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WIBU to expect better?

(38 Posts)
MassagesDeclinedByNetmums Tue 05-Jul-11 12:19:22

I've just had a letter through saying that my application to return to work part time from my mat leave was unsuccessful. It seems I must return full time (once travel is included that would be 7am-6pm Mon-Fri) or not at all. My mum would have had DS originally, but has had to move to the other end of the country for my dad to work. And apart from the lack of childcare, I dont want to not see DS for 5 days a week before hes even one.

I had a meeting with my boss about 6 weeks ago to let them know as much in advance as possible that I wouldnt be able to return full time due to my mum moving (I'm due back in another 6 weeks). I thought that if this wasnt possible, they would let me know earlier than this so I could start job hunting. Money will be very tight if I dont work, but we would have more coming in than going out so I guess I am lucky in that respect. I thought my boss was a friend. She was only promoted this time last year when we were both pregnant and we've worked together for years.

She knows I've been looking forward to returning to work. I was actually suspicious that I would get bad news as shes been avoiding me sad

But surely, whether shes my friend or not, it would have been more professional of the company to not leave me waiting this long for bad news?

Now I dont know what to do.

MassagesDeclinedByNetmums Tue 05-Jul-11 12:33:52

Just realised I've missed a month, its actually ten weeks since my meeting with my boss!!

Insomnia11 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:36:18

How long have you got before you have to go back?

MassagesDeclinedByNetmums Tue 05-Jul-11 12:39:29

Six weeks (middle of august)

lesley33 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:39:53

It depends how bureaucratic your company is so how many people had to be involved in the decision. Also they may have spent time trying to figure out how it would work if you went part time, before realising it wouldn't work.

MummyTigger Tue 05-Jul-11 12:40:20

...Isn't that illegal?

Don't you have the right to flexible working hours because you're a working parent? And they can't demand that you come back full-time or not at all.

Says here in my Pregnancy book that they have the right to refuse, but only if they provide you with written confirmation that this would damage the business because of customer demand, it would burden then with additional costs, there's an inability to rota the other staff around you, a detrimental effect on quality or performance, or if they are making structural changes from within.

You also have 14 days to appeal against this decision. Write to them and say WHY you think this is wrong and to sign and date it. They must then hold an Appeals Meeting within two weeks of receiving your letter, and then they have a further 2 weeks to write to you again with a new decision and the reasons for this new decision.

If they don't provide you with a reason, then you can even take it to an employment tribunal. Could possibly even be covered under the Sexual Discrimination Act, because you're a woman who needs to work certain hours because her family comes first.

Olivetti Tue 05-Jul-11 12:41:19

I thought they had a legal obligation to hold a meeting and then respond to your request within 28 days and 14 days respectively?

Insomnia11 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:42:28

You don't have the right to have flexible hours, you have the right to request them and employers have to consider them. Sadly sad

MummyTigger Tue 05-Jul-11 12:43:08

Also, she should have given notice a MAXIMUM of two weeks after you had that meeting. The fact that she delayed for a further 8 weeks is completely against regulation, and you can call her up on it. Because it leaves you in a very vulnerable position regarding childcare, and it's adding to the stress and the pressure of everyday life.

I could be wrong, but that's what it's saying in my Pregnancy Book smile

Olivetti Tue 05-Jul-11 12:44:31

Yes, but the question is about timing of informing the applicant (OP), have I got that right?

MassagesDeclinedByNetmums Tue 05-Jul-11 12:46:52

I have a written reason, got the letter this morning "an unreasonable burden of additional costs to the company; detrimental effect on quality; unacceptable difficulties for the company as we are unable to reorganise the additional work amongst existing staff; job share not financially viable for the company due to additional costs" From that, I dont see any point appealing, they clearly know what they have to do and how they need to do it (recruitment, so they know their employment law...) The "big" boss who would have had the final say also had me formally disciplined in pregnancy for "poor performance"

MassagesDeclinedByNetmums Tue 05-Jul-11 12:48:31

Yes, its the timing. I know they can refuse it, and that would have been relatively okay, had they let me know a little sooner... sad

DoMeDon Tue 05-Jul-11 12:50:07

You can appeal on the grounds they did not apply the relevant time lines alone. Also if you look at the reaons given, do you think they add up? They have to consider your request and have to give valid reasons. Are you in a union?

maras2 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:56:20

This happened to me in 1975.I can't believe things are no better now.Flipping disgraceful.I hope you can work something out Messages and best of luck for the future. Mx.

NeedMoreCakePlse Tue 05-Jul-11 12:56:52

Are you in the UK? If so you should speak to an organisation called ACAS, they provide free advise on employment issues. I think MummyTigger is spot on that even if their reasons are correct, they have not followed guidelines in that they made you wait for so long before telling you. Good luck, let us know how you get on.

