    Please help . I worked full time and had my first child in October 2012 and went on maternity leave and returned back to work 2 days a week from 9 till 5.30 . This was a new contract agreed with myself HR manager and director. The new contract was agreed and then I announced I was pregnant again and was 24 weeks pregnant and I would literally only be back 16 weeks and then going on maternity leave again . During my return to work they asked me to up the days to 3 so I agreed and asked for a new contract to be written up. They never did so I took it as gentleman's agreement . I have since gone on maternity leave with 2nd child and due to return to work within 6 weeks and rung to say I would be returning back, and can't they confirm I'm still working my 3 days . They have since wrote back asking me to return a flexible working form out because my contract is full time and they would need to look into to see if its suitable for the company . Is the company allowed to change my contract back to the original one before I had my 1st child ? Thank you

    Editor: Unless the original flexible work agreement was specifically stated to be for a certain time only, it is a permanent change to your terms and conditions.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have asled for flexible working so I can work from home during school holidays as I care for.my mother who has alzhiemers. Was told I cannot do this as I cannot work and care for someone. A colleague works from home doing the same job. Can I be refused for being a carere.

    Editor: An employer who allows an employee to work from home would be in their rights to expect things like childcare to be covered so it would be the same for someone caring for an elderly relative. They would still expect the same productivity and dedication etc. 

  • Anonymous says:

    Hiya I applied to change my hours of work 4 months into my maternity due to my partner having a new job. I work in retail and requested 10-4 mon-fri I only work 17hours now but all different shifts. I was refused saying that they cannot give me these hours(no such hours avail) told them I was willing to move department. Since then I have had to return to work and my partner has had to go bk to his old job…. I've only been bk 5 weeks from having 1 yr off and I'm struggling with the hours of work and I'm missing my kids and they are me… Is there anything I can do with being bk and going bk to my contract hours.

    Editor: Have you accepted the hours? You can appeal against a rejection of flexible working if you believe your request has not been given due consideration or you do not believe the grounds on which it has been rejected are valid – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml - but that should have been done within 14 days of the rejection letter. You cannot apply for flexible working for another 12 months. 

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi,I've been working with the same employer for 6 years as full time-casual.
    Recently I have requested to work 4 days between May and August due to having a 3 year old son.
    It has been refused by my manager(verbally),she said she hired me for full time position and cant do me a favour,she said I either continue working 5days or resign!!
    I'm thinking of resigning as I have no other option/choice,pls give me advise.
    Thanks
    Ps.legally how many weeks notice do I have to give before resigning?

    Editor: Do you have a contract of employment? Statutory notice is one week, but if you have a contract check that for details. As you want flexibility for just a few months, it is probably best not to go down the formal flexible working route as this would be a permanent change to your terms and conditions. You could request unpaid parental leave, but it needs to be taken in weekly blocks rather than just one day a week. You could request annual leave to cover those days. It would be for around 16 days in all so it seems that it is not in your manager's interests to lose someone who knows the job just for refusing 16 days off. It is worth having an honest conversation with your manager and putting your case in these terms since it is just for a short period that you are requesting this change.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi I have been on flexi working for the past 12 months it is due to end 28 of this month, I have made a new request as my circumstances have not changed, I am required to wrk 24 hrs shifts to which I can't im a single mom and have no support for childcare for my 5 year old daughter, my new application has been refused I have appealed and they are still stating that it's incurring extra costs. I asked how due to when I finish at 6 on some of my days the young person I look after is on family contact with overnight so no staff member needs to cover the other half of my shift. They will not discuss this with me. Can you help?

    Editor: Was the flexi working you have been on for the past year on a trial or short-term basis? Did you get this by putting in a flexible working application? If so, it is a permanent change to your terms and conditions and your employer cannot change it without consulting you and obtaining your agreement. See also https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/q-and-a/all/7609807/hours-to-change-ask-the-expert.thtml for information on shift changes and childcare.

     

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I requested flexible working through the official means. I asked for a job share. This was rejected at the meeting so I put some other options on the table, these being consolidating my hours over 4 days, working from home 1 day or taking 30 mins at lunchtime in order to finish earlier. All of these were rejected straight out in that same meeting. I received a letter rejecting my request for a job share with three of the eight official reasons copied and pasted in.

    I emailed back to say I didn't understand these reasons and asking for expansion in the form of examples specific to my job. The other options I had suggested were not even mentioned in the letter and I also asked about these.

    I received a reply saying that as far as they were concerned reasons were given verbally in the meeting and I had had my chance to ask questions.

