Flexible Working Legislation: the facts

 

What is flexible working? What rights does the law provide? What are the pros and cons?

Flexible working is a particularly hot topic at the moment. But what does the term flexible working mean and what are your rights, both as an employer and an employee? Plus, are there drawbacks as well as pluses?

More and more families are requesting to work in ways that allow them to better balance work and family life. Since 2003, parents of children younger than six or of disabled children and carers of adult partners or relatives living at their address have had the right to request flexible working from their employer. From April 2009, this has been extended to parents of children under 16.

 Eligible employees are able to request:
  • a change to the hours they work
  • a change to the times when they are required to work
  • to work from home.

This flexible approach embraces everything from part-time work, job shares, annualised hours and term time work to working some or all of the time from home. The employer has a duty to consider their requests seriously, although they do not have to accede to the request.

To qualify to request flexible working an employee must have worked for at least 26 continuous weeks with their employer.
It is important to remember that the legislation only grants a right to request flexible working and it should not be assumed it will be granted.

Employees need to be prepared to make a good business case for why they should be allowed to work in this way, including thinking about potential solutions to problems their employer might anticipate. This might include the possibility of a job share, alternative patterns of flexible working or a trial period if the employer is worried about how it will work.

Employers can refuse a request on the following grounds: if they can demonstrate an inability to rearrange work among existing staff, if they can show flexible working will incur a financial burden on their company; if it will have a detrimental effect on their ability to meet customer demand and if they can show they will be unable to recruit additional staff and that the request will have a serious impact on the employee’s performance or quality of work.

The important thing is to remember that flexible working is a negotiation process and your case will be stronger if you can show you are also willing to be flexible, for instance, you could offer to be available, either in person or by conference call, for urgent meetings on a day off.

The benefits of flexible working

Many companies believe the policy has worked to their benefit, allowing them to retain experienced staff, particularly women, to provide cover outside normal office hours, to respond to changing seasonal needs, to reduce absenteeism and to increase loyalty and motivation among staff.

Women have successfully brought cases claiming discrimination if they are not allowed flexible working on the grounds that, since they are often the primary carer of children, a refusal to grant flexible working is more likely to affect them. Men can also bring cases if a mother in their company has been granted flexible working and they have been refused.

The legislation lays out a formal procedure for applying for flexible working and employees have to argue clearly what the advantages would be to both them and their employer of allowing them to work flexibly, for instance, retaining an experienced member of staff. If an employee is unhappy about the way their company has dealt with their case, they can take their case to an employment tribunal.

Checklist for employers:

– Employers should try to treat each request objectively and to treat all requests in the same way, whether from men or women.
– The law stipulates that they must set up a meeting to discuss the employee’s request for flexible working within 28 days and then reply to the request within 14 days of the meeting.
– If a request is turned down, the employer must reply in writing, giving a clear business case reason for the decision.
– Employers are encouraged to set out a clear flexible working policy to avoid confusion and ensure consistency in the way they handle requests.
– They should show that they are open to looking at flexible work requests in all jobs, no matter how senior.
– It is also a good idea to think more laterally about encouraging flexible working across the board to avoid resentment by other colleagues and to show a consistent approach to employees.
– Human resources staff should ensure that the flexible working policy is clearly publicised and that all managers are aware of how it works.
– It is also advisable to monitor requests for flexible working and to track how they are working in practice.

So far, around 90% of requests for flexible working have been granted either fully or partially. Reports suggest the number of mothers who work flexible hours has more than doubled since 2003 and the number who have changed employers after returning to work has halved.

Once a parent has been formally granted flexible working, this then becomes a permanent change to their contract and if an employer later wants to change that they must have formal discussions with the employee. If they do not, the employer can be found in breach of contract.

Employers are still getting to grips with the practicalities of promoting flexible working. Many, worried about losing experienced workers, are keen to implement it, but remain unclear of how to manage it and what works best. Several organisations are blazing a path and providing examples of good practice, for instance, they provide models for how to manage home workers to ensure they do not feel isolated or sidelined. Some argue that flexible working has other benefits besides the ones listed above, for instance, it can mean greater productivity as workers who are not able to make it into the office when a child is sick or they feel under the weather may be able to work some hours from home. Then there are the benefits of reducing overcrowding at rush hour if fewer people are required to commute on a regular basis.

What is your experience of flexible working? Does your company promote a good model of flexible working? Has flexible working worked for you? Email us at mandy@workingmums.co.uk

recruitment, part time staff, flexible work




Comments [87]

  • JB says:

    My application to work 4 days a week was accepted 18 months ago. A contractual change form was signed by my manager which stated the new days I would work. I received a letter from HR to confirm that my hours had reduced and I hand-wrote on it which days my hours would be worked, then returned the signed copy.

    In the past 6 months I have been asked to attend full-page meetings, at a location more than twice my usual commute away, on the one day a week I don’t work. This has now happened 3 times in a row. I declined the first two because I was given so little notice. I accepted the third, but queried why these meetings keep being arranged for when I’m not contracted to work. I’m now being told, 18 months later, that I should have been given a formal outcome letter and I know they’re going to say I must come in on my day off, as required.

    Can they do this 18 months after the request was agreed and when the contractual change form stipulates which days I work? I have long-term hospital appointments on the day I don’t work and they know this.

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      If they accepted the request and did not specify any terms regarding coming in on your day off then this would constitute a change in your terms and conditions and they would have to consult with you and get your agreement to the change.

  • Lindsay says:

    Hi just wondering if somebody could give me some advice? I have worked for the same company for 14 years, since having my first child in 2005 I have 2 set shifts every week. This was a verbal agreement with my manager at the time, since then the company has been bought over twice with no change to my shifts. I returned to work a few weeks ago following the birth of my third child, while I was on maternity the company was taken over again. They are refusing to allow me to work my two set shifts and saying I must work to their rota. Any advice?

