Shift change means I may have to leave my job

I have recently become a single dad to my two-year-old son. I have worked for the same company for approximately five years. They are very well aware of the heartbreak I have been going through and have said if I need anything, that I should just say. This morning I came into work for my normal shift which is stated in my contract and which I have been doing for around a year, only to be told that my shift is changing. I am now being forced into unemployment as I don’t have childcare to cover the new hours and I currently get a car share to work.

You should make a request for flexible working, explaining that you have built your childcare and travel arrangements around your original shift pattern. Your request needs to deal with how it will impact your employer and how you think this can be dealt with. If your employer is continuing with that shift pattern (as seems to be the case if your co-worker is staying on that shift), it should be possible for them to reorganise staff so that you can continue to work the fixed shift.

Your employer can only refuse a request for flexible working on one of the following grounds:

  • The burden of additional costs.
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
  • Inability to reorganise work among existing staff.
  • Inability to recruit additional staff.
  • Detrimental impact on quality.
  • Detrimental impact on performance.
  • Insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work.
  • Planned structural changes.

If your original shift remains, it does not seem likely that they can refuse unless they are unable to reorganise so that you can stay on that shift with someone else moving to the new shift.

If your employer refuses your request, there should be an appeal process. If this is still unsuccessful, you should seek advice about bringing a claim that the request was refused unlawfully.

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