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AIBU or is my employer? Re: Flexible working

(76 Posts)
busterboy Wed 07-Aug-13 16:24:47

Have name changed as I would be easy to identify based on previous posts.

I am currently on mat leave and asked my boss off the record if a flexible working request could be granted so that i could go back four days instead of full time.

I was told maybe if I drop a grade. This would be approx £6k paycut just for dropping grade then obviously an additional 20% cut for cutting down my hours.

I have quite a senior job but not director level.

I feel like this is a bit dodgy as it's mainly women who want the flexible requests so its a bit sexist.

I am not usually one for causing trouble at work but I would really like to get this request granted on my current level.

AIBU or are they....

redskyatnight Wed 07-Aug-13 16:32:25

So are they saying that
- you can work 4 days a week but not in your current job. You would have to do a more lowly job hence lower grade. It is not possible to work 4 days in current job (which is ok)


- you can work 4 days a week but only if you agree to accept less pay (so will be lower grade) (not ok)

ilovechips Wed 07-Aug-13 16:32:35

I might be wrong but I'm sure I read that legally they can't make you accept a lower grade/demotion just because you've been on maternity leave...I would contact hr and find out where you stand.

Andro Wed 07-Aug-13 16:40:57

You ANBU to make a request for flexible working at your current level - but make it formally so that they are legally obliged to consider it and make sure you have considered the impact of your request and how to mitigate any difficulties it may cause.

They WNBU to refuse to grant it if they have a sound business reason.

You don't have a right to expect them to grant your request - they don't have to!

It's not sexist because the right to request flexible working is open to both genders subject to the qualification requirement.

busterboy Wed 07-Aug-13 16:41:26

red i think they will say my job can't be done on four days but a lower paid job can. i know a few people around the company who are on my grade and even higher but are part time. I am sure my job could be done part time. i am not customer facing and tbh not much happens that can't wait until tomorrow.

it was just an off the record quick chat but i wanted to test the water.

chips i suppose they aren't making me accept a lower job but saying if i want a flexible working arrangement i will have to take a lower job.

i don't even think there will be any lower jobs as my collegues on the lower pay aren't going anywhere. i think they will make my post higher/lower paid depending on what i want to do.

lunar1 Wed 07-Aug-13 16:41:51

I think it depends on the job. I had a job before children that was a very high grade. There is just no way it would have been possible to do the job on reduced hours. It wouldn't have worked as a job share and it was very difficult if I was sick.

I requested to go back to work on a lower grade after maternity, in my case it would have been unfair to my employer to ask to do it part time.

I think it is important that employers must not be sexist but there are certain jobs that don't work part time and that goes for a man or woman in the job.

SalaciousBCrumb Wed 07-Aug-13 16:41:57

They're not making her accept a lower grade because she's been on maternity leave ilovechips, she could come back to her current job and current working hours and current salary - but they seem to be saying it's a condition of working part-time.

Redsky is right but if they are saying the former, is it true that you can't make it work in your current job? Can he explain why he says that?

If he is still saying no you could make a formal request but then if they are still saying no you'll have to either accept it and go back full time, accept it and go back at a lower grade part-time, and/or claim indirect sex discrimination.

breatheslowly Wed 07-Aug-13 16:45:54

While there isn't stuff that couldn't wait until tomorrow, can the whole volume of work be covered? Can you come up with a plan to ensure that it is?

busterboy Wed 07-Aug-13 16:50:32

tbh breathe i could get through the volume of work in a lot less than 4 days! it's not exactly a high pressure environment! i can't really say that in a flexible working request though as they might wonder why they employ me in the first place! maybe i could offer some flexibility to work from home or swap days at busy times.

as it was just a quick chat i didn't get to ask him why he would think it can't be done i just said i would put a formal request in anyway.

noblegiraffe Wed 07-Aug-13 17:52:54

At my workplace (school) they don't give promoted posts to part timers so they could well say this if a Head of Department wanted to go part time (for example) but in your position where there are part timers in promoted positions, they need to make a business case to show that in your particular job it wouldn't be possible.

busterboy Wed 07-Aug-13 19:09:44

I think I will put the request in and see what the two positions will entail. I have a feeling there won't be two jobs. just the same one with a lower grade if I say I want four days.

I know what you mean noble* but I know others are doing it.

MsJupiterJones Wed 07-Aug-13 19:17:34

By the way, the whole 'sound business reason' is a crock of shit makes it sound like the onus is on the employer to come up with a good reason. But the catch is, you can't question that reason, so they can actually come up with quite a spurious reason.

busterboy Wed 07-Aug-13 19:23:01

thought it sounds like bs! they could say anything would dispute operations!

myfriendflicka Wed 07-Aug-13 19:23:07

It's indirect sex discrimination because women make up the majority of people requesting flexible working.

