Have you or your partner requested flexible working and if so how has it worked out?(51 Posts)
The EHRC are keen to find out more about whether flexible working was working for Mumsnetters and their partners.
So just wondered how many folks have asked to work flexibly post-kids - and since the legal right to ask came in - and how did it work out in practice?
If you've gone back into the work place following a career break, have you been able to get flexible working, and has it worked for you and your employer?
I asked for it after 1yr maternity leave, I thought it would be ok as what I was doing runs 24/7 and I had to work some weekends anyway
but they made my life very difficult, I went back without an agreement and worked quite hard for 4 months but no flexibility was forthcoming so I left
strange as before baby I felt my hrs were quite flexible
the problem with the legislation, as I see it is that it depends too much on your direct line manager, at least in my situation
even with support from HR I just could not stomach the fight. I felt quite fragile going back to work anyway.
I asked for flexible working but they couldn't find anything suitable which is hillarious as it's a multi national company. So they gave me a payoff which was absolutely fine as I wanted to change careers anyway. The payoff meant that I could:
2. Be able to stay at home with DS until he's about a year.
ds1 - before the new legislation. requested 3 days, got it. About a year later (due to change in childcare) requested I do the same hours over 4 mornings, got it.
ds2 - after the new legislation. requested 3 long mornings (18 hrs instead of the 22.5 hrs I had been doing), refused on the basis they had decided that managers should be in the office for at least 4 days (there had been some issues with other people working 2 or 3 days in the last couple of years).
Discussions with my boss lead to the agreement that I would do 20 hrs over 4 mornings.
It works very well (and in fairness it IS better for the business that I am there for 4 days rather than 3 - and I did sell the change after I had gone back after ds1 on that basis).
They are also fairly flexible - as I am with them. If need be I swap my days to attend meetings, work later for courses etc. Over the summer they agreed I could do my hrs over 3 days instead of 4 to relieve my childcare.
I've recently started working flexibly. It was actually offered to me rather than me making a request for it. The company I am with is a big, well known, national company, but the store I work at is only small.
I work 16hrs a week & I have to be in Monday morning, but other than that it is up to me when I work. Most of the time I stick to school hours, but it means that if I need an appointment (which I have a lot of for ds2 atm) I can just swap a day over, or I can go in an hour later fo example and make up that hour at another time.
It works really well for me, my manager knows that I will do my hours & knows I won't take the mick with it.
I work flexible hours since returning from maternity leave 18 months ago. I returned intitially on 3 days a week for 6 months, and then went up to 4.5 days worked over 4 full days for a year, and have now just changed to 4.5 days (33 hours) working 3 full days and 2 half days.
I work half days on Wednesday and Friday, but in reality flex those hours depending on meetings - so sometimes I need to work longer on Wednesday, so finish earlier on Friday, or vice versa.
I generally work from home on Wednesday and Friday morning - to maximise hours working, but it depends on meetings.
My dp was offered it, he now works from home and can take time to take dd to school, pick her up , go to assemblies etc and make up the hours elsewhere. It has helped transform our family from a very stressed divided one to one that is blissfully happy and stress free.
I have gone/am going from 8:15am-6pm 5 days per week to 4 days per week doing 9am-5pm. Not sure how it will work as Monday is my first day back, will let you know!!
They have been very understanding for a v.young mediahhhh company.
Has anyone managed to persuade a new employer to let them work flexibly? I've got a friend who is trying to return after a career break and she's finding it difficult to find part-time work in her field. I'm not sure whether she should just apply for full time jobs and maybe raise it at interview?
I work for HMRC, and it's been nothing but positive. I've got hours that fit entirely round my family and circs, and even after that I was able to vary the hours when DH's work pattern changed.
Flexible working is the only reason I'm back at work - I can fit work around my family and still give both my all.
I think it would be worth raising as a possibility with new employers - frankly I don't understand why enlighted employers wouldn't be champing at the bit to introduce greater flexibility - most staff would be much more flexible in return.
All going swimmingly here. we are both in the public sector, but in jobs where working late at short notice is common.
DH works flexibly - compressed hours with Tuesdays off
I work 3 days weekly and do a long day on call on Tuesdays. This frees me up to work shorter days Thurs/Fri to collect DD from nursery.