  • Kay says:

    After coming back from maternity leave, I worked 18.75 hours over 3 days. I put in a flexible working form to change the days of week I work (to work 4 days 9.30 – 2.30 pm and finishing at 1.15pm on one of those days instead of working 3 days) but still do 18.75 hours per week so that I could take my son to and from school. This was agreed buy only until a restructal change. They wanted to down band me after I was unable to do them 2.5 days which they say they needed for the service (I also agreed with them on their points) However inconsistencies in their restructure have arisen and when questioned them about this (they had more than ONE of the same band so why couldnt our department) they now have to “honour” my band and hours as they have done in other cases. My argument is since they have to honour me my band and hours regardless (they now have already one of that band ) so I would be extra as they have changed what they initially stated, why can’t they agree to 4 days instead of 3 as I would still be doing my 18.75 contracted hours??? I have stated that it would be more beneficial to the service to have 2 of the same band and therfore cover for 4 days instead of 3 (bearing in mind they originally only wanted one of the band) but because they have to “honour” me my original hours (18.75) surely it would be of no detriment to them whatsoever to make the slight change in days? When I asked them, their answer was that if in the future I was to leave they would find it hard to get someone to do my days and hours. And my reply was but it is and always will be 18.75 per week so they can change it to 2.5 days like they wanted to get a job share or get cover over 5 days but it is still 18.75 hours a week. I don’t think that answer was a reasonable business issue to decline my request?

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Kay,
      If you put in a formal flexible working application they can only turn it down on one of eight grounds – see the rest of this article where they are outlined. Have they used any of these arguments? They would then have to show they have treated your request reasonably. If they cannot show that the reason for refusal fits within those eight arguments you could appeal.

  • Maria says:

    Please can someone help I was granted flexi time in November, had formal meeting and signed paperwork, we are now in august and have had a letter with them now changing my shift which is no longer flexi it’s now set shifts can they do this

  • Kirsty Ball says:

    Hi i have been working flexi now for 5 years and have a contract stating Mon tues. HR are coming in and reviewing flexi and changing our contracts as new company has took over can they change or take away my flexi
    Thanks

  • Michelle Mitchell says:

    Hello Advice please
    I have been working family friendly shifts for 12 years on a ward. I work as a nurse. In school terms I work 8.30-4.00. I also work 2 weekends a month in term time and I work the normal Early Late shifts on those days.
    In all school holidays I work Early and Late shifts and despite being medically excempt I work 4-6 nights a year. I also cover the pre op assessment nurse for her 6 weeks sick leave a year.
    As well as 2 other separate roles in my job.
    If we are short staffed and I can help I will. Too be honest am very flexible because I am allowed the 8.30 – 4 term time.
    We live in a village so if I didn’t work the flexible shift it would cost £20 a day in taxis to get my children to school as there is no bus or school bus.
    A new manager arrived in August..Our team..which by the way is very strong and most of us have been in post 10-16 years is in turmoil. 3 other members of staff also have flexible working for child care.
    We have been told that from April all flexible working ends. And we have to work as directed no flexibility.
    2 people resigned yesterday and another 8 already job hunting/had interviews.
    Do we have any rights??
    Thanks
    Michelle

  • Anon says:

    Hi,
    Some advice please! I last submitted a flexi working application nearly 4 years ago when my son started pre school a year later when he started school I needed to work different hours. I offered to put in a new application but was told there was no need and it would be a ‘local agreement’ I continued to work those hours in that office until I moved to another where there was no issue. Now I have returned from maternity they have moved me to another dept after being told I could work my current hours they have now said I can’t as there’s no application for my current hours and they don’t meet business needs. I’ve since put in another application that’s been declined (which doesn’t make sense as it’s in line with the companies flexi policy) so I’ve put in another to reduce my hours by 3 a week, I’m sure this too will be declined. Is this my fault for not getting my current hours in writing?

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi,
      So have you been working these hours for over two years? You could argue that they have therefore become your de facto contract due to custom and practice and to alter them your employer would need to consult and gain your agreement. You say they have moved you to another department – was your original job not available? You should be able to return to your original post after six months on maternity leave and to your original job or a suitable alternative if that does not exist after 6-12 months on mat leave [eg if the job is redundant, not just because they have given it to someone else]. Is the move to another dept part of a restructure? If so, you should again have been consulted. If you could supply full details to mandy.garner@workingmums.co.uk then our advisers can help.

  • Hayley says:

    Hi I signed a flexible working mums contract when I returned to work in 2010 since then my place of work changed every bodies contracts to flexi working hours which I had to sign does this override my flexible working mums contracts as now they want be to change my shifts? Thanks

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Hayley,
      Have you actually signed a new contract as, if you have, it would supercede your previous contract, but if they are changing your terms and conditions they should fully consult with you and get your agreement.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I returned to work part time in 2011 after maternity leave. The company has recently undergone a restructure and there is a new Rota which includes some late shifts. I’ve been told by the company that essentially my working hours will be protected but can they insist I take on late shifts at any point?

  • Laura says:

    Hi there, I’m hoping you can offer some advice, I worked full time until giving birth to my son in February this year and have taken a full year off- I am due to return the first week of march next year. I submitted a flexible working request on 4/11 and have had no response despite company policy stating they should arrange a meeting with me to discuss or reject the request- they have done neither, I received a letter on 6/11 from HR to advise they had received my letter. After chasing up this morning my manager has told me it is with the financial director and that both of them will be sitting down in the new year to discuss the future team dynamics and are waiting to see if a big order is received from one of the largest customers, this will likely mean that I won’t hear anything until mid to end of Jan which leaves me little time to arrange childcare, I have expressed this concern to my manager & he had said he will see what he can do.

    I wasn’t treated great and was put under a lot of pressure at work during my pregnancy which gives me little confidence in them anyway so I am now fearing that they will reject the request or ask me to do more days, what are my rights at this stage?

