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Are HR BU or am I expecting too much...

(41 Posts)
mooglycrunch Tue 16-May-17 16:21:05

I have name changed as I am sure there are people I work with on MN and some details from previous account could identify.

I am due back to work after Mat Leave and have applied for flexi/part time hours. I work quite confusing shifts on a monthly pattern as follows:
WEEK 1 DAYS 0800 - 2000 MON, TUE, FRI, SAT, SUN
WEEK 2 DAYS 0800 - 2000 WED, THUR
WEEK 3 NIGHTS 2000 - 0800 MON, TUE, WED, FRI, SAT, SUN
WEEK 4 NIGHTS 2000 - 0800 WED, THURS

I have asked to work shorter hours (a 9 hour day) this has been refused.
I have asked to not work nights, although am prepared to work until later in the evening, this has been refused.
I have also asked not to work weekends although I am willing to work 1 in 4 rather than 1 in 2, this has been refused. I know I have the right to ask these things but not to receive however I thought some kind of adjustment would be made.

The only concession they are willing to make is to choose 2 days from my existing shift pattern each week to work,
I have worked for the company for 16 years and have always worked this pattern. I have always been incredibly flexible working Xmases, coming in extra days at short notice and rearranging my life to fit around them. I have even worked 30 hour shifts when they have dropped the ball and needed me desperately.
My husband and I do not live near family it is just us as far as childcare is concerned. The nursery need my DD to have set days a week. If I do 2 night shifts in a row I will not see her for almost 2 days.

I just don't know what to do. Is my request to work a 9 hour day unreasonable? They are a big corporate that supposedly supports working mothers but I can't see that in their suggested work pattern. I'm not sure how to go about fighting back or even if I have any grounds to push the matter further.

Please be gently with me as I love my job and finding this out has been really upsetting, I don't know if that is clouding my judgement.

Mixedupmummy Tue 16-May-17 16:55:11

Look up the ACAS website and in particular their guide on flexible working. My understanding is that the employer must have a legitimate business reason for refusing your request.
ACAS also has good advice on how to make a request, such as suggesting how to deal with any issues that might arise from your request and what to do if refused.
Have you tried speaking to your line manager rather hr?
Have you looked at other childcare arrangements? Such as other nurseries or childminers? Some can be flexible if you know your shifts in advance.
I know it can be upsetting but try to stay level headed and professional and I'm sure you'll work something out.
If the worst happens it is possible find family friendly jobs. I work in a profession that's nortoriasly old boys and unfamily friendly, but have gotten 3 good jobs since having dc, all part time. Good luck!

RainbowPastel Tue 16-May-17 17:01:23

If it doesn't fit in with the business they can refuse. Working shorter hours shouldn't be a problem but asking not to work nights/some weekends puts pressure on everyone else as nobody wants those shifts.

Tobuyornot99 Tue 16-May-17 17:06:00

Unfortunately they can refuse your request, providing they consider it and respond to you in writing.
Does your HR policy say you can appeal their decision?

TreeTop7 Tue 16-May-17 17:08:06

Why did they say no?

KatsutheClockworkOctopus Tue 16-May-17 17:10:14

HR don't make the decisions in these cases - they will have asked your manager who would have been the one to say no.
They do have to give you reasons though, which have to fall under prescribed headings. You should also have a right to appeal the decision. Ask to see your employer's Flexible Working policy if you haven't already. That should set it all out.

MagentaRocks Tue 16-May-17 17:11:44

If you are working shift work covering 24/7 then that is the business need. If you work a 9 hour shift then who covers the other 3 hours, same if you don't work the night shift. Ultimately it has to suit the business need and it clearly doesn't.

harderandharder2breathe Tue 16-May-17 17:12:05

Have they given a reason for refusing?

Unfortunately they only have to consider flexible working, they can reject it for business reasons

JustKeepDancing Tue 16-May-17 17:15:34

Would you switching from nights to days only would mean you'd essentially be "taking" or swapping someone elses day shifts?
E.g where I used to work, we had 4 staff on shift at any time. Switching as you proposed would mean that there'd now only be 3 staff on nights and 5 on days, leaving some shifts overstaffed and some understaffed? I suspect they have denied the nights - and probably the reduction in weekends too - because it would mean other staff would have to pick them up and I doubt that'd go down well or be considered fair.
It definitely sounds a pain from childcare perspective but I can see why they'd say no to avoid chaos and having to change a lot of rotas.

ShotsFired Tue 16-May-17 17:15:49

Are you part of a large team that works the same shift hours? i.e. one team all clocking on and off at the same time?

Or is it just you?
Is there precedent for other people changing their hours in a similar way?

What realistic options do you have to offer them - asking not to work the shitty shifts is not going to fly, as nobody wants them. But if you were willing to offer something valuable, that might be worth it.

Piratesandpants Tue 16-May-17 17:16:30

It sounds as though you are trying to make a job that is shift work into a job that is not shift work. It likely that the business need is for shift work!

Vroomster Tue 16-May-17 17:17:01

That's a massive amount of hours in a week what do you do?

I think it's unfair to request no nights and weekends. I'm a nurse so would be really annoyed if someone got that agreed, it's part of the job. If you don't like nights and weekends then go and work in the community. It's extra for everyone else.

