Work are asking for proof of childcare arrangements

I returned to work nearly a year ago following maternity leave on a flexible working agreement, agreed verbally with my line manager during my ‘return to work’ interview. The arrangement allowed me to work Monday to Wednesday at the office and Thursday and Friday from home.

My line manager has recently been deployed to a new project, but prior to his departure he recommended I complete a formal flexible working request to ensure my arrangement was protected. I did so, stating that I had been working this pattern for 10 months with no negative concerns. In fact I have been praised and recognised for promotion.

The HR department have written to me accepting my request subject to two conditions:

1. Providing proof that my child attends nursery five days a week on a full-time basis.

2. That the agreement is subject to a trial period until the end of January 2018.

I feel these are unreasonable conditions.

1. I am not required under legislation or company policy to prove my childcare arrangements.

2. I feel it is unreasonable to apply a condition that applies to the past where previously there was no such condition.

3. I feel it is unreasonable to specify who cares for my child whilst I am at work.

4. I feel that a trial period is unnecessary and an unreasonable condition as my performance over the past 10 months has already demonstrated my ability to maintain productivity and quality and also demonstrates the business’ ability to accommodate my request long term.

My child does not attend nursery full time. My income is the main source of income for our family and, because of this, my partner, who is self employed, provides childcare whilst I am work. I would like some advice on how best to respond to my advantage.

Whilst I can understand your frustration at being asked to complete a trial period for something that has been in place for some time, from a practical point of view it is probably unwise to appeal on this basis alone. The trial period is for a couple of months only and you will presumably be able to demonstrate that it works as it is has worked already. I suggest that you reply along the lines of:

“I’m not sure why I am being asked to complete a trial period as this working arrangement has been in place since I returned to work in January. I have already demonstrated my ability to maintain productivity and quality and also the businesses ability to accommodate my request long term. Nevertheless, I am so confident that I will be able to continue to demonstrate that this arrangement works for both parties that I do not object to the trial period.”

As far as childcare is concerned, HR are probably simply trying to establish that there is childcare in place for the days you work from home and that you will not be trying to combine work with childcare. I imagine that if you make clear that your partner provides childcare on all five days, this will be sufficient.


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