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Laura,
      In line with the flexible working legislation, a request has to be processed within three months of it being filed. Since the legislation was changed, there are no longer specific timeframes for holding a meeting, discussed the request etc – just the three-month deadline. However, they should allow enough time for an appeal. Although a right to appeal is no longer statutory, it is recommended by Acas in keeping with the demand for employers to treat requests reasonably.
      Best wishes.

  • Anonymous says:

    For the last four years my son has finished work an hour early on Tuesdays and Thursday having started one hour earlier on those days as he has a court contact order to see his daughter for two hours on those days. There is a stand by system where he works but has never been part of this system due to seeing his daughter. His supervisor has now said he must go on this standby system which would deny him seeing his daughter. Obviously he does not want to be included on the stand by system. There is nothing in writing jus a verbal agreement, so what rights has he to continue his flexable hours. The company he works for is a very large company who do all council work.

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Colin,
      Apologies for the delay. Our lawyer Louise Taft says:
      Your son should make a formal request for flexible working, explaining that he needs to continue to leave early on the days he has sole care of his daughter.
      A request for flexible working can only be refused for specified business reasons. If he has worked successfully in this way for 4 years, it will be difficult for the company to show that there is a sound business reason cannot continue.
      If the company still refuses to allow him to leave early without being on standby when he has sole care of his daughter, he can apply to the Employment Tribunal on the basis that a request for flexible working has been refused based on incorrect facts.
      Best wishes.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi

    My wife returned to work in May after maternity leave and went back on reduced hours on a 3 month trial period which ended 3/08/2016, no follow appointment was ever made to discuss the end of trial period and has now received a letter 30/11/2016 stating want to discuss trial period and revert back to full time hours. Can this be done ??

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi,
      What was the agreement with regard to the trial period? Was it mentioned that the company could revert back to full-time hours if it was considered not to be working? Was ‘not working’ defined? Was a review mentioned and was your wife to be included in the review?

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi and thanks for reply, the agreement was that the situation would be reviewed at end of trial period – as this never happened we presumed the trial period had been successful and now 4 months after the review have been “invited to a meeting to discuss reverting back to original hours” this was not indicated in the letter explaining the trial period

  • Annonymous says:

    I requested to work 2 nights when coming off maternity, this was granted for 4 months and they then said I had to submit another request ?! I did as they requested and never heard anything back, I continued on my requested hours anyway and almost a month later they have now said they want to increase my hours or I will have to go onto a Zero hour contract, can they do this ?? I have had no meeting or formal letter stating their reasons, it has only been raised since they have found out I am pregnant again ! Where do I stand with this ??

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi,
      Did you make a formal request for flexible working or was this done on an informal basis? If the former, it would represent a permanent change to your terms and conditions. They could suggest that it be reviewed after a certain period and if this is the case you need to look at the wording of that clause in the flexible working agreement [eg does it say what they can do as a result of the review], but they cannot keep asking you to submit flexible working applications. Once a flexible working request is submitted another cannot be submitted for a year.

  • Lorna Williams says:

    Hi I’m on flexible working hours in a major supermarket chain as a cashier. It’s great as I can finish and pick up the kids on time, be home for dinner etc. My husband started working there last year and has been moved to a department where they are forcing him to work Saturdays and Sundays and all the lates (finishing after our kids are in bed). His contract said it was flexible hours but now he’s not seeing the kids for more than a couple of hours a week. The boss said her husband is in the same situation but because I’m on flexible hours he can’t apply for it. Surely this isn’t right? He wants to go the union about it but fears it will all be for nothing. All he wants is alternate Saturdays and Sundays and do some early shifts instead so he can see the kids.

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi,
      What hours does his contract specify? Does it say that they can be changed according to business needs, etc? He can definitely apply for flexible working. Each employee should be considered separately.

  • Nicola says:

    I currently put in a flexible working hours request to my manger and my practice manager so I will be able to take my child to school.
    I start work at 7am Monday to Friday. I have asked to change my working hours to 9.30am so it allows me time to take my child to school.
    I have had a terrible time in getting my child into a school in my area. I have had to send him to a school with is 2.2miles away from my home and work.
    My work have refused my change of hours request. Is there anything else I can do as the only option they have really given me is to leave the company. I have worked here for 6years and I am a senior member of staff and when my manger is away they look at me to take reins when she Isn’t there. I really feel not valued.

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Nicola,
      You don’t say on what grounds your request was refused. There are eight grounds on which a request can be refused and your employer must show they have given due consideration to your request and not just dismissed it out of hand. If not you can appeal – even if an appeal is no longer a statutory right it is recommended by Acas to show that due consideration has been given. As part of a formal flexible work request you must show that you have considered the impact of the change you have requested on your employer/colleagues. Are there any possible solutions you can suggest to your employer, for instance, working later to make up the hours? How often is your manager away? Can you find a compromise on those days? It is hard to advise without knowing what you do and what your circumstances are.

  • Emma Cole says:

    I have been working for a company, as a contractor, for 15 years. I have requested a change to my working hours, not actually a change to my contracted hours over the week, but a change of how I work them during the day, to allow me to be able to drop off an pick up my 4 year old who is just starting infant school. I currently work 31.5 hours, in the office, and I have requested to do 27.5 hours in the office (school hours) with 4 hours a week (amounting to 1 hour per day Tuesday – Friday) from home. The business has rejected this request with reasons that they need to project a co-location arrangement and cannot allow me to work from home. There are many workers within this business (both contractors and non-contractors) who are allowed to work from home to be able to collect children etc. The only option they have offered me is to reduce my hours to a contracted 27.5 to take out the working from home element, therefore resulting in a wage loss for myself. Where do I stand? Can I appeal? My concern is that being a contractor, my rights here may be different. Thanks.

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Emma,
      You can certainly appeal. There is no longer a statutory right of appeal, but it is highly recommended by Acas to show that an employer has complied with the flexible working legislation – ie given due consideration to your request. Is there a specific reason relating to the kind of job you do that means you cannot work from home when others can? They would need to spell out why you are being denied this when others have got it and if they do have a good business reason, then you would need to think of a possible compromise solution.
      Best wishes.