My request to work part time was accepted but my friend who works in the same location as me (who hasn't got children) has been refused flexible working hours.
She needs them to reduce her hours because her health is suffering. (she has to work 6 day weeks twice a month)
I think she is going to speak to our union to gain some advice.
I think they have acted with discrimination towards my friend as she hasn't got any apparent home commitments.
I've got a couple of friends who requested a reduction of five days to four. Both of them say they are now doing the same amount of work (taking work home, working weekends etc.) but only getting paid for four days. The message seems to be request five days over four rather than a cut in hours because at least that way you still get paid for the work you do.
DH and I both wanted to work part time and share care of out DD, so we both applied to work 3 days a week (3 long days, me doing 8 hours, DH doing 9, meaning we are essentially between us doing 1.5 full time job IYKWIM?). I work for the civil service in a massive department, they said "no problem. When do you want to work?".
My husband works for a high street store as a supervisor. They said "we'll give you a 3 month trial to see how it works out before we make it permanent" (actually what really happened was DH put in the required form, the company didn't follow the required procedure, made it all seem like just a formality and he could do it, then 3 weeks before I went back to work they said "actually you can't work part-time" causing much panic and distress on my part. Eventually they realised they couldn't do that and relented, but changed the agreed days so I had to go back to my work and ask to change days."
Anyway 4 months later they said "we want to extend the trial another month" it had already been 4 months by then and DH had a suspicion they were trying to buy time to find a way to refuse. He said no to extending the trial, you need to tell me now one way or another, got the store manager to sign a letter saying the trial had been successful and there should be no reason why it cannot be made permanent.
They wrote him a letter saying "the trial hasn't worked, you will have to work full time, because we are nice and considerate and all that you've got 3 weeks to find childcare"
DH went to the union who said he had a really good case (obviously it's a bit more complex than I've written here e.g. every time they asked DH to cover the manager, meaning I had to take time off, which has been several times, if I said no i can't get the time off work they said "well, if you can't do it, we'll take away your part-time hours). He appealed. The held meeting (on one of DH's days of so we had to get a babysitter, which just shows their complete insensitivity to DH's situation. They've had the meeting and we are waiting for a reply. If they still refuse DH is going to have to resign and take them to court for constructive dismissal. I will have to go full and we still won't have enough money to pay our bills so DH will probably have to get an evening job until he can find something that suits the arrangement we want.
I have learned several things in this process:
1) The civil service are excellent and have been nothing but flexible
2) Working part time and going back to work after maternity leave is hard. I am struggling to get up to speed as I have gone into a new role. While I only work 3/5 time, I don't only do 3/5 admin, I don't go to 3/5 of a meeting and I can't just read 3/5 of my emails.
3) DH's company are twunts
4) Their HR department exists for the managers and not the staff, they are not looking out for the best interests of the staff, and DH works frigging hard for that company. But we'll see who gets the last laugh...
Bloody hell, that's awful. Good luck. Have you tried contacting the Equality and Human Rights Commission (www.equalityhumanrights.com) which took over responsibility for this area from teh Equal Opportunities Commission?
Also Palmer Wade are supposed to be very good solicitors for this sort of case.
I went back when DD was 6 months. Requested 3 full days which they accepted but I have been alienated by management ever since. I was not even given the opportunity to interview for a post I had shown much interest in and had been interviewed for when a full-time employee, I am not told important things that happen on my days off and am then looked at in disgust by my line manager for not knowing these things. I think they will feel much better when I am gone however circumstances mean that's not an option at moment.
It gets even worse. When DH had the meeting with HR and a 3rd party manager to discuss the matter DH asked if he can continue to work PT while the appeal proceeds (he has to, to look after DD). She said it was up to his line manager to decide. She hasn't been in until today and DH asked her today. She said yes that's fine (phew). Then she said actually HR had rung her and said actually she couldn't say that and he couldn't work part-time. Apparently they want to send his manager to another bigger store to cover for a week. Well, they can't be that fucking bothered about there being adequate cover while DH is working part-time if they are willing to take a manger from a very small store when they could have asked someone from anywhere. Aaarrrgghhhh! So they are waiting for a call from HR to confirm as DH has said he can't do it. The thing is if you are going to claim constructive dismissal you have to resign basically as soon an escalating factor happens, and DH can't get hold of the union guy to find out if this is the right move. If they try to make him work full time next week he can either quit now, and have no money, or wait for them to discipline him, where at least he will still get paid in the meantime but might harm his case if he eventually has to resign.
