I’m looking for some advice. I currently am on an induction period at work. I am due to be given my contract next week. When being interviewed for the job I was told by the manager the contract would be a choice of 33 hours, 34 and a half hours or 44. I made it clear I only wanted 33 hours as I have a six-year-old child. During my iduction period I have been working 44 hours a week and I was finding getting childcare very difficult so I went to speak to my manager about my hours going back to 33 and that when I get my contract I only want 33 hour because I was having trouble with childcare. He said your contract will be 38 and a half hours or you can find another job somewhere else. What do I do now?
As you have stated that you are on an induction period at work and have not received your contract, I assume that you have recently started and have less than two years service. If my assumption is correct, you do not have any unfair dismissal rights.
However, if you were advised by your manager that the contract would be a choice of 33 hours, 34.5 hours, 44 hours but you have decided on 33 hours and the reason why you are unable to work 44 hours is because of childcare issues, then potentially you have a claim for indirect sex discrimination. This is because the employer is imposing a “policy” whereby all employees are required to work 44 hours. This policy impacts on those which have childcare responsibilities which are predominantly female, and therefore this potentially may amount to indirect sex discrimination. The employer would have to show that there is a business need for you to work 44 hours rather than 33 hours. This, however, is an extremely difficult argument to run and I suggest in the first instance you write to your employer setting out that you were advised at the interview that you could either undertake 33, 34.5 hours or 44 hours and, despite that, you are being required to undertake 44 hours which you are unable to do because of childcare issues.