Training involves early starts that I can’t make due to childcare issues

I work for an ambulance service and six months ago joined a course to train me to be a paramedic. The first six months is a lot of self study and I passed all my exams first time. My part-time hours were 16 per week. A male colleague who does 23 hours was not asked to do this. To fulfil the on the road experience I was requested to increase my hours to 26. The hours do not fit with my children’s breakfast club as I would have to get an early train to travel to the course. I informed my course director of this who replied that I needed to find childcare that opens at 6am and said it was impossible to move the course times. I emailed her and her associate course director to tell them I have been unsuccessful in finding any other childcare and suggested how I could catch up on the first part of the morning. She replied that this was not possible, but ‘to support’ me they can defer my course until I can sort out appropriate childcare. Is this legal?

Ambulance, NHS


It is unfortunate that the course provider is not able to make adjustments to its timetable to accommodate you.

You ask whether their inability to accommodate you “is legal”.  I assume that you are asking from the point of view of some breach of discrimination legislation and so will respond on that basis.  I should say that I make that assumption because of your comment about a male colleague on the course who has not had to change his hours in the same way as you, although you say that is not the issue.

I am not sure how many people attend this course, but assume that it is not just you and your male colleague and so moving the course would affect all of the other students and their personal timetables.

I assume that if the course were closer to your home or your child(rens) school you would not be require to take such an early train and therefore there would be no issue.  Again, I am assuming that might be the case.

If the conduct by the course provider, who is also covered by the discrimination legislation, can be applied to a man in the same way, then I cannot see how it can be against the law ie you may have a man who has responsibility of getting his children to school who also may not be able to arrive at the course on time.

I cannot see that there can be a case to answer for direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of your sex.

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