God I can't tell you how many times in the past 8 months we have had this whole "DH's job in jeopardy" scenario. Once this is all over I am going to name and shame the twunts.
Oh, and thanks for the link sunshine. Fortunately Dh is being supported by a great guy in his union. We'd be screwed otherwise. It's worrying how many people don't know their employment rights, goodness knows how many other people are being screwed by their employers. If you can do join a union!
I (belatedly) wanted to add to this.
I applied to work flex-time when I returned from my mat leave with DS1 - my employer was a national company who were not keen - but agreed.
After DS2 I was working back in a managment role and my employers were very helpful. They agreed a job share and then shortly before I returned to work 'made' a position for me in my home town rather than a commute to work. This has worked out really well I do 3 full days a week and every other sat am. I am now an assistant manager which suits me as I have kept my grading but don't have full responsibility.
I am flexible when I can be so swap days for meetings, courses, staff holidays etc and work extra when the BM is away - all of this is with mutual agreement.
I think it is really tricky for employers.
I started off in my current job as part time (with 2 yr old ds) and 12 months later when a full time job in our team came up i applied for it and requested flexible working. This was accepted and I changed to a four day week. As a consequence the team as a whole miss out on having a team member every friday as they cannot advertise for 1 day a week as it is still technically my post. However I feel that I contribute more than some of my full time colleagues and I am very conscious that I am not in on a friday and therefore make more of an effort to be very organised etc.
I am now on maternity leave and am due to go back in nov. I have just applied for another change to my working hours and have applied for a 7 day fortnight. I work for a local authority childrens services directorate.
My Dh works for a national childrens charity and he has been granted a 9 day fortnight based on compressed hours. He found that whilst the organisation are in agreement with flexible working, the logistics of getting this past his line manager was quite tough as he had to justify his ability to make up the time etc.
In practice this arrangement has worked very well for us. It has its moments but we feel it is definately worth it. My dh now has a day a fortnight to spend with his children and I feel that I have a good work/family balance.
I got what I asked for - every time I have asked.
1st - when returning to teaching after DD was born (6 years ag) - went from FT to PT 3 days a week.
2nd time - current job at prison (arranged about 2 years ago), changed PT hours so that on a Tues I finish 30 min early (30 min less lunch) and then Wd.Thurs I do 1.5 days hours equally, finshing at 2:10pm with just 20 min lunch.
3rd time (just started new arrangements this month; DD now 6y5m so above 6y old). Dropped half a day to go down to 2 days a week, now finish 30 mins early than normal end time both days (with reduced lunch hour to make up for it)
After my maternity leave, I asked for flexible working and went back part time, 2.5 days a week. I work every Wed afternoon and two other days which vary, depending on DH's shifts. I tell work 4 weeks in advance which days I will be in. We don't need any paid childcare if I'm working this pattern.
I wasn't sure they would agree to it, but they have been fantastic..I'm in the Civil Service and my job is casework based, which I think has made it a lot easier.
When I returned to work after having dd, I switched from a 9-5 day to an 8-4 day. This made my commute much easier, and effectively extended the cover in our office by an hour each day. So was win-win.
Dh changed his working week so he does 4 x 10 hour days instead of 5 x 8 hours. He gets to spend one day a week at home with dd, and is still paid a full time wage. His employer also swapped his PC for a laptop so he can do some of his hours at home from time to time.
Its all good.
Yes, I asked for flexible working and I got it no problems. I work a few less hours a week, but not too many less, and I work compacted hours.
The only thing I did not get was the request to work from home for a set time (ie a morning) as there is confidentiality issues - they are overcomeable but I need an office, secure place to put files, and they have to do work station assessment etc and it just is not worth it.
DH has flexible working, when he started his job just over a month ago, he works 21 hours, and his boss said they needed him in all day monday and at some point tuesday afternoons and other than that, he could decide what other days/hours he does to suit his family needs.
It means we both have 1.5 days per week with DD on different days and she is in nursery for 2 days.
If we did not have flexible working, DH would have been unable to take this new job, in fact he would have had to stop working altogether as we would not be able to afford full time childcare nor would we want that.