  • poorlittlefish says:

    I applied for flexible working, requesting consolidated hours. It got turned down by my manager but it went to another manager on appeal and we came to a compromise of a compromise, which is now operating on a trial basis. My manager was clearly unhappy at being overruled and imposed a number of conditions on me, including ordering me to do the work of another role for several periods each day, which takes me away from my desk, from doing my own job and is very disruptive. I feel like she is setting me up to fail.

    These requirements were not included in conditions shown on the outcome letter I received following the appeal, which I was required to sign my agreement to. Can my manager do this to me?

  • Samantha young says:

    I have been working for a company for 15 years and the past 2 years I have done flexi working it was never done properly on paper but It got verbally agreeded and I didn’t once get approached about my hours of asked to change them at any point. Now I have a new manager I have been asked to apply for my flexi working again but have been informed unofficially that what I want I possibly won’t get from the person that will do my flexi working meeting!! Can they change this? Does it not become part of my contract when Iv been doing a certain working pattern for an amount of time?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been doing flexi hours since 2012, it was agreed via email. I work full time but after school run mon-thurs work from home for the remaining hour or so. It has worked really well and have had no complaints. I have recently been given a team leader position as a retained role after redundancy of which before accepting I asked if my flexible hours would be honoured of which they agreed. I have been doing these hours under new role for 5months. Now they are saying as a team leader I need to be in the office for the whole day. Can they do this?

  • Diane Wilson says:

    I have worked for the same company for 28 years. About 14 years ago I started working from home 2 Days a week and 3 days in office. Then about 4 years later I moved to part time and did one day in the office and the rest of my time at home. Now they are saying they are making a company wide decision that there will be no more working from home and all my hours have to be done in the office. Can they just make that change. What happens if I don’t want to agree to it.

  • Emma says:

    I have returned to work after maternity leave I came back early having 6minths off work. I have been working part time gradually taken on extra days and in train my hours. I have been told thatt next year I hVe to be back to normally hours, I’m wanting to start work earlier and finish early losing 5 hours trough the week. What are my rights.

  • Helen says:

    Hello, I hope you can help.
    Once I returned to work I then had trouble with child care on one of the days I was working. My manager agreed that I could work from home 1 day a week. This has been the case for 3 years now and it works well for us. Now my son is due to start school in a few weeks my bosses boss wants me back in the office. As this was an agreement and didn’t go through HR as such do I have a leg to stand on. There isn’t a reason he wants me back in the office I just don’t think he likes people working from home.

    Any advice would be great.

  • Anonymous says:

    I work for the nhs and and work by rota consisting of shifts that inc earlies, lates and nights. I applied for flexible working reducing my hours to 3 shifts a week I chose a new working pattern and gave my reasons why this would work for myself and employer I was told that I was being too rigid with my request so we managed to come to a compromise that we were both happy with. The first couple of months worked well but slowly I'm finding that I'm getting shifts at times of the month where they shouldn't be! I don't mind doing them if I can arrange child care or even if I was asked, I have let it go as it hasn't been a problem but I have just brought it to my managers attention and couldn't believe it when she told me I'm not being flexible enough and the shifts aren't available. I'm going to speak to my manager as I'm clearly not understanding how flexible working actually works?! I mean what a waste of time applying for it as they are just giving me any days?

    Editor: Did you get the compromise agreement in writing and what does it say? Once a flexible working agreement has been made it is a permanent change to your terms and conditions so I would go back to the original agreement.

  • Anonymous says:

    I work for the nhs and and work by rota consisting of shifts that inc earlies, lates and nights. I applied for flexible working reducing my hours to 3 shifts a week I chose a new working pattern and gave my reasons why this would work for myself and employer I was told that I was being too rigid with my request so we managed to come to a compromise that we were both happy with. The first couple of months worked well but slowly I'm finding that I'm getting shifts at times of the month where they shouldn't be! I don't mind doing them if I can arrange child care or even if I was asked, I have let it go as it hasn't been a problem but I have just brought it to my managers attention and couldn't believe it when she told me I'm not being flexible enough and the shifts aren't available. I'm going to speak to my manager as I'm clearly not understanding how flexible working actually works?! I mean what a waste of time applying for it as they are just giving me any days?

    Editor: Did you get the compromise agreement in writing and what does it say? Once a flexible working agreement has been made it is a permanent change to your terms and conditions so I would go back to the original agreement.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked part time for over 2 years and if was agreed verbally that I could do afternoon in the school holidays and days in the school term. They now want to change this to days only and not afternoon in holidays. I explained that I'm a single mother and I can't possibly do that as my daughter has only been look after by my mother. But they said child care wasn't the companies problem. I don't want to loose my job but I'm terrified they will change my hours and I won't be able to continue. Please can you give me any advice.

    Editor: Have you actually done the afternoons only in the holidays yet? When was it agreed? What reason have they given for changing their minds? Please email mandy@workingmums.co.uk.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked part time for over 2 years and if was agreed verbally that I could do afternoon in the school holidays and days in the school term. They now want to change this to days only and not afternoon in holidays. I explained that I'm a single mother and I can't possibly do that as my daughter has only been look after by my mother. But they said child care wasn't the companies problem. I don't want to loose my job but I'm terrified they will change my hours and I won't be able to continue. Please can you give me any advice.

    Editor: Have you actually done the afternoons only in the holidays yet? When was it agreed? What reason have they given for changing their minds? Please email mandy@workingmums.co.uk.

  • Anonymous says:

    I returned to work last July doing 2 days a week which was fine. Last week I was asked to work full time or else I would be made redundant. Can they do that?

    Editor: Did you negotiate the two days through a flexible working request? If so, the change to your working hours represents a permanent change to your terms and conditions and if your employer wishes to change them they must consult you fully – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed/getting-agreement

  • Anonymous says:

    I returned to work last July doing 2 days a week which was fine. Last week I was asked to work full time or else I would be made redundant. Can they do that?

