I have worked for a large blue chip organisation for 15 years, originally on a full-time contract, but since having my children have moved to a 28-hour contract. Last year the department was reorganised and I was moved to an equivalent role in a different team. The new team is an area I have no experience in and the nature of the job means I am working near on 40 hours a week to manage the workload. I had no choice in the move and it would not have been out of choice as the new area of the business has no interest to me and I have no relevant experience, but ultimately the role is account management and therefore the skill set is transferable. My question is, given the change to my job was compulsory and I had no say in being moved between teams and the new role, although it has the same title, has a huge amount more work and is requiring me to work far more than my contracted hours, would I have a case for this part-time role being made redundant? Any advice you could provide would be very much appreciated.
Your employer should not have imposed the change in role on you without consultation. If your previous position was made redundant last year, they may have moved you to the new role as a suitable alternative to avoid you being made redundant. Whether a role is ‘suitable’ will include consideration of the terms of employment, including the hours of work.
Given the significant difference in your total working hours, it is likely that the new role is not actually a suitable alternative. There is a statutory four-week trial period during which it can be gauged if the employment is in fact suitable. It appears however, that this is likely to have passed as you moved to your new role last year.
I would recommend raising the issue regarding your hours and workload with management in the first instance to see if they can resolve the matter. It would be useful to check your new contract to ensure that your hours of work are 28 hours and if they are, provide a copy of this to your managers, explaining that your part-time hours are due to childcare and that you were not made aware that there would be any change to your hours on taking up the new role (if this was the case).
If your employer fails to resolve the matter, potential claims that could be brought against them are:
– Breach of contract
– Indirect sex discrimination as the excessive workload and hours will likely have an adverse impact on you given your childcare responsibilities
– Less favourable treatment on the basis of being a part-time worker as your pro-rata pay will be less than that of your full-time colleagues
– Equal pay, if there are male employees working full-time hours and receiving pro-rata better pay than you.
If you do find the matter unresolved, I would recommend that you seek legal advice and would be happy to discuss your situation and rights further with you.