I feel this is hard to reply to as this is on mumsnet and although a wonderful sight, hardly any males come on here.What do others feel
After maternity leave I went back to work three days a week, no problem at all. I've just switched to five days a week, but only six hours a day, and term-time only (not contracted to work the longer holidays, that is).
First time was just a done deal, second time I had to do a little more work, putting forward a business case and suchlike - but that's more because I work for audit and we have to do everything by the book, rather than because there was any real concern about it being appropriate. The biggest concern was whether we had the money to pay me for an extra (averaged out) 1.75 hours a week!
DH still works fulltime (same employer) but just makes the most of the flexitime that the majority of us work to, so he will be taking DD to school once I finish my current school settling-in leave (annual leave banked over the last four years).
The best thing has been that I've been retrained whilst working part-time, same amount of money invested as in a full-timer, and the amount of time (in years) that I'm expected to stay in post is the same, so in theory I could get the training and put in far fewer hours in return. In practice I'll probably stay longer.
Me sort of (came back on flexible training scheme which I think has now gone after dd1)
I was supposed to do 3 days a week
I ended up doing over 4 during the year.
I was continually blamed, picked on and sidelined.
Including the very memorable comment by one boss that my non-attendance on on of the days I was supposed to be off was 'typical' 'some people do all the work and some none' said to me in front of a whole room of people and resulting in more then one complaint to the HOD!
I was made to go in full time to cover my colleagues leave.
There were supposed to be 3.6 of us in the job they frequently left it with me and one other girl who was so slow I did most of her work when I was there (as well as the other persons)
I was offered time back to cover my own training and then not allowed to take the time back.
I was not supposed to work weekends then made to work a disproportionate number of Fridays (defined as weekend)
I was underpaid
I was not allowed to accrue annual leave on mat. leave, nor did they pay my pension.
They paid a sum of money to my colleagues whilst I was on mat. leave and not me (discrimination.)
It was one of the times I have worked the hardest in my career, (apart form the abuse I enjoyed it)
Now I have 3 more children and I work full-time, my job is much easier but my department is a bed of vipers, my boss wont talk to me, my childcare arrangements have been crumbling all summer, my dh does next to nothing. I am about to approach them with another request for flexible working they will need to agree or I think I will have a nrevous breakdown, I'm sure I will end up resigning despite finishing my training and being at the peak of my career.
I work for the NHS my first employer was on the face of it one of the most family friendly I've seen, loads of staff doing part-time, term time contracts etc !!!!
I went back flexible working after DS 2 yrs ago. I requested to return to work on a 4 day week with only a 30 min lunch and fixed hrs. This was granted and to be as flexible as possible I agreed to still work 1 in 6 saturdays and 1 late shift a week. I am a team manager and at first they were select about what teams I could manage, ie my old manager refused to have me back as he said he could not accomodate a part time team manager, however since being back ive changed teams twice and they havent compained about me being part time.
I do struggle with the amount of work I have to do as I do full time work and I feel that I miss out on meetings etc as they always seem to happen on my day off.
When DS starts school I will put in a request for early finishes instead of the 4 day week.
Just a comment as a manager. I let all my staff work flexibly, and encourage them to think of work as something to do, rather than somewhere to be. I particularly love the part-timers I manage, as most of them achieve the same as full-timers because the concentrate harder knowing that time is short, yet they cost less. Judging from my experience, managers who refuse requests to work part time are shooting themselves in the foot.
I went back to work after maternity leave in April 1996 and went from full time to a 3 day job share. When ds went to school full time, they were great and allowed me to do the same hours over 5 days, so I worked for 6 hours a day, and it fitted beautifully with school drop offs and pick ups.
There were some advantages to working for a Local Authority. Even then, they sorted out the job share for me, as the onus was on them to make it happen once a job share had been requested.
Once I retrained as a teacher, a job share wasn't an option, but there were reduced timetable jobs available.
Dh was abel towork flexibly in his old company before the legislation came in. After it came in and he applied to have flexible working formalised they said yes he could leave early two days a week but he'd have to reduce his hours to do so (rather than work at home - the company's arguement was that no-one can do two jobs at the same time, i.e. work and look after children ). He had no choice but to agree. He did that for a couple of years (that really awkward period where one dc was at school and the other in day care nursery. Once 2nd dc started school I re-arranged my hours and he joined another company FT.
