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Can I be forced to work part time?

(150 Posts)
Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:20:34

Hi all

I’ve name changed for this and I’m feeling a bit upset so please don’t flame me.

I’m am returning to work in June after having dd2. I will be returning to work on the same basis as before my mat leave - working 4 compressed days. I’ve done this for quite sometime and it works reasonably well.

I was diagnosed with anxiety after my dd2 was born and I feel like it’s not getting any better or worse sad

I spoke to my work and asked them if I could work a day from home a week. They have the technology to do this and made a big fuss about it when the technology was rolled out. I do the sort of job that doesn’t require me to be in the office every single day and could easily wfh and get more done.

My work are refusing to let me work from home on a set day. When I ask why they say “they just don’t allow it” when pushed further on this they can’t give any further reason. This is an enormous organisation- not a small firm or family company. I know several teams across this UK who do the same job as me work from home regularly.

My boss said to me that I could work from home different days of the week and I spoke with him today to say that I could try and do this and he changed his story to “oh well I can’t promise you’d get it every week..”

I’m at my wit’s end. I can’t afford to work part time and I can’t afford to pay for childcare over the 5 days. My DH works away and I’m honestly feeling like I could have a breakdown over it.

It’s 2019 and I’m trying my best to get out and work and hold my own in a time when the company I work for is all about “flexibility and diversity” it’s total nonsense.

I just feel completely drained by it all. They’ve offered an occupational health referral but I’m completely terrified and anxious that they’ll force me into part time hours.

Could this happen?

nauseous5000 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:25:55

Does it matter if it's a different day of the week each week?

BarbarianMum Thu 25-Apr-19 14:26:15

Hang on. Are you suggesting that you work from home one set day a week to save on childcare? Of course they're not going to agree to that.

What is wrong with being able to work from home for a day a week but not set days?

UCOforAC12 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:26:22

If you're working 4 compressed days you won't need childcare for 5 days?

If you want to 'work from home' whilst looking after your child YABmassivelyU and people who do that give those of us who genuinely work from home a bad name. You cannot work and look after a child.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:27:43

Sorry I should have been clearer!

I have childcare organised for the 4 days! I am not wfh to look at my children blush

churchthecat Thu 25-Apr-19 14:28:16

No workplace will allow someone to work from home whilst taking care of a child.

GemmeFatale Thu 25-Apr-19 14:28:27

Are you trying to work a four day compressed week, three in the office, one from home?

Have you made a formal flexible working request for this outlining how it will work for the business (using their own song and dance literature about WFH would help).

I’m assuming you’ll still have childcare for all working days and just hope to save on the commuting time care otherwise you are being unreasonable. Most companies won’t allow you to work while caring for your child(ren) outside of emergencies.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:28:53


They suggested I think about different days and when I went back and agreed they then changed their story to “oh now we don’t think we can offer that”

churchthecat Thu 25-Apr-19 14:29:25

I don't understand. If you're working 4 days why would you need childcare for 5?

Nicknacky Thu 25-Apr-19 14:29:48

Why do you need childcare for five days if you only work four?

CharityConundrum Thu 25-Apr-19 14:30:00

I'm not quite clear what you're asking for and why - do you think that doing one of your 4 compressed days from home would help your anxiety? Or do you want to work from home one day to look after your daughter on that day? I

NaturatintGoldenChestnut Thu 25-Apr-19 14:30:20

I'm always amazed at people who have kids and expect their employer to accommodate their childcare issues and expenses. It's something that should have been agreed to and budgeted for before having children. You're asking your employer to pay you to sit at home one day with your kids because you can't 'work from home' whist looking after 2 young children at the same time reliably.

Hollowvictory Thu 25-Apr-19 14:30:26

I work from gone one day a wek, or varies which day. What's wrong with that?

BarbarianMum Thu 25-Apr-19 14:31:24

Ok. So I guess the reason they don't want you at home for a fixed day per week is that it makes it harder to coordinate things like meetings or training when you are only ever around 3 days per week. Could you offer an element of flexibility? My dh usually works from home on Thursdays fi but will go in if necessary.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:31:46

I cannot afford 5 days childcare...sorry I seem to have been really unclear blush

They hinted that they may want me back 5 days if 4 days compressed is too muchand I just cannot afford that sad

Sorry everyone - I’m so upset and anxious I don’t think I’ve put this across properly.

I’m not a cheeky fucker - I do have all my childcare organised smile

CloudRusting Thu 25-Apr-19 14:31:53

It’s not clear to me why continuing what you did before is unworkable for you?

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Thu 25-Apr-19 14:31:59

You are entitled to ask, they are not obliged to agree. Although, if others are doing it then they must show how your case is different if you have been denied.

Do you have a union?

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:33:04


I have explicitly told them that if they need me in I’ll be there because the flexibility will work both ways.

I am so upset that when I said I’d change the wfh days every week their story suddenly changed.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Thu 25-Apr-19 14:33:30

I dont understand - why do you need 5 days child care if you are working 4 compresed days (confused!)

Mousetolioness Thu 25-Apr-19 14:34:08

Speak to occupational health. Maybe tell them the stress is caused by the company's inflexibility re working from home. Make your case to them maybe and they may recommend wfh.

I'm just guessing here and not qualified to advise in any way but that would be my thought on the matter.

If people doing the same job at other locations wfh it is shit of them not to justify why you can't in my opinion. If you work from home tho how will you manage work and the care of your child. Will you need to be working office hours or e able to work before child/children wake and after they go to sleep?

Hobbesmanc Thu 25-Apr-19 14:34:30

Hi- sorry about your anxiety.

Do all staff at your grade or role able to work a compressed week? In my business this would already be seen as a positive concession - requesting a further day from home may be seen as a further unwarranted concessions.

Also as an employer I do question if working fom home is always as effective for the employer as the employee. You think you are more productive but your employer feels otherwise.

You seem to feel that your anxiety would be alleviated by only being in the workplace three days a week- but would it or are there other issues that need to be addressed?

Please don't feel I am being harsh OP. I do sympathise.

SpeckleDust Thu 25-Apr-19 14:35:03

Can you find out if there is anyone else in the same type of job (same grade) in your organisation that does this working pattern (ie 4 compressed days, one WFH)? If this working pattern has already been accepted, I think it is more difficult for them to refuse.

Do you have HR department or access to any unions?

Have you put your application in formally (in writing) yet? There are formal procedures that your workplace must go through before refusing any working pattern

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:35:31


Yes there’s a union.

@CloudRusting I am now suffering from quite severe post partum anxiety. So while the 4 compressed days are still workable I just feel like a day from home would be far more doable. It seems to work for other areas of the business.

It appears they’re all talk about flexibility but when it comes down to it they don’t really like it.

Bringbackthestripes Thu 25-Apr-19 14:36:28

I will be returning to work on the same basis as before my mat leave - working 4 compressed days.

Sorry I’m still confused. Why do you need 5 days childcare if you are working 4 days? They have only hinted at 5 days if 4 days compressed is too much, haven’t they?

Bringbackthestripes Thu 25-Apr-19 14:36:54

X post. Sorry

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