Refusing flexible working application

(4 Posts)
ToffeeForEveryone Sun 04-Sep-16 19:42:34

I am due to go back to work from maternity leave in the new year. I work full time in a small support department within a medium sized business. As background, the team is massively overtasked, long days / weekend working and unpaid overtime is common. Several business cases submitted to management asking for additional recruitment or a reduced team workload have been refused in the last couple of years as the team is seen as an overhead rather than profit making (the business is profitable and expanding).

I had an informal chat with HR and my line manager a few months ago and discussed returning 4 days a week, shorter days to allow for childcare pick up and collection. This was agreed in principle but not formally approved. There was an expectation that my maternity cover would be retained as the workload has again increased in the last 6 months.

My line manager has now told me that management will not approve any extra budget for the team. As a result, my flexible working application is likely to be declined as they need a full time member of staff and there is no budget to recruit.

There would obviously be a cost to the business if they had to recruit to make up the FT hours (e.g., I worked 3 days, recruit a new person working 2). They would also need to provide an extra desk for the new person if I was working 4 shorter days - there are spare desks in the office.

I can't really think how this business cost could ever be avoided unless the person going part time was still managing to complete a full time workload, so how are flexible working requests ever approved?! Is this sufficient grounds to refuse my application?

chanie44 Sun 04-Sep-16 21:55:23

Large employers in particular can afford the costs of hiring a new employee.

Or, in the case of working 4 days a week, you end up doing 5 days in 4.

It can be difficult to request to work 4 days, as it's often difficult to manage that extra day, particularly if your team is very busy. Could you suggest working 3 days instead, as your employer may be able find it easier to recruit someone for 2 days?

DiegeticMuch Tue 06-Sep-16 19:50:29

Yes, 4 days is hard. The employer probably won't be able/willing to employ a job share partner for just 1 day per week. You'll end up struggling to do 100% of the job with 80% of the pay.

3 days is better I reckon, if you can afford it.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 06-Sep-16 20:15:22

My company tried this, it was all about headcount not actual cost, but that was an issue too. I even found them the perfect jobshare partner from another division but they weren't having it. Eventually I muttered at the head of HR that I had taken legal advice and it looked as though they were trying to force me to quit, it did the trick in that they let me go down to three days but no jobshare partner. Of course there was a hit on the workloads of the whole department, (like yours a very overstretched support department not a profit centre), they were very good about it, but it wasn't easy. Eventually we all got made redundant.

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