Other companies he has worked for since have allowed him to work from home quite a bit (private sector, city-type roles), but on an informal basis, which suits him as he feels if he formalises things he would get less flexibility.
I was always able to work flexibly cos I had a super-understanding boss (public sector), so have never needed to formalise a request. However when organisation was restructured last year bosses of the roles that were available to me as on the same grade indicated (in writing - more fool them) they woldn't countenance flexible or PT working so I applied for voluntary redundancy. I also got a solicitor involved and jumped up and down shouting sex discrimination - and got a nice pay off
Flip side is I am now desperate to find a job with at least some flexibility that pays reasonably well rather than the junior temp job I'm doing ATM
I had a good experience. I was able to come back to work three days (on the days I wanted) - and although you couldn't technically "do" my old job part-time, my boss changed my responsibilities to make it fit. The way he saw it, he would rather I was there doing something than not being there at all (I had been with the company ten years before I had DS1, and now have DS2). I have a good balance between work and home, and a great childminder and good support from school (breakfast club etc). I still get to take DS1 to school and pick up two days a week, plus I can get involved with activities for the school (like helping on school trips, reading etc). I am well aware that I am incredibly lucky that it all worked out for me - its been the best thing for the whole family
I have had two completely different experiences.
The company I was working for when dd was born were awful. When I went back after ML they agreed to cut my lunch break from an hour to half an hour so that I could start half an hour later with no loss of salary. That was where their flexibility ended. I struggled immensely from the start. I had a 45 mile round trip to work, DD was in nursery from 8-6 Mon-Fri, she caught constant coughs, colds and got chickenpox within three months of my going back to work. My boss at the time organised a laptop so that I could work from home a couple of days a week which helped enormously. Sadly my boss was killed in a car crash whilst on a business trip and after that it all went tits up. The lap top was taken away, I had to be in the office every day. I applied using the Flexible Working Regulations to have it back and was turned down. I went to appeal and lost. I was verbally advised by HR to apply for part time hours, which I did and was turned down. Through all this I had a lot of time off with stress and depression. I was seen by a company doctor and I said that I would be far more able to work if I could cut my hours. He told HR that I was fit to return part time. HR then said that if I was fit to return part time then I was fit to return full time and they were going to stop paying me unless I went back. I went back, found another job asap and got the hell out of there.
The job I have now is the one that I left the above for. It couldn't be more different. I worked full time to start with, then slightly reduced hours after a period of illness. DD has just started school and I have reduced my hours to 21 p/w so I can work round school hours. There was no formal application procedure needed - I spoke to my boss, she asked what I would prefer to work, and I was granted those hours. No fuss, no problem.
Working for a company that has such a great attitude to working parents has made such a difference to both my mental and physical health. I am no longer run down, no longer on AD's and I feel that I finally have the work/life balance that suits me.
DP requested it, to work a 4 day week, he works for an IT company. They did permit it but grudgingly, after waiting a while, and probably only because they knew he'd leave otherwise. He had to be quite insistent.
It works well, he also gets flexible hours and takes unpaid parental leave in the holidays. The company don't like it but tolerate it. Their payoff is that he's still there, he'd have left otherwise.
Everyone in my job works flexibly anyway so I haven't had to request anything.
I have been lucky. I requested part time hours when off on maternity leave with my first child and came back to work 3 days a week. I am in the Civil Service who I think are pretty good with their flexible working policies. I then went on to get promoted as a part timer and now work with in a job share partnership.
My husband's job does not allow him any flexibility so I am the primary caregive. My immediate line management are great and understand if I need to leave etc because of nose bleeds, sicknesses etc etc etc (the list is endless)!!!
went back 3/5 days after DS1 (NHS) was bullied and sidelined and hated it - now work flexibly in a university and they are wonderfully accomodating and nice and i work really hard in appreciation-
the NHS were shit in comparison
My dh has requested flexi working 3 times now, all in the public sector. We are still waiting on the 3rd request but the first 2 were both granted as he requested.
1: reduced and constricted hours to 4 day week.
2: constricted hours to 3 days plus 2 long mornings.
3: reduced and constricted hours to 4 day week.