    Editor: Did you negotiate the two days through a flexible working request? If so, the change to your working hours represents a permanent change to your terms and conditions and if your employer wishes to change them they must consult you fully – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed/getting-agreement

  • Anonymous says:

    Further to above: if they decided the post had to be full time, would it be ring fenced for me or could it be advertised more widely?

    Editor: Our HR expert Tara Daynes says: They aren't really creating a new position here, just changing the T&Cs of her existing one from part time to full time. So they should certainly give her first refusal on the role – if they made it full time but opened it out to other candidates & one of those was successful, what then happens to her? They can't just dismiss her with no opportunity to either accept or refuse the change. If she refused the full time role it could potentially be a redundancy situation, but she should have grounds to argue that other reasonable options were available, eg a job share, unless they can objectively justify the situation. So they should definitely give her the option to go full time before thinking about bringing anyone else in, either instead of or as well as her exisiting position.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello,
    I returned to my post as a Deputy Headteacher following maternity leave in 2011. My request to work part time was agreed and I work 0.5 as Deputy Head. No one was employed to work the other 0.5 of my post but a member of staff was promoted to less senior post to cover some of my duties. When a new Headteacher is appointed would they be able to:
    A. Make me work full time?
    B. Replace me with a full time equivalent?

    Thanks

    Editor: If they wanted to change your terms and conditions they would have to consult with you and could not simply impose full time on you as flexible working is a permanent change to your terms and conditions – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed/getting-agreement. If they argued that your post could not be done on a part-time basis and sought to replace you with a full-time equivalent they would need to justify this and you could claim that you have been doing the role part time for some time.

  • Anonymous says:

    Further to above: if they decided the post had to be full time, would it be ring fenced for me or could it be advertised more widely?

    Editor: Our HR expert Tara Daynes says: They aren't really creating a new position here, just changing the T&Cs of her existing one from part time to full time. So they should certainly give her first refusal on the role – if they made it full time but opened it out to other candidates & one of those was successful, what then happens to her? They can't just dismiss her with no opportunity to either accept or refuse the change. If she refused the full time role it could potentially be a redundancy situation, but she should have grounds to argue that other reasonable options were available, eg a job share, unless they can objectively justify the situation. So they should definitely give her the option to go full time before thinking about bringing anyone else in, either instead of or as well as her exisiting position.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello,
    I returned to my post as a Deputy Headteacher following maternity leave in 2011. My request to work part time was agreed and I work 0.5 as Deputy Head. No one was employed to work the other 0.5 of my post but a member of staff was promoted to less senior post to cover some of my duties. When a new Headteacher is appointed would they be able to:
    A. Make me work full time?
    B. Replace me with a full time equivalent?

    Thanks

    Editor: If they wanted to change your terms and conditions they would have to consult with you and could not simply impose full time on you as flexible working is a permanent change to your terms and conditions – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed/getting-agreement. If they argued that your post could not be done on a part-time basis and sought to replace you with a full-time equivalent they would need to justify this and you could claim that you have been doing the role part time for some time.

  • Anonymous says:

    I applied for flexible working back in August this year wishing to work 4 days per week and set hours due to childcare. My employers agreed to this and I have had no problems with this since then. My employer then gave me my hours for next week (Christmas week) and my hours are completely different to what I would normally work. Is my employer legally allowed to change my hours when I have been granted flexible working without consulting me?

    Editor: Your employer cannot change your terms and conditions without consulting you unless there is something in your contract that says something to the effect that hours are subject to change, etc, for business reasons. A flexible working agreement is a permanent change to your terms and conditions.

  • Anonymous says:

    I applied for flexible working back in August this year wishing to work 4 days per week and set hours due to childcare. My employers agreed to this and I have had no problems with this since then. My employer then gave me my hours for next week (Christmas week) and my hours are completely different to what I would normally work. Is my employer legally allowed to change my hours when I have been granted flexible working without consulting me?

    Editor: Your employer cannot change your terms and conditions without consulting you unless there is something in your contract that says something to the effect that hours are subject to change, etc, for business reasons. A flexible working agreement is a permanent change to your terms and conditions.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I sent an email to my boss to request flexible working hours. I simply asked for a certain amount of hours over term time, and said I could be flexible with the days they wished me to work. I explained my case and said I understood that this will have to be discussed after 28 days I have still not heard anything back. I am not sure what to do now. Do I send the email application again?
    Thanks

    Editor: Legally, your employer has to finish the whole flexible working request process within three months so you could send a reminder to your employer and point out the legal timeframe – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/working-mums-magazine/hot-topics/7890872/extending-flexible-working.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I sent an email to my boss to request flexible working hours. I simply asked for a certain amount of hours over term time, and said I could be flexible with the days they wished me to work. I explained my case and said I understood that this will have to be discussed after 28 days I have still not heard anything back. I am not sure what to do now. Do I send the email application again?
    Thanks

    Editor: Legally, your employer has to finish the whole flexible working request process within three months so you could send a reminder to your employer and point out the legal timeframe – see https://www.workingmums.co.uk/working-mums-magazine/hot-topics/7890872/extending-flexible-working.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for getting back to me.

    I have met with my management and told them I do not agree to them changing my work pattern. (3 days from home, 2 in the office)

    They have told me they are going to seek advice from HR and will get back to me.

    Basically we have gone from a 6 person team to a 5 person team, and the office cover is on a rota. Management want 2 people to be in the office at 9am every day. (everyone can start at 10am if they want to, but most still come in at 9am as they have flexi time)

    I work from home 3 days a week so on the two days I am in the office, I cover the 9am shift.

    My management has said that we all have to do cover the 9am cover 9 times a month. But with my current work pattern I can only cover 8 so this would mean someone else would need to do an extra day a month.

