Putting in a second flexible working request: ask the expert

I’ve recently gone back to work (part-time three full days) after having my second child. My first child starts full-time school next year and my second child will be in nursery. Because my part-time role starts in January 2012. Can I put in another flexible request to start in September 2012? If so and it gets refused, what are my options for childcare and taking holidays from work, as we don’t have any friends or family near by?

As you may know only one request for flexible working can be made each year under the statutory right to request scheme.  All parents have the right to formally request flexible working and the employer must then hold a meeting and follow a statutory process and timescale.    However, if you need to make a second request in a given year, there is nothing to stop you making an informal request for flexible working that is outside the statutory right to request.  This is what parents did before the right to request legislation came into force.  Any employer receiving an informal flexible working request would be well advised to take it seriously and look at whether the request is feasible.  However, employers are not obliged  to follow the stipulated time frame for requests made under the formal scheme.

In the first instance if you are contemplating changing your working pattern  talk to your boss in person.  And try to work out a solution that will work for both you and for your employer.  If this is not successful make a written request (under the statutory scheme or informally).  I am unclear from your email what pattern you are hoping for?  Many parents do manage to negotiate working a school hours pattern 9-3/ 10-2 /home working and even term time hours but it does depend on what your employer’s business is and what your role is.

Regarding childcare, schools often have breakfast clubs and after  school clubs that provide wrap around care from 8a.m. to 6p.m. talk to the school.  They may also be able to give you a list of childminders who pick up from your school.  The school should also have information about  for holiday care schemes.  If you child is sick and you cannot send them to school you have the right to take emergency leave from work; this leave is unpaid unless your contract grants you paid dependants leave.  There is more information about emergency leave here, http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/parents/moneyandworkentitlements/workandfamilies/dg_10026555

I hope that my advice was helpful.  I have a lot of experience of coaching parents through flexible working negotiations so please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss further.

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