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to feel fed up that I'm being denied flexible working after childless colleague also requested it

(87 Posts)
RooTwo Fri 20-May-16 09:46:05

I have been working four days a week since I went back after maternity leave, with one of those days at home. Now I'm being told that I can no longer have this day at home; that others at work are requesting a day at home too and they can't have everyone having a day at home, so I can no longer have mine. AIBU to feel really fed up about this? I get loads done at home, work extremely productively, and it just means I can manage my work and home life more easily and things are just a bit less stressful in terms of managing the pick ups etc of three children.

I know that all employees are entitled to request flexible working, and that's how it should be, but for me, that day at home is just so vital, it keeps me sane as a working parent - I would never have thought to ask for flexible working/days a home as a childless 29 year old (as my colleague who has requested this is ...)

I'm trying to work out whether to go back to employers to challenge this and put in a formal request for flexible working (which had never really happened before).

AIB very U?

tigermoll Fri 20-May-16 09:49:22

By all means, put in a request for flexible working. Your employer will have to consider it.

Your colleagues are also entitled to put in a request for flexible working. Whether they have children or not is irrelevant. You may not see why someone without kids could possibly want to work from home, but that is not your business.

DuckAndPancakes Fri 20-May-16 09:54:11

I could be totally off the mark here, so apologies to all if I get things wrong!

If they've allowed you to reduce your days/hours and work from home already and the only issue has been that someone else now wants to do the same... I don't see how they can refuse it. I'm not sure how long you've been doing this?

If you put in a formal request, that states that what you're formally asking for has already been occurring at no loss/issue for the business then I can't see how they can then deny it. Surely the other employees request for flexible working is a separate consideration and there are other options that can be extended to them. It is not necessarily logistical to have everyone working from home one day a week, but obviously possible for one person.

Good luck, anyway. For what it is worth, I don't think you're being unreasonable.... Could be jaded by motherhood and my own feelings though!

CotswoldStrife Fri 20-May-16 09:56:58

You could put in a request but it sounds likely to be denied as they clearly don't want everyone working from home. I can see why you are disappointed but you are being unreasonable to judge the reasons of others.

londonrach Fri 20-May-16 09:57:14

Yabu re your colleague as why she wants flexible working is separate to you and none of your business. Yanbu to want flexible working yourself. Id put a formal request in. Good luc,

HackerFucker22 Fri 20-May-16 09:58:06

Hmmm, I would check this with ACAS as it sounds like you have had your request for flexible working granted and your employer is now reneging on this agreement.

Everyone has the right to request flexible working but equally the employer has the right to refuse.

It seems unfair that your employer is going back on their arrangement with you - they should have just refused the other persons request? This is provided your flexible working is official and above board... not just a "gentleman's agreement"

Janeymoo50 Fri 20-May-16 10:01:57

As someone who was denied even the slightest flexibility on my working hours/from home, and yet the two people in the office with children could literally come and go as they pleased and work from home whenever, I think that's great for the other person.

However, in your case, it seems ridiculous that they are now looking to change your already existing arrangement and I can see why you're peeved.

Maybe you'll all have to take it in turns to have a day working at home each week to make it "fair" for everyone.

RooTwo Fri 20-May-16 10:02:07

Thanks all - as some of you point out this is two separate issues really, and I accept that IABU re colleague's request - but perhaps NBU about feeling fed up that that request has affected my situation. The problem is that the flexible workign I have was, as you put it Hackerfucker22 a 'gentleman's agreement', ie never really an official thing, but something agreed with my line manager and that we would see how it went. So I'm very aware that it was never official, that there was always the risk that it might be revoked, but I suppose I'm fed up that it's been revoked by something totally out of my control, and nothing to do with the fact that it's not been working out (as it's been working out very well, as far as I can tell, for all concerned).

stopfuckingshoutingatme Fri 20-May-16 10:13:06

check the law, and apply it

That said, you only work 4 days, so whilst I appreciate it keeps you sane- you already have flex work though having a 4 day week no?

approach with an air of legality, compromise and listen for their reasons why not- as it might be there staff issues/morale issues coming into play

Witchend Fri 20-May-16 10:14:10

The thing is if they let you, but refuse someone else they may be onto a discrimination claim. If they can't let everyone then I suspect they are advised to let no one.

FishWithABicycle Fri 20-May-16 10:17:54

It would be unfair and discriminatory for your employers to turn down a colleague's flexible working request solely because they have no children.

There are clearly some jobs that could never be done "from home" (receptionist. cleaner) but your employers should treat employees equally apart from that - potentially with conditions about productivity, performance and length of service. If the business can't function if everyone of similar productivity, performance and length of service has one day working from home (presumably spread over different days but with one day a week where everyone is in) then probably they are right that no-one should be privileged over the rest.