    I want to put in an appeal, but I am concerned that they will refuse to hear it. What iron clad reasons can I give for requesting an appeal?
    Thanks

    Editor: According to the flexible working legislation, the employer should show that they have given due consideration to your request. In the letter of refusal the reasons for rejection need to be spelt out – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml, the section on refusing the application. You need to, if necessary, cite this in your appeal.

  • Anonymous says:

    help needed. I applied for part time hours – 2 full days and 1 half day, I was refused as they said it would be too complicated and things may get missed at handover times (Wednesday afternoon). My colleague has just applied for part time hours and got accepted for 3 days a week. Is there anything I can do?

    Editor: Is your colleague doing a similar job to you? If so, it seems inconsistent if they have not granted you flexible working and have granted it to them. Employers can refuse a flexible work application on any of eight grounds – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml - but they must show they have given the request due consideration and give detail to support why they have turned it down. If you do not believe they have done so, you can appeal within a set timeframe [see the link above].

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I'm looking for some advice. I'm currently on mat leave and my daughter is 7 months old. I have recently submitted a request to reduce my hours from 37 to 18.5 a week via a flexible working application. Prior to this application I was told by my line manager to request my ideal working pattern and we would then negotiate, I was also advised by my last line manager prior to starting mat leave that returning part time would not be a problem as I work for a council and work life balance is very important. I have found out today that my request has been denied, with absolutely no room for negotiation and I return 37 hours per week or not at all as the service has gone through a restructure and the role of the team has changed, as has my job and working hours and all staff need to make themselves more available. I was advised initially by my line manager that she would need to seek guidance from her line manager with regard to my request but was told today that I'm fact this decision was met by my line manager and two other managers at the same level managing similar teams in different geographical areas. I have been advised to submit an appeal which will be reviewed by my managers manager but I just feel that this will be a waste of time as I feel this whole process is flawed and biased as it is very clear that my managers manager has already denied this request and will reject the appeal. I just wondered if you could offer any advice and also confirm if the change in my job title and working hours would count as a change in terms and conditions as does this open up other possibilities for me? Thanks in advance.

    Editor: Firstly, if there has been a restructure and your job has changed then you should have been fully consulted on this. Second, you should have had a meeting to discuss your flexible work request and to talk about different options. Your employer can only turn down a request on one of eight grounds and must show that they have looked at different possibilities and not just dismissed the request out of hand – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml. I would certainly lodge an appeal on these grounds in the first instance, drawing attention to the legislation on flexible working and on consultation.

  • Anonymous says:

    Can you appeal a refusal if the reason given is inability to re-organise work among existing staff?

    Editor: This is one of the reasons allowed under flexible working legislation, but your employer must back this up and show that they have given due consideration to your request and looked at possible ways of meeting it. If you do not think they have done this then you can appeal, but it is worth taking into consideration their reasons and thinking of some sort of compromise which addresses their concerns.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I currently have a contract for 24hrs but am on maternity leave and wish to return on a 16 hour contract. It is supposedly a 'senior' position (although there are five other senior members of staff above my pay band). My request has been refused on the grounds that it is a senior position and I need to provide the team with leadership and development etc. They state that any future contracts in this position have to be a minimum of 30 hrs. Is this a valid reason for refusing a request? I think leadership and development can still be offered on a more part time basis than 30hrs. Additionally, although it is future contracts they are referring to and my 24hrs will still be honoured, we currently have a member of staff in the same position as me doing the role at 16hrs. Could this be argued as proof of unfairness? Or can they get away with it because it is future contracts they are cracking down on?

    Editor: Flexible working requests can be turned down only on one of eight grounds. These are: 

     
    • The additional costs will impose a burden.
    • Agreeing to the request will have a detrimental effect on ability to
       meet customer demand.
    • Inability to re-organise work among existing staff.
    • Inability to recruit additional staff.
    • Agreeing to the request will have a detrimental impact on quality 
       or performance.
    • There is insufficient work during the periods the employee 
       proposes to work.
    • There are planned structural changes.
    If you feel your reason does not fit these eight grounds, you should appeal. For full details of the legislation around flexible working see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

     

  • Anonymous says:

    I want to reduce my 20 hour shift to 16 hours and my work have said they cannot take any request for anything under 20 hours … On the guideline on my intranet it doesn't state anywhere you have to do a minimum. The shift I am looking at doing is also not a shift either (there is a member in my very team doing the exact same, but according to them there has been changes put in place now and it is not a set shift anymore) where do I stand here…

    Editor: Have you made a formal application for flexible working in writing? If not, you should do so and your employer will have to give a valid reason for turning you down – there are eight reasons outlined in the legislation – and show they have given your application due consideration or you can appeal – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    My company refuses all returning mothers flexible working hours and uses the excuses below
    – The burden of additional costs
    – Inability to reorganise work among existing staff
    – Inability to recruit additional staff
    This appears to be the standard response, how do you get round that as surely all companies if they want to can use the above excuses.