I also don't see my dc for two days at a time sometimes. It's rubbish and has been hard in the past.

starfishmummy Tue 16-May-17 17:17:49

You only have the right to ask.
They are perfectly free to turn you down, and the "big corporate tha supposedly supports working mothers " may be the issue. My employers had said "yes" to so many people on reduced hours that the only way any new requests could be considered was when someone left or reverted to full hours.

Vroomster Tue 16-May-17 17:20:34

As someone else has rightly pointed out, who would do the extra three hours once you've left? They have every right to refuse if it doesn't fit the business unfortunately.

1bighappyfamily Tue 16-May-17 17:21:36

We need to know why they're saying no. As a PP said, they need to have a legitimate reason, they can't just say no.

The thing about flexible working requests is that there has really to be flexibility on both sides. It's not really just about reducing hours. Have you been in to talk to your manager, or did you just make a formal request through HR?

MadamePomfrey Tue 16-May-17 17:27:07

Shifts need to meet the needs of the business as do any adjustments! If you want these changed you need to find and prove ways to minimise the impact on the company for example is there a college who finds nights easier to do so would be happy to swap your weeks? They do your work of nights you do there week of days?? Same for weekends? All shifts are covered no impact to company they should be ok! As for the short days unless you can find some one that wants to work 3 hrs a day without it costing the company more I can't see a compromise! As pp have said you seem to want a 9-5 Monday to Friday job are there any other positions within the company you can move to?

JustMumNowNotMe Tue 16-May-17 17:27:23

If working shifts inc weekends and nights is an integral part of your role i.e nurse, prison officer, then it may be better for you to look at doing a different job now. Afteri had my children working nights etc was something iknew i wouldn't always manage with DH being forces and away a lot so i took a different role that was more traditional office hours.

RedSkyAtNight Tue 16-May-17 17:27:33

Assuming that there are people doing the "opposite" shift - is there anyone that would like to do nights only? Or to work set days opposite you? When you make a flexible working request you have to show how your request will work for the business - at the moment you just seem to be requesting what you want and not coming up with the plan as to how this will work for the business.

robinia Tue 16-May-17 17:28:09

That's a really lop-sided shift pattern. Would it work better for you if it was 4 12-hr shifts per week rather than the crazy 6 12-hr shifts one week followed by 2 12-hr shifts the following week? Would they be able to accommodate that? And/or would they be able to accommodate each week's shifts covering the same days eg. always Mon Tues Thurs Sat for example, or at least the two-shift week days being the same as two of the six-shift week days? Hope that makes sense!

BossyBitch Tue 16-May-17 17:28:59

It all depends on the line of work you're in, I suppose. And, of course, on what your colleagues' shifts are.

I currently manage one team that, among other duties, provides 24/7 IT support. They're also mostly parents, so having all the mums and dads on no weekends/no night shift rotas simply wouldn't work out. I also won'the systematically favour parents' requests over non-parents' - doesn't seem fair on the colleagues who have no kids but may still have private lives.

OTOH, I'd expect any employer to make reasonable provisions for employee requests so long as a) it doesn't interfere with their ability to fulfill contractual requirements and b) they don't end up constantly discolouring the same other employees.

Bunnyfuller Tue 16-May-17 17:30:37

Are you willing to flex from your side? Employers are generally more receptive to these requests if you move a little way their way. I do think the not wanting any night shifts is a massive ask in what is clearly a 24-hour/365 day a year role. What you have done before bears no relation to your request, it's not about 'them owing you one' it's about business need. Are they short staffed?

TinselTwins Tue 16-May-17 17:32:00

from what it looks like from the shift patterns, you working a 9 hour day would leave a 3 hr gap in staffing and that'ld be hard to fill

a half day would be a more reasonable request than a 3/4 day IMO but that would still depend on existing staff pool/skill mix and potentially the ability to hire someone to work opposite you etc etc

Surely for childcare it'ld work better to keep your 12 hour days/nights, but get them into a more fixed pattern?

so, you work 6 days and 6 nights a month right?

how about cutting to 4 nights and upping to 8 days so you do something like this every week:

Mon- night, Fri- day, Saturday-Day.

That way you're still doing their shift patterns, you're still doing weekends which they obviously need, but by fixing it it'll work well with childcare?

Bunnyfuller Tue 16-May-17 17:34:52

Plus the baby is tiny so your request isn't about childcare, unless your DH does strange hours too - this looks like simply wanting a min-fri 8-5 role. You might need to consider a career change tbh. I left the RAF after having my dcs, as the demands expected didn't tally with my preference as a mum. I still work but have something around school hours with a bit of wfh thrown in. Loads less money but those are the choices we sometimes have to make.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Tue 16-May-17 17:36:11

It sounds as though you are trying to make a job that is shift work into a job that is not shift work. It likely that the business need is for shift work!

I agree.

You are asking to cut your shift short. Not work nights or weekends.

In a 24/7 situation that is a lot that you are asking them to accommodate.

BritInUS1 Tue 16-May-17 17:46:18

I think YABU

You have made 3 suggestions
1. Work a 9 hour shift - surely this is not practical if everyone else works 12, as it would leave them short for 3 hours per shift
2. Drop a weekend - if everyone else works every other one then how would they cover your dropped shifts?
3. Drop nights - again how would you suggest they cover this, as it would mean getting someone else to cover these shifts

I think you either need to look at something more practical for them, or look for something else that fits in with your new requirements

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