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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?

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:37:23


I have everything from nursery drop offs to after school are arranged so that I can work a full day in peace without children or any distraction.

JonSlow Thu 25-Apr-19 14:39:15

But you already have a flexible arrangement - compressed hours? So it’s not as if your employer isn’t flexible. You just want more than most.

Waveysnail Thu 25-Apr-19 14:40:26

So you want to work the 4 days compressed but work one of those days from home?

CloserIAm2Fine Thu 25-Apr-19 14:40:36

I’m not sure why it’s either 3 days in the office and 1 from home or 5 days in the office tbh. Surely if you have 4 days childcare arranged then you can do 4 days in the office?

Would you have a fixed day off if you do 4 days? I do full time over 4 days and have the same midweek day off every week, for mental health reasons, I needed the break midweek and it’s not as daunting as facing 4 long days in a row.

ArnoldBee Thu 25-Apr-19 14:40:46

In my part of the world you have to demonstrate what benefit it is to the business to work in the manner you want. Why will WFH help you? Why will this benefit your employer?

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:41:15

You just want more than most.

That is not correct. As a mother trying to get back to a career and earn money, I am asking for a work life balance.

Waveysnail Thu 25-Apr-19 14:41:58

Guessing you have a set day off so.surelt you could wfh any of the other days

BritInUS1 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:42:18

You will also need childcare for any days that you work from home. You cannot expect to be paid to look after your baby while you are meant to be working

mum11970 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:42:48

Are they hinting that your 4 compressed days in work are no longer convenient for the business and they want you to do 5 normal days but you are asking to do 3 compressed days in work and a 4th compressed day at home?

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:42:59


Yeah I have a set day. I just can’t understand why make a big song and dance about wfh being introduced and then when you ask they say no. What’s the point?

JonSlow Thu 25-Apr-19 14:43:14

So of all these other teams in the UK that have one day a week from home, are they all on compressed hours too?

SpeckleDust Thu 25-Apr-19 14:43:32

I know in my previous work place, a colleague needed to be signed off with stress after returning to work following maternity leave. On return, she was allowed very flexible working patterns to help with her stress.

I'm not suggesting this is a route that should be cynically adopted.
However, in light of your diagnosed anxiety, you may find that once signed off with stress, you employers might find themselves bound to be more flexible.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:43:53


I have really clear on here that I have childcare organised for the 4 days I work.

Apricot80s Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:01

You are very unclear. Do you think that you've been unclear in communicating yourself to them.

I think your anxiety may be affecting your ability to communicate effectively.

Is there a colleague who you could discuss this issue with? They may help you clarify the issue yourself so that you can approach your boss with more effective communication.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:08

The best advice I can give you is to

(a) get the union on it
(b) shift this to Employment secion - splendid help over there.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:11


I know what you’re saying but I am so loathed to be signed off with stress in case it is held against me in some way. I also rarely take time off sick so it feels so unlike me to go off on the sick.

Sallycinnamum Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:17

She's not asking her employer to let her WFH so she can look after her DC! She's got childcare sorted.

The OP has asked is she can WFH one day a week out of her 4 compressed days to get a good work/life balance.

mum11970 Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:38

If 4 compressed days is no longer convenient and they need you in the office 5 days a week, I can hardly see them agreeing to you being in the office 3 days a week instead.

Wurkit Thu 25-Apr-19 14:46:33


This worries me because my job requires me to be articulate....and I was until this cursed anxiety started sad

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

the several teams you know across the uk are they working for the same company? this isn't clear.
At moment I'm siding with employer you already have flexible working arrangements meaning your in office 4 days out of 5, if you say you want to work at home to ease your stress but they don't do this, that's a straightforward yes or no is anyone else in office doing this? if they have no one else out of office, why should they set a precedent with you? can you come up with any special circumstances. Keep in mind what they agree for you could mean everyone is now entitled to same thing, and if don't want to try work around you only being there now 3 days imagine if they have other people doing this too, it seems very fair of them to offer you 5 days shorter hours, they seem to have offered you a solution, so you don't like it don't accept it its not a threat, you are entitled to go back to doing what you were before. No need to be upset.

I'd do this and then when settled back in I'd start putting in requests to work x day at home, maybe every 2nd week, when its shown to them its workable , you get everything done, and its not disruptive to other people, you could raise this as a possibility going forwards, I think a softly softly approach might be best

SpeckleDust Thu 25-Apr-19 14:49:47

*Apricot80s Thu 25-Apr-19 14:45:01
You are very unclear*

The OP has been completely clear in all the follow up posts. Maybe RTFT.

MaMaMaMySharona Thu 25-Apr-19 14:51:56

I don't see how people are finding this so confusing!

What I would do is speak to your manager and ask him to articulate the reasons to you clearly as to why you cannot work from home one day a week. There must be a reason, even if it's just that they don't want you to. Ask for examples as to why it's ok for so-and-so and not you. Get something in writing.

If the compressed 4 days is still do-able from your end and you've not had any issues flagged to you, I can't see why they'd suddenly need you to work 5.

J2Ocean Thu 25-Apr-19 14:52:32

I just can’t understand why make a big song and dance about wfh being introduced and then when you ask they say no. What’s the point?

I think the problem is that you're already on compressed days so they feel they've already allowed some flexibility.

churchthecat Thu 25-Apr-19 14:52:33

Are the people across the business working form home in a similar role to you?

In our company some people can work from home, but some teams don't allow it at all due to the nature of their jobs.

I.e technical authors can in theory do the same work from home at times, but technical support and IT need to maintain a presence in the office.

I think it very much depends on your role.

churchthecat Thu 25-Apr-19 14:53:38

But again, requests change working hours or wfh can always be made, but no workplace actually has to allow them if they do not feel that it is in the interest of the business.

They don't have to consider our work/life balance.

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