    Editor: According to the legislation, they must explain their reasons more fully and show that they have given each application due consideration and not just given a blanket refusal so people could appeal if it is felt it is just an automatic no.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I was wondering if I can get some advice. I am currently on mat leave due to return in January.
    My current working hours are 37.5 per week Monday to Friday between 8 am to 6 pm. I am also required to work one in 3 Saturdays with a day of in lieu on the week it falls.
    I have requested to compress my hours to work 4 days a week as nursery is proving expensive and in between a family member also assisting I am limited.
    I appreciate as a team leader my presence is important. However, they have just suggested a 3-week rota, week one I work 5 days, week 2 I would work 4 and week 3 I would work 4 as working the Saturday. This compresses my hours, but makes it even harder for childcare.
    The jump between my son being in nursery 2 days a week to 3 is 200 pounds and considering this, bills and travel I'll be left with hardly anything which infuriates me as I will have no home life and be practically working for nothing.
    Having suffered pnd this really is worrying me thank you.

    Editor: You do not have to accept the suggestion of your employer. You can appeal if you do not think they have given your request due consideration. What reasons did they give for turning down your original request for compressed hours? There are eight grounds on which they can refuse a request – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml. If you do not agree that the reason given is valid you can appeal, for instance, if they can manage on four days a week for two weeks, why not three? 

     

  • Anonymous says:

    I have applied for flexible working days as 4 days per week on monday, thursday,friday, saturday and fixed days off on sunday, tuesday and wednesday. my manager refused it in email and after 2 months I have received a letter from my HR which says that they accepted it and asked me to sign and return it to them and I did. After a week I met my manager in my appraisal and he said that it is not been approved and said that HR sent it by mistake. Iwas totally confused and my wife delivered her 2nd baby 2 months before. That's the reason I applied for this and I don't know what to do.

    Editor: Has your manager given a reason for the refusal? There are only eight grounds on which an application for flexible working can be refused. If one of these reasons has not been given or has been given and you don't think the reason given shows that your manager has given the application due consideration then you can appeal – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml. Also it is worth checking with HR that what your manager says is the case and querying the earlier acceptance. It may be that company policy is more pro-flexible working than your particular manager.

  • Anonymous says:

    I applied for flexible working 10-4 (son's nursery only opens at 8am). I am meant to start at 9am to finish at 5:30 with one hour lunch. I am a line manager. This was refused and I was offered 9-4:30 with 30 mins lunch. since then I have been constantly pressured to sort out childcare in the morning even though I am already spending money as a single parent on nursery fees.
    A few days ago I was told by my manager that if I do not sort out my childcare to be at work before 9am (say 8:30, unpaid) to make sure the department is ran more smoothly. I have made mention that my mobile phone is available for support and getting to work before 9am is really a matter of choice. This has been met with disapproval and lo and behold I was told if I did not sort things out my position will be readvertised. I have only been back at work for 5.5 months. I am having a turbulent personal life at the moment, but the unecessary pressure from work and underhand bullying is not helping at all. please help.

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: If they want you to be in at 8.30 they need to pay you otherwise you just work your contracted hours. They can not advertise your job. If they do so and dismiss you it could be unfair dismissal depending on your length of service and discrimination. 

  • Anonymous says:

    I asked to work part time on 18/06 and it was verbally refused on 27/06. I did not resigned my job, but I found my position advertised on a website on 21/06/.I received the refusal letter on 08/07, but it did not state that I can appeal. What can I do?

    Editor: You can appeal as the appeal timing dates from receipt of the written lette outlining the rejection and clear reasons for it – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-advice/197211/flexible-working-a-guide-for-employers.thtml. It is worth mentioning the advert in your appeal. Just because you requested flexible working your employer still has to abide by the legislation regarding return to work after maternity leave ie when returning to work after Ordinary Maternity Leave (the first 26 weeks of your Statutory Maternity Leave), you have a right to the same job and the same terms and conditions as if you hadn’t been away.

    This also applies when you come back after Additional Maternity Leave (the last 26 weeks of your Statutory Maternity Leave). However, if your employer shows it is not reasonably practical to return to your original job (for example, because the job no longer exists) you do not have the same right. In that case, you must be offered alternative work with terms and conditions as if you hadn’t been away.

  • Anonymous says:

    How do you prepare for a hearing to discuss your flexible request?

    Editor: See https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/career-toolkit/page_3/2859341/top-tips-on-applying-for-flexible-working.thtml and be prepared to negotiate, eg, suggest a trial period if your employer is cautious.


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