I need a set shift due to childcare: ask the expert

I am due to return to work from maternity leave in June. My position is 16 hours per week on a 7-day shift pattern (different days each week). I have made a formal flexible working request for set days/shifts (for wk days only) to enable me to get childcare for my son, but this has been declined. I am currently waiting for a meeting to be arranged to discuss this. As it stands I cannot return to work without set days as my son needs to go to a childminder/nursery and because I don’t know which days i’ll be working from one week to the next they cannot accommodate him. So I’ve asked if I could only work the late shifts on week days (weekends are not a problem as my husband is at home) then my mother could look after him and then I wouldn’t need set days. But this was also declined, even though my work colleagues were more than happy for me to work the late shifts only. Please help.

Your employer must be able to objectively justify the refusal to alter the shift pattern to accommodate your needs.  The decision not to allow a change could constitute indirect sex discrimination as women are more likely to be affected then men because they are more likely to have caring responsibilities.

I would prepare a business case ready for the meeting which includes written signed agreement of your colleagues that you work specific hours only with an impact assessment of your proposal.


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