The only comment I would make is that although he has had his requests granted he does feel guilty about it and I think it can be hard for men particularly to change to flexible/PT working.
It is more socially acceptable for women than men to put their children before their career and men who do it can feel more sidelined?
My public sector employer has various flexible working options available but the formalised ones wouldn't really work for me, as a secretary I can't really work from home, the solicitors can and do, including some of the seniors. And I don't think I could face doing a compressed week, I would miss ds too much and get too tired from doing really long days.
But I have some flexibility over start and finish times, most days I take ds to childminder and dp picks up but if he can't then I can leave a bit early, I just make sure I'm at work for the appropriate amount of time (35 hours) overall. In fact, my timekeeping is much better than it was before ds, in over 6 months I've arrived after 10 am twice, and one of those was after a doctor's appointment, the other was only a minute or 2.
Both mine and dh's companies have been fab, which is why we still work for them. Everything I've asked for re flexible working, I've got no problem. And we are a small IT company with only 18 employees in total! Career wise I should have gone elsewhere by now, as my skills are out of date, but hardly anywhere else would give the same working arrangement (4 day week, with 1 day homeworking). I did get offered a job with a huge international IT firm a while ago, but they made it clear they weren't keen on flexible working. I turned the job down rather than see dd go into full time childcare.
dh works full time but with 1 day from home, and if he needs to make up hours he does this from home.
yes we both did.
dh works for the police. went from 9-5 to 7-3.
i work for m&s. went from 9-5 to 5-11pm.
no problems, both workplaces very up on flexible working etc. plus i made sure that when we were planning dd i was working in nice big store that offered a wide range of shift patterns.
I requested very slight changes to my working day, and was successful. I start and finish early, and work 1/2 hour less than everyone else every day. I took a pay cut to do this.
The company relocated to a different part of London a few months after I returned from maternity leave, so I needed to leave 15 minutes earlier to catch my train. They were fine about cutting my lunch break to three-quarters of an hour so I could do this.
I'm lucky in that I do enjoy my job, but I do sometimes feel a bit stuck here - I'm not confident that I'd be able to do the same hours in a new job. So I'm not looking for one!
I requested and got flexible working.
My husband requested and got refused, his boss relented eventually but it has ruined their working relationship and he will probably end up not taking it up.
DH and I both did
I wanted to go down to 4 days a week. I was refused but then got poached by another company and part of my agreement to jump ship included 4 days a week. Now I am self employed and I work 3 or 4 days a week, one from home
DH asked and was allowed to work from home one day a week. It works v well - he starts and finishes early so he can collect dd from school
oh and he was made to do 6 months probation to ensure his hours didn't suffer (lawyer)
He gets the odd dig about it at work but he thinks fuckem
My partner asked to work from 7.45 to 4pm three days a week, and his employer was fine about it. He did it for 14 months.
MI I need you on my speech thread
I have had all my flexible working requests granted. I work at an ancient university. They are fabulous . I've done 4 full days, 3 full days and now do 60% FTE as 0915 - 1500h four days a week so I can do the school run.
Dh has never asked and doesn't want flexible working but I do know that friends who work within the NHS have had dreadful times being allowed to train flexibly.
I asked to work from home 2 days a week, and to change my hours to be 8-4:30 instead of 9-5:30. This worked out really well - to the extent of me now working mainly from home all the time!
However, the reality of doing what I asked for really isn't as simple as I had hoped for. In actual fact I often need to be in customer meetings, and there's only so many of them that can be done via conference calls, so I sometimes have to be somewhere quite far from home for a very long day.
Swings and roundabouts I suppose - at least my company went out of their way to try to accommodate me!
My dh was turned down. Told it was for business reasons. Pointed out his female boss worked flexible hours. Was then told he should have negotiated this at the beginning of his contract (before he had children). Just got bored and gave it up...
I have flexible work hours. However, job description not changed, just hours (and therefore pay) reduced.
I have another flexible work story, hot off the press. I work for the NHS and am trying to gain some superspecialised experience. Have been offered job asked my employer and have been told....
yes in your own time
I want to cry!
Other half dropped to 28hr contract over 4 days, I work 35hrs over 4 days - means only 3 days nursery costs. And I work from home at least 1 day of my 4 too.
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