MassagesDeclinedByNetmums Tue 05-Jul-11 12:57:14

I can understand the reasons given, my job does take full time to do, and the business has picked up phenomenally while I've been off. In my meeting I was told that there would be a position as "support" if I could only return part time, as the girl covering me was struggling, plus they havent replaced the resourcer (basically interviewer) who also left while I was on mat leave, so I could do part support for "my" job and part resourcing. In the meeting my boss never gave me any clue that she would say no, and we have had plenty of part time support staff before (while I was FT) so I had no reason to think they were going to say no. If I'd thought there was going to be a chance, I would have been job hunting for the last 10 weeks!! sad

MassagesDeclinedByNetmums Tue 05-Jul-11 12:59:24

Can anyone find a link that mentions the timelines? All I know is that you have to request it a month in advance (which I beat by, oh, 3 months... hmm) but I cant find anything about a timeline for their response if its before this time?

fgaaagh Tue 05-Jul-11 13:02:12

apart from the lack of childcare, I dont want to not see DS for 5 days a week before hes even one

Well, that's just how life is for a significant number of working parents. In fact, for men, it's the norm. Unless you can support yourself financially without having to work those 5 days, best not to focus on want you want, only what you can organise within your means.

I had a meeting with my boss about 6 weeks ago to let them know as much in advance as possible that I wouldnt be able to return full time

I'm sure you mean to discuss your flexible working request, because as others have pointed out, you have the option to request it, but not have it granted.

I thought my boss was a friend. She was only promoted this time last year when we were both pregnant and we've worked together for years.

Your boss should be treating you in an unbiased, totally impartial manner because she is your boss. What do you expect her to do, bend the rules and say "ahh for this employee I'm sure we can organise something" just because she's a friend / fellow mum? Businesses can't work like that. She can't be seen to set a precedent or seen to favour you because it would put her own professionalism in question. Don't you see that?

But surely, whether shes my friend or not, it would have been more professional of the company to not leave me waiting this long for bad news

I see that others have mentioned the legal obligations of the company wrt response times - and 100% agree that you should be treated fairly whether your boss happens to be a friend or not.

Apologies if this post comes across as a bit harsh, but your OP basically makes you come across as if your childcare has fallen through, and instead of working with your employer to facilitate a solution (be that working fulltime, parttime or leaving) you're focusing on:

- the fact that your mate boss isn't doing more in your favour and
- that you (basically) are refusing to go back fulltime despite having no right to do so
- whilst moaning about the fact that you can't be there to raise your little one
- whilst earning a comfortable amount of money to cover your costs (many working parents go back for very little profit, if any, just so their career / jobs remain in place until they start school).

So, a harsh welcome to the real world of working parenting, I think!

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Tue 05-Jul-11 13:03:53

It is possible that she has spent the ten weeks fighting for you but the big boss has said no. You have a right to request flexi working but whether or not she's a friend shouldn't come into it. In fact maybe because she's a friend she didn't give you any clues of a no cause she thought she could sort it for you.

As someone who has had to manage friends and deliever difficult news to them it is hard.

Try posting on the employment issues section there are dome amazing HR bods who may be able to offer some advice.

NeedMoreCakePlse Tue 05-Jul-11 13:06:09

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/Flexibleworking/DG_171775
this gives you a little more info, hope it helps.

NeedMoreCakePlse Tue 05-Jul-11 13:07:03

as I said completely they are quite within their rights to turn you down, but they should have responded to your initial request sooner.

lostinwales Tue 05-Jul-11 13:12:25

Jeeze, harsh much fgaaagh.

Sorry OP this really sucks, I can't say anything helpful. I went back full time when DS1 was 13 weeks, it was crap then and it's crap now. I tried to go part time but was turned down so in the end I became pregnant again and quit when DS1 was about 20 months. Not the ideal response but it worked for us in the end! I'm thinking and thinking but I can't find anything helpful to say except be sympathetic to you. We were all brought up being told we could 'have it all' and I'm sorry but we cant. Bollocks.

MassagesDeclinedByNetmums Tue 05-Jul-11 13:15:37

Before I start, I dont want to argue, fgaah , just explain what I meant re your points. Please dont take this as me arguing, even though I know Im on AIBU smile

- the fact that your mate boss isn't doing more in your favour and
All I wanted my mate boss to do was not get my hopes up in the meeting and then leave it over two months before telling me no. I have been in a position of authority at an old employer I understand that she is my boss, and therefore never a 100% friend. I would expect a boss to be honest about my application, friend or not. I would expect a friend to not ignore me during that time as if she already knew the decision.

- that you (basically) are refusing to go back fulltime despite having no right to do so
I have no option. I cannot work full time, if they cannot allow for my request to work PT, I cannot go back.

- whilst moaning about the fact that you can't be there to raise your little one
Cant argue about that one, I want to raise my DS myself. Not a moan about anyone elses parenting, but a choice me and DH made when we decided to start a family. But it was more of a side moan anyway, its irrelevant as I cannot afford to work FT

- whilst earning a comfortable amount of money to cover your costs (many working parents go back for very little profit, if any, just so their career / jobs remain in place until they start school)
Im in a "deadend" job. Nothing wrong with my job, but its not going anywhere. And if I worked and DS was in a nursery, we would be worse off. And couldnt meet the bills. Its not an option.

MassagesDeclinedByNetmums Tue 05-Jul-11 13:17:58

PS, we already have debt. I cannot work on a deficit hoping that one day it might be worth it.

MassagesDeclinedByNetmums Tue 05-Jul-11 13:19:48

PPS, I also earn more in my job than by all rights I should, as I've been there a while and they (luckily) redid the pay grades just before the market went kerplow. I couldnt just go to another job and earn more.

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