I've worked in an office where out of 20 staff at least 15 had some kind of flexible arrangement and it worked fine, but there are some businesses where there would be an understaffing problem if a quarter of the staff were out of the office on any given day.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Fri 20-May-16 10:18:08

Legally, they can stop this- see below

Employers can reject an application for any of the following reasons:
extra costs that will damage the business
the work can’t be reorganised among other staff
people can’t be recruited to do the work
flexible working will affect quality and performance
the business won’t be able to meet customer demand
there’s a lack of work to do during the proposed working times
the business is planning changes to the workforce

chanelfreak Fri 20-May-16 10:24:52

I think YABVU hinting that you deserve this flexi/work from home time more than your childless colleague. However, I think that if it is offered to one employee then it should be offered to all employees, and that is should be shared out on a rotating basis so that everyone can avail of it.

Artistic Fri 20-May-16 10:26:20

Why don't you offer to drop your 4th day altogether & work only 3 days? That might make them see how had it is for you to change this agreement. Wfh is always a difficult thing to set in stone.

Alternatively you could offer to work 3.5 days with the 0.5 days from home. Since you are taking a pay cut its not the same thing as someone else's request.

Artistic Fri 20-May-16 10:26:43


queenofthepirates Fri 20-May-16 10:28:30

Can you be honest and open with your manager? I would be inclined to explain that a good work/home balance means you value your day at home. A good manager should take this into consideration. I certainly would.

t4gnut Fri 20-May-16 10:34:15

Unfortunately sounds like as this was an 'off the record' agreement and you have nothing formal in writing agreeing to it that they will find it quite easy to reject any requests.

sparechange Fri 20-May-16 10:38:31

A good manager should take this into consideration. I certainly would.

The issue is that it sets a precedent in the office. The company can't give flexible working to one person and deny the same arrangement to another, just because one sets out better work/life balance argument.

namechangeparents Fri 20-May-16 10:38:42

Why don't they want people to work from home? They seem to be confusing performance with presenteeism.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 20-May-16 10:40:49

You need to do a formal request, in that case. They have to consider it. Part of your request should contain all the reasons why the current arrangement works for the business, rather than for you as an individual.

Aworldofmyown Fri 20-May-16 10:42:13

I think your colleagues request is a separate issue. They are entitled to ask for that as others have said.

You need to push this issue though, it is not your fault and you did already have the agreement in place. I think they are more bothered that they may have to agree to other requests.

Definitely take legal advice if you don't get anywhere, a friend of mine took legal advice and it has to be a VERY good reason to refuse flexible working, you already have it in place and they are changing their mind. I don't think they have a leg to stand on.

OllyBJolly Fri 20-May-16 10:44:09

The company can grant and rescind any requests for flexible working. Impact on other team members is is an acceptable reason.

OP, if you can present a business case which demonstrates working from home leads to more productivity, and allowing other employees to work from home can be done in a way that doesn't interfere (and enhances?) work flow then you'll have more chance of success. Identify a workable solution and it will be hard to argue against it.

FfionFlorist Fri 20-May-16 10:44:53

I understand why you're disappointed but I work with dozens of millennials and they all value flexibility more than I did at their age ( gen x) I think it is their use of technology that drives this. It will be a big challenge for business

HowBadIsThisPlease Fri 20-May-16 10:57:05

"Whether they have children or not is irrelevant."

this is not true, at least, the other worker is just completely irrelevant altogether.

As a parent you have enshrined in law the right to make a formal request for flexible working. Make sure that they know you know that.

I had this - exactly this - when I went back to work after mat leave. My boss was based in the US, so wasn't entirely aligned to UK law and working practices, and she said something about setting a precedent and "people being in and out all the time". She just wanted to refuse all home working absolutely.

I happened to know who one of the people was, who was always bellyaching about her commute, and I knew that she didn't have children or any caring responsibilities. So I rather cheekily named her and said "Let's put Sarah's situation to one side for now, because it's not the same as mine. Under employment law in this country, I have the right as a parent to request flexible working, and I am more than happy to work with you on how best to implement that so that it has no negative impact on the business."

This was a week before I returned to work and I was bricking it because my childcare arrangements were totally dependent on me working one day from home. The HR director (UK) was also on the line and there was a long pause and then my boss said "We'll have to have another think and we'll talk again tomorrow."

I was astonished that they did agree one day a week from home and I am pretty sure it was only because I invoked the law.

Take some deep breaths, talk to someone who is great at pep talking, and go in fighting.

MummyBex1985 Fri 20-May-16 11:01:16

How long have you been working from home? If it has been regular for a significant period of time, it may have become a term of your employment contract. That being the case, they can't vary it without your consent.

I'd raise a grievance if you've had that working pattern for a long time (unless there's anything in writing that said it was discretionary, a trial, non contractual or could be withdrawn at any time).

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