    I have said I dont have an issue with covering phones etc from home (we have direct access laptops, telephone systems etc so when im at home I have the same access as if I was in the office)

    My manager says its not fair someone should have to do 10 shifts to cover the extra 1 they have asked me to do. But then I have explained that I have made arrangements based on my work pattern which has been in place for over 2 years.

    As we have 4 other staff members who do not have flexible working I do not understand why they cannot cover the shift as they will be in the office anyway, all be it they will have to start at 9am.

    The rota is based on 4 staff doing 9 cover days each and the manager covering only 4.

    Can they "review" my agreement? Management are saying its "operational" and a change to the "business" hence the reason they need me to come in.

    I dont feel this is the case as I am more than capable of covering phones, emails etc remotely (i have been for over 2years).

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says it would be unfair dismissal if they change your terms and conditions without your written agreement.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for getting back to me.

    I have met with my management and told them I do not agree to them changing my work pattern. (3 days from home, 2 in the office)

    They have told me they are going to seek advice from HR and will get back to me.

    Basically we have gone from a 6 person team to a 5 person team, and the office cover is on a rota. Management want 2 people to be in the office at 9am every day. (everyone can start at 10am if they want to, but most still come in at 9am as they have flexi time)

    I work from home 3 days a week so on the two days I am in the office, I cover the 9am shift.

    My management has said that we all have to do cover the 9am cover 9 times a month. But with my current work pattern I can only cover 8 so this would mean someone else would need to do an extra day a month.

    I have said I dont have an issue with covering phones etc from home (we have direct access laptops, telephone systems etc so when im at home I have the same access as if I was in the office)

    My manager says its not fair someone should have to do 10 shifts to cover the extra 1 they have asked me to do. But then I have explained that I have made arrangements based on my work pattern which has been in place for over 2 years.

    As we have 4 other staff members who do not have flexible working I do not understand why they cannot cover the shift as they will be in the office anyway, all be it they will have to start at 9am.

    The rota is based on 4 staff doing 9 cover days each and the manager covering only 4.

    Can they "review" my agreement? Management are saying its "operational" and a change to the "business" hence the reason they need me to come in.

    I dont feel this is the case as I am more than capable of covering phones, emails etc remotely (i have been for over 2years).

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says it would be unfair dismissal if they change your terms and conditions without your written agreement.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I had my flexible working agreement agreed back in 2012.

    Since then I have been working 5 days a week but 3 of them from home.

    This has not been an issue and I have made childcare arrangements based on the above.

    My manager is now telling me he wants me to come in an extra day a month.

    This is a change to my agreement as i have been working from home for 3 days a week for over 2 years now.

    Legally can they do this?

    Editor: A formal flexible working agreement is a permanent change to your terms and conditions so to change that would require your employer to consult you and obtain your agreement – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed/getting-agreement. Is there any particular reason for the change?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I had my flexible working agreement agreed back in 2012.

    Since then I have been working 5 days a week but 3 of them from home.

    This has not been an issue and I have made childcare arrangements based on the above.

    My manager is now telling me he wants me to come in an extra day a month.

    This is a change to my agreement as i have been working from home for 3 days a week for over 2 years now.

    Legally can they do this?

    Editor: A formal flexible working agreement is a permanent change to your terms and conditions so to change that would require your employer to consult you and obtain your agreement – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed/getting-agreement. Is there any particular reason for the change?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked for nhs admin for 12 years,dropped to mon – Thursday working 4.5 years ago now told I can have a Wednesday off permanently as the needs in the workplace have changed and Friday is very busy.fridays are no different to any other day and work can be caught up on sat and sun as we have no deliveries then.over the 4 years they have started new people on ,some not incorporating a Friday in their rota and recently a mom has picked up extra day at work again not a Friday.had to put a request in classed as new request for Fridays off for it to be rejected,explained I cannot do any other day off as I take my elderly father to hospital appointments ,need to as he is deaf and also care for my 89 year old mother who is housebound and is also deaf.she has recently broke her hip so I'd class her as disabled and also look after my 2 year old grandson on a Friday whilst his parents work.i said I am being forced into a corner and will have to leave.

    Editor: This would constitute a change to your terms and conditions and you would be entitled to full consultation and your agreement would need to be obtained – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed/getting-agreement

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked for nhs admin for 12 years,dropped to mon – Thursday working 4.5 years ago now told I can have a Wednesday off permanently as the needs in the workplace have changed and Friday is very busy.fridays are no different to any other day and work can be caught up on sat and sun as we have no deliveries then.over the 4 years they have started new people on ,some not incorporating a Friday in their rota and recently a mom has picked up extra day at work again not a Friday.had to put a request in classed as new request for Fridays off for it to be rejected,explained I cannot do any other day off as I take my elderly father to hospital appointments ,need to as he is deaf and also care for my 89 year old mother who is housebound and is also deaf.she has recently broke her hip so I'd class her as disabled and also look after my 2 year old grandson on a Friday whilst his parents work.i said I am being forced into a corner and will have to leave.

    Editor: This would constitute a change to your terms and conditions and you would be entitled to full consultation and your agreement would need to be obtained – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed/getting-agreement

  • Anonymous says:

    Does a request to increase my hours during my annual review back in January ,which was subsequently denied ,count as flexible working request? I have submitted a official request to change how I work my hours ( spread over 4 days instead of 5 due to urgent family commitments in July this year ,and they are now saying that I already had requested this year, without giving this request serious consideration? Can they do this? do I have to wait till January now?

    Editor: Can you give more information on your request – did you put in a formal request – see https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working/applying-for-flexible-working?

  • Anonymous says:

    Does a request to increase my hours during my annual review back in January ,which was subsequently denied ,count as flexible working request? I have submitted a official request to change how I work my hours ( spread over 4 days instead of 5 due to urgent family commitments in July this year ,and they are now saying that I already had requested this year, without giving this request serious consideration? Can they do this? do I have to wait till January now?

    Editor: Can you give more information on your request – did you put in a formal request – see https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working/applying-for-flexible-working?