Are you in a union OP? I would suggest you get some advice from your union if you are in one. Or think about joining a union.

There has been several stories recently about the fact that part-timers are discriminated against when it comes to pay and conditions:

As for all the people, presumably women, who are posting about "some jobs can't be done part time", do a bit of connecting. The majority of jobs can be done part time.

If more senior post were opened up to flexible working, perhaps men might even start working flexibly. Result, over time, better quality of life for all of us. Imagine that.

busterboy Wed 07-Aug-13 19:38:34

flicker thanks for the link. we have a union at work aso might join.

catgirl1976 Wed 07-Aug-13 19:40:29

Very useful

catgirl1976 Wed 07-Aug-13 19:42:39

Flexible Working Text 4/10/10 12:02 Page 52
On what grounds can applications be refused?
Applications for flexible working arrangements can be refused only for the
following reasons:

the burden of additional costs

detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand

inability to re-organise work among existing staff

inability to recruit additional staff

detrimental impact on quality

detrimental impact on performance

insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work

planned structural changes.
What can an employee do if an employer refuses an
application for flexible working?
Wherever possible it is better to reach agreement on flexible working within
the workplace. There are a number of options open if the employer refuses
the application at the appeal stage of the procedure including:

informal discussions with the employer – there may be some simple
misunderstanding of the procedure or facts which can be resolved by an
informal route

use of the employer’s internal grievance procedure

assistance from a third party such as a trade union representative or some
other suitably experienced person

ask Acas to help find a solution – by providing information or where
appropriate through a process of conciliation.
Where agreement cannot be reached other options are:

referral to the Acas Arbitration Scheme

complaint to an employment tribunal.

SelectAUserName Wed 07-Aug-13 19:45:30

I would put in a formal request and within that request, try to pre-empt your employer's concerns and reasons for NOT granting it with proposed solutions, efficiencies and savings.

They are still under no obligation to grant it but if you have identified the likely sticking points and offered work-arounds to mitigate the impact of you being out of the office for one day a week, you maximise your chances of it being properly considered.

Littlefish Wed 07-Aug-13 19:50:18

noblegiraffe - my Headteacher has the same policy ie. no whole school leadership positions or TLRs for part time staff. I wonder whether it is legal, as it means that part time workers are being employed on less favourable terms than full time workers. I am really keen to be promoted, but when a post comes up, I won't have the experience to be able to apply for it. The Headteacher puts "shadow staff" in place when he knows someone is leaving so that someone is trained up ready for the vacancy. He will only appoint someone as a "shadow" if they are full time which means that part time staff never get the opportunity for career development.

busterboy Wed 07-Aug-13 20:29:56

ill have to see what happens if I put in a formal request. I have heard they are doing a restructure soon so will wait til that settles first

busterboy Wed 07-Aug-13 20:42:48

sounds a bit doday little but they can use the excuses lists above to get out of allowing part timers. it not fair

breatheslowly Wed 07-Aug-13 20:53:09

It isn't legal to discriminate against part timers, so paying a lower per hour wage for a part timer doing the same job as a full timer wouldn't be allowed.

I am puzzled by your boss's attitude. If you aren't busy enough with 5 days then saving some money by paying 80% is a practical solution. It just sounds like prejudice against part time workers.

I do 80% and was recruited into a post advertised as full time. They just said I seemed like the kind of person who could fit 5 days work into 4. I'm not rushed off my feet, though in return for being allowed to work flexibly I am quite focused at work (I don't muck about on the net for hours each day like some colleagues). The default seems to be to advertise FT jobs, but I think that you might be able to get a better field of candidates for PT ads

I think you are right to wait for the restructure to be done as your boss might want to link your formal request into the restructure as a downgrade, so without your formal application, you are probably in a better position.

busterboy Wed 07-Aug-13 22:04:47

I don't think they realise how quiet I was before I went on mat leave. can't really say I have nothing to do anyway lol!

I have heard of a few people applying for jobs and asking for four days. could be a plan!

If I don't get part time I have a lot of holidays to use when I get back and I hope to have another baby fingers crossed so it might not be too bad.

MildDrPepperAddiction Wed 07-Aug-13 22:13:50

Busterboy...are you me? I had the exact same experience. I asked for flex hours, no. I asked for job-share, no. I asked for career break, no. Heading back FT next month sad

I hope you get the outcome you want.

busterboy Thu 08-Aug-13 08:59:28

am sure I am not you pepper!!

did they try to make you take a lower role?

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