reducing hours after maternity leave- work said no- help(15 Posts)
I work as an admin assistant. I work 25hrs per week term time only. I work Mon-Fri 9.30am-2.30pm.
I am due to go back to work after Easter. I have asked my manager if i can reduce to 20hrs per week over 4 days. I've asked to reduce as the childminder only has 4 days available Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri. Also I cannot afford childcare for 5 days- childcare has gone up, but my wage has stayed the same- we've had a pay freeze for 3 yrs
My manager says that there is a shortfall in hours/staff and that i can't work 4 days. I can't do 25 hrs over 4 days either as I have 2 other children to take to school and pick up.
My manager suggests I put it in writing stating the reasons above and hope Senior Management change their minds!
I have no-one else to look after the baby on the extra day as all my relatives work full time.
I am in a union, would they be able to help me word my letter in a way management might agree?
Are there any union members on here that can help me?
Your employer is not obliged to change your contract to suit you I'm afraid. I think part of the problem is that the change is so small - they aren't going to be able to recruit someone else to work just 5 hours a week so you are asking them to agree to some of the work just not getting done at all. That is not a reasonable thing to ask.
You have the right to go back to your old job on the same terms as you had before you went on leave. They are obliged to give serious consideration to your requests for changes but are not obliged to agree if there is a negative impact on them - which it sould like there would be.
You need to propose something that will result in all the work getting done. Either request to halve your hours to 12.5 hours so they can recruit someone else to do the other 12.5 hours - or alternately - could any of your work feasibly be done during school holidays or is it 100% deadling with term-time issues? Assuming your term-time is a standard 39 weeks, your current contract is for 975 hours of work per year - would they agree to you working 20 hours a week all year round, which would equate to approximately the same number of hours so the same amount of work would get done.
Your specific childminder day vacancies are a red herring I think - your employer would be quite reasonable to expect you to seek a childminder who can meet your childcare needs - surely there isn't only one childminder in your town?
Presumably someone will have to pick up a day's worth of your work if you drop a day. Did you make any constructive suggestions as to how this could be done, in your application? Can you not make any adjustments at all to work the same hours compressed into 4 days? (earlier start with kids going to breakfast club, maybe?). I think you need to put forward some suggestions as to how they will cover your work, rather than just expecting them to magic extra staff out of nowhere. Is there any part of your job that you could do at home in the evening? What did they actually say when they refused your request - legally, they need to give an actual business reason why it won't work (for example, you need to be available to answer phones during those times). The union would be able to advise you on whether their reasons for refusing your request are sound.
p.s. by they aren't going to be able to recruit I mean it's not a sensible way to manage a workload to recruit some else to do 5 hours a week of it - there is too much inefficiency having to train an extra person for such a tiny amount of work, loads of time and effort would be wasted. Obviously there are people willing to take on 5 hours a week of work, I just don't believe your employers should feel obliged to put up with that kind of hassle.
I would check with union though. We've got a flexible working policy for everyone returning from mat leave.
thanks for your replies.
tiffinbaker- i can only work term time as i cannot afford childcare during the holidays for 3 children.
There are no childminders with vacancies near me.
NatashaBee- I can't work from home as I work for the govt and work is not allowed to leave the office- part of the Secrecy Act.
A colleague of mine mentioned he wants to up his hours, so i'll put this in the letter I write to them. We do the same work so hopefully it will help.
Good idea to put that in the letter - offering a contructive solution that deals with the impact of your request should help. They would then only really have grounds to object if this colleague is (a) on a significantly higher pay grade than you such that the change would cost them more (b) significantly less good at doing the work than you or (c) if the work you do is very time-specific such that handing some workload over would require him to be doing two tasks at once.
Could you get him to sign a "to whom it may concern" letter stating simply "I (NAME) currently employed as (JOBTITLE) on (GRADE) at (SALARY) for (XX) hours per week wish to confirm that I would like to increase my contracted working hours if such an opportunity arises. I understand that (Allotmentgirl) is requesting to reduce her contracted hours and believe that I could take on the additional workload if my contracted hours could be increased by the equivalent amount."
I would definitely mention your colleague in the letter - and ask him to notify his manager that he'd like to take on the extra hours as well.
They aren't really required to do anything, I have to say. At my place, they will let you work reduced hours for less pay, but I've never heard of anyone being able to work term-time only! I know this is a government place, but I seriously can't see how a place can be run like that. It may be slightly unfair to those who want to work less, but may have no children, and hence, no excuse. What do they do when you are away on school holidays?
Given that you already have a term time only school hours job, thus saving you before/after school and holiday childcare fees, I would move heaven and earth to find a solution and return on your current hours. Tbh it sounds like even of the cm were available on Wednesday's, you're saying you don't want to pay 5 days childcare because your childcare costs have gone up while your pay has been frozen. Being totally straight with you, I think that's very short sighted. I would take a temporary 'hit' (as many parents do) for the sake of long term gains. Before long all your children will be in school and you may well want to increase your hours, and find you can't because you pushed to have them cut now and someone else is doing the job. If you are determined to try to cut your hours then don't mention the childcare issue because that's not your employers concern- just focus on how the work can be reorganised. I agree they are highly unlikely to go to the expense of recruiting someone for 5 hours a week. But as I say, I would go with the temporary financial hit because it makes sense long term
Tasmania- i don't get paid when i'm off in the holidays. My pay is pro-rata so i get the same wage each month.
Anyone can request flexible working at our place, you don't have to have children.
janey68- it will be at least 5yrs before i can increase my hours as this is when baby will go to school.
I will be paying out more per day than i earn, so it may be a temporary hit, but it will be a costly one
Look for a nursery place for.one day a week or ask a family.member to help.
Could your dh reduce his work to 32 hours and be off on a Wed? Then, not.only could you work a Wed but could even up your hours.on that day while dh does the drop offs.and pick ups.
Please dont look at childcare as eating ap all your wage - it is a household expense.
You'll get a certain number of hours free childcare when your child turns 3, so it won't be 5 years until its cost effective. I mean, if you are saying its worth your while paying 4 days now (just not 5) I don't see how it can possibly not get cheaper when some of those 4 days will effectively be free. It might mean switching to a nursery rather than cm (not sure how the free hours work) but you would definitely get a significant chunk of your week free. I also think that although many public sector jobs have suffered a pay freeze, you don't necessarily know that it will last 5 years - your pay could improve before then. Also with the new regulations in childcare, about ratios, childcare is not going to increase at the rate it has done.
Wow, school hours job term time and you don't have to deal with other people's children. I will take that if it's too much trouble for you.
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