  • Anonymous says:

    I requested flexible Working in May of this year, via email, I then had an email from my manager saying that it was acceptable to our md at this time, his email was attached,subsequently my previous manager has left and now I am being told that the hours I put down are not acceptable any more, I need the change to be able to pick my daughter up from reception after school club that would mean me needing to leave 15 minutes early twice a week. I also would need to start at 9:15 on those days as I can't drop her off until 8.45. I already go in at this later time on one of the days and have done since 2012 , can they now back track on this due to a new manager starting?? I have now only 2 weeks to arrange something else if even possible as I have only just been advised. They have not kept to the timescales set at all, I have been the one trying to get it arranged all year.

    Editor: Was the email from your manager the result of the flexible working process or did he just say that before meeting with you and going through the formal process? See https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/q-and-a/5194913/parttime-hours-suddenly-rescinded-ask-the-expert.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    I requested flexible Working in May of this year, via email, I then had an email from my manager saying that it was acceptable to our md at this time, his email was attached,subsequently my previous manager has left and now I am being told that the hours I put down are not acceptable any more, I need the change to be able to pick my daughter up from reception after school club that would mean me needing to leave 15 minutes early twice a week. I also would need to start at 9:15 on those days as I can't drop her off until 8.45. I already go in at this later time on one of the days and have done since 2012 , can they now back track on this due to a new manager starting?? I have now only 2 weeks to arrange something else if even possible as I have only just been advised. They have not kept to the timescales set at all, I have been the one trying to get it arranged all year.

    Editor: Was the email from your manager the result of the flexible working process or did he just say that before meeting with you and going through the formal process? See https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/q-and-a/5194913/parttime-hours-suddenly-rescinded-ask-the-expert.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been working four days a week since I went back to work after my first child in 2007 and it has never been raised as a problem or concern. A month or so ago one of my assistants left which leaves just my other assistant on their own on the day I don't work. I don't think my employer has any plans to replace my assistant and I'm concerned that they will want me to start working full-time again. I now have other commitments on the day I don't work which include the school run and helping in my children's school. I'm sure other colleagues could cover key times on the day I don't work. As a poster above mentioned I don't have a new contract outlining the hours/days I now work but as I have been doing them for so long is that good enough?

    Editor: You could argue custom and practice [see http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/go-freelance-guide/custom-and-practice-and-employment-contract-terms/] and if you changed your hours via a flexible working request that would constitute a permanent change in your terms and conditions so would require consultation and obtaining your agreement for any changes.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been working four days a week since I went back to work after my first child in 2007 and it has never been raised as a problem or concern. A month or so ago one of my assistants left which leaves just my other assistant on their own on the day I don't work. I don't think my employer has any plans to replace my assistant and I'm concerned that they will want me to start working full-time again. I now have other commitments on the day I don't work which include the school run and helping in my children's school. I'm sure other colleagues could cover key times on the day I don't work. As a poster above mentioned I don't have a new contract outlining the hours/days I now work but as I have been doing them for so long is that good enough?

    Editor: You could argue custom and practice [see http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/go-freelance-guide/custom-and-practice-and-employment-contract-terms/] and if you changed your hours via a flexible working request that would constitute a permanent change in your terms and conditions so would require consultation and obtaining your agreement for any changes.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was granted flexi work in July 2013 for 25 hours Monday to Friday! Although my partner has just started a new job and his shifts are all over the place so I asked to reduce my hours to 16 over 3 days but my employer said he didn't think he can because I Tied into a flexi work agreement?

    Editor: You can change a flexible work agreement, but you can only apply once every 12 months so you can apply again in July 2014 for a change to your flexible working pattern.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was granted flexi work in July 2013 for 25 hours Monday to Friday! Although my partner has just started a new job and his shifts are all over the place so I asked to reduce my hours to 16 over 3 days but my employer said he didn't think he can because I Tied into a flexi work agreement?

    Editor: You can change a flexible work agreement, but you can only apply once every 12 months so you can apply again in July 2014 for a change to your flexible working pattern.

  • Anonymous says:

    My question was the one above regarding me being on flexible working since 2012. I have never been given a new contract so do not know where I now stand.This is the fault of the company that I work for as this was not my job to get them to issue me with a new contract and I was not aware this had not been done by my personal department, although I have e mails agreeing to my shifts that I currently work

    Editor: You are entitled to a written contract – http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/wales/work_w/work_rights_at_work_e/contracts_of_employment.htm. You should request a written contract and if this is not given to you, consider lodging a grievance. Have you formally requested flexible working? Please write in to our legal experts with full information via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box.

  • Anonymous says:

    My question was the one above regarding me being on flexible working since 2012. I have never been given a new contract so do not know where I now stand.This is the fault of the company that I work for as this was not my job to get them to issue me with a new contract and I was not aware this had not been done by my personal department, although I have e mails agreeing to my shifts that I currently work

    Editor: You are entitled to a written contract – http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/wales/work_w/work_rights_at_work_e/contracts_of_employment.htm. You should request a written contract and if this is not given to you, consider lodging a grievance. Have you formally requested flexible working? Please write in to our legal experts with full information via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been granted flexible working in july 2012 and now they want to change my shift pattern, they want me to work an extra shift , they have spoken to me but state I must change although this will be detrimental to my family where do I stand they are stating that this is due to the department I work in not having any profiled work although for nearly 7 months they allowed me to work in another department from 6pm till 9pm and I am willing to carry on do the same as I have done since then.

    Editor: Does your contract allow for changes to your shift pattern? See https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/all/page_2/6330928/employer-wants-to-change-shift-patterns-ask-the-expert.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been granted flexible working in july 2012 and now they want to change my shift pattern, they want me to work an extra shift , they have spoken to me but state I must change although this will be detrimental to my family where do I stand they are stating that this is due to the department I work in not having any profiled work although for nearly 7 months they allowed me to work in another department from 6pm till 9pm and I am willing to carry on do the same as I have done since then.

    Editor: Does your contract allow for changes to your shift pattern? See https://www.workingmums.co.uk/advice-and-support/all/page_2/6330928/employer-wants-to-change-shift-patterns-ask-the-expert.thtml

  • Anonymous says:

    can my employer withdraw my flexible working agreement without consultation? After 1 year we agreed to modify them for buisness reasons and they now say that from that day my agreement ended without me even being told! Can they legally do this?

    Editor: No, a flexible working agreement is a permanent change to your terms and conditions and cannot be changed without due consultation.

  • Anonymous says:

    can my employer withdraw my flexible working agreement without consultation? After 1 year we agreed to modify them for buisness reasons and they now say that from that day my agreement ended without me even being told! Can they legally do this?

    Editor: No, a flexible working agreement is a permanent change to your terms and conditions and cannot be changed without due consultation.

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Sir,

    I rfer to your article where it states "Once a parent has been formally granted flexible working, this then becomes a permanent change to their contract and if an employer later wants to change that they must have formal discussions with the employee". So now my employer has discussed with me they wish to withdraw my agreed flexible working arrangement, which consists of two days a week working from home. I made it clear that I do not consent to this change, but they say that they will withdraw it in any case, albeit they have allowed me the right to appeal. Is there any law, and if so please let me know which law it is, that forbids any changes to an agreed and signed flexible working arrangement unless both parties consent to it?

    Editor: Under the flexible working legislation any changes that are agreed are permanent – see http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1616

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Sir,

    I rfer to your article where it states "Once a parent has been formally granted flexible working, this then becomes a permanent change to their contract and if an employer later wants to change that they must have formal discussions with the employee". So now my employer has discussed with me they wish to withdraw my agreed flexible working arrangement, which consists of two days a week working from home. I made it clear that I do not consent to this change, but they say that they will withdraw it in any case, albeit they have allowed me the right to appeal. Is there any law, and if so please let me know which law it is, that forbids any changes to an agreed and signed flexible working arrangement unless both parties consent to it?

    Editor: Under the flexible working legislation any changes that are agreed are permanent – see http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1616

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked at the same company for 13 years and have been on flexible working since I had my child 3 years ago.
    She is about to start school in September and my boss now wants me to work 5 days a week.
    At the moment I do 20ish hours a week, I would like to keep doing 20ish hours but spread over 4 days to fit in round the school run and to be able to cover holiday can she do this?

    Editor: Increasing your hours is a change to your terms and conditions so could not be done without consultation with you and your agreement. You could suggest the four days option as a positive in terms of covering more days.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked at the same company for 13 years and have been on flexible working since I had my child 3 years ago.
    She is about to start school in September and my boss now wants me to work 5 days a week.
    At the moment I do 20ish hours a week, I would like to keep doing 20ish hours but spread over 4 days to fit in round the school run and to be able to cover holiday can she do this?

    Editor: Increasing your hours is a change to your terms and conditions so could not be done without consultation with you and your agreement. You could suggest the four days option as a positive in terms of covering more days.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was granted flex time at work for 1 year, however they are now reviewing it and possibly going to change back to normal hours/days. Are they allowed to do this just on the basis of another girl wanting flexi hours/days?

    Editor: When flexible working is granted it is a permanent change to your terms and conditions, unless otherwise agreed, so it cannot be changed without consultation with you and your agreement – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed

  • Anonymous says:

    I was granted flex time at work for 1 year, however they are now reviewing it and possibly going to change back to normal hours/days. Are they allowed to do this just on the basis of another girl wanting flexi hours/days?

    Editor: When flexible working is granted it is a permanent change to your terms and conditions, unless otherwise agreed, so it cannot be changed without consultation with you and your agreement – see https://www.gov.uk/your-employment-contract-how-it-can-be-changed

  • Anonymous says:

    I applied for flexible working before I returned from maternity leave which was denied and I chose not to appeal. I now wish to reapply after being back at work for 4 months. Is this possible?

    Editor: You cannot reapply for flexible working until 12 months have elapsed between applications.

  • Anonymous says:

    I applied for flexible working before I returned from maternity leave which was denied and I chose not to appeal. I now wish to reapply after being back at work for 4 months. Is this possible?

    Editor: You cannot reapply for flexible working until 12 months have elapsed between applications.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm currently on flexible working and have been for over a year now, but my company are now trying to increase my hours and change my work pattern. They are saying this is because the needs of the business have changed, but they've not taken any of my needs in to consideration and are making this as difficult as they can for me. Can they do this? 

    Editor: They cannot change your terms and conditions without going through a consultation and getting your consent.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm currently on flexible working and have been for over a year now, but my company are now trying to increase my hours and change my work pattern. They are saying this is because the needs of the business have changed, but they've not taken any of my needs in to consideration and are making this as difficult as they can for me. Can they do this? 

    Editor: They cannot change your terms and conditions without going through a consultation and getting your consent.

  • Anonymous says:

    Requested to work 8.30 to 4.30 and have a half an hour lunch break. The company said I had to have an hour's lunch break and they would reduce my pay…which I cannot afford to lose. My request was due to childcare problems after 5pm.

    Editor: Are you seeking advice on appealing this? If so, write to our experts via the Advice & Support/Q & A page box. Is the one hour lunch break set down in your contract?

  • Anonymous says:

    Requested to work 8.30 to 4.30 and have a half an hour lunch break. The company said I had to have an hour's lunch break and they would reduce my pay…which I cannot afford to lose. My request was due to childcare problems after 5pm.

    Editor: Are you seeking advice on appealing this? If so, write to our experts via the Advice & Support/Q & A page box. Is the one hour lunch break set down in your contract?

  • Anonymous says:

    We are just going through flexi time – don't know what it means.

    Editor: It usually means varying start and finish times, eg, you start early and end early or start late and end late.

     

  • Anonymous says:

    We are just going through flexi time – don't know what it means.

    Editor: It usually means varying start and finish times, eg, you start early and end early or start late and end late.

     


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