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Can work just withdraw the right to work from home?

(12 Posts)
pugsandseals Thu 09-Jun-11 14:08:31

DH has worked from home for several years now enabling me to go back to work & saving a huge amount of money on the commute. He still goes in to the office twice a week often to offices elsewhere in the country, but is mainly on offshore tele-meetings.

Some bright spark manager has thrown in the idea that everyone should have to go into the office everyday without running it past HR first!

This would obviously cause us huge problems as I would have to give up work to do all the school runs & with the cost of commuting I would imagine our annual income to drop by over 10K shock

Is this just a top manager throwing his weight around that will amount to nothing? Or is there anything DH & his colleagues can do about it?
Grateful for any experiences...

hairylights Thu 09-Jun-11 16:22:17

Firstly, there is no generic "right" to work from home, unless it forms part of his contract.

Does his contract detail anything about this arrangement? If not, he can always go the "custom and practice " argument.

Has the manager stated that this practice will definitely cease or is it just an idea being suggested at present?

pugsandseals Thu 09-Jun-11 17:33:37

Just an idea at the mo, but he's been told not to tell others about it!
In recent years it has become the norm in his department for people to only go in twice a week but no work from home contract as they would then have to pay for health & safety checks & the like. The problem is that it has saved him 3 hours per day in commuting which along the money we can ill afford to loose (him doing 2 school runs allows me to work in an unflexible job). If it goes ahead I wonder if he should look at a flexible working request as his job does not benefit from him being in the office everyday as he mainly works with other offices worldwide so lots of phonecalls etc?

HappyAsASandboy Thu 09-Jun-11 18:17:01

I'm no expert, but I think you might be on to something with the flexible working request - the main teing is to prove that the job can be done under the flexible working conditions, and he has surely proved that if he's been doing it with no complaints?

LaCiccolina Fri 10-Jun-11 10:01:47

I think for now watch and wait might be the best approach. You dont want to end up ahead of yourself. Can your DH do any subtle digging as to why this person has decided this is a good idea? Is there a money issue, customer complaint etc? Can he subtly put across what others views might be to widen this persons view? If his contract is 5days in the office then hes been lucky thus far. There could be reason to go for the general acceptance route and or FWA but for now Id fact gather a little more before you do anything formal.

jeee Fri 10-Jun-11 10:05:31

I think that you need to be very careful what your DH says to his work - if he says he needs to work from home so that you can work, they could argue that if he's carrying out childcare duties when he's meant to be working, then he's not working.

I don't know how the law stands, but I would think that HAppyAsASandboy's argument - that he's proved he can do the job under flexible working conditions - is the way to go.

pugsandseals Fri 10-Jun-11 14:29:27

Indeed, we don't intend to make any moves yet!

jeee - they wouldn't be able to claim he's carrying out childcare duties when he should be working as we are only talking about 8.45 drop of 5pm pick up, but the commute would stop him from doing this on days I can't.

LaCiccolina - The person suggesting it is someone leading a team elsewhere in the country that are all office based. The term narrow-minded is an understatement! His current contract states he should be in the office 50% of the time, but there is a clause to say it can be terminated at anytime sad

Thankyou all for the positive ideas, I hope the idea gets pushed out before it's even suggested further down!

I would also advocate watching and waiting...

A flexible working request is a good suggestion but they can turn it down for business reasons...

One other thing tho is to keep a record of when he works from home, when he needs to go to an office etc and demonstrate a record of custom and practice.... this would potentially support a claim that his workplace should be home based ... and be useful for an appeal if flexible working was turned down...

fgaaagh Sat 11-Jun-11 00:03:58

"they wouldn't be able to claim he's carrying out childcare duties when he should be working "

I would still avoid saying anything about enabling you to work due to the flexible work arrangements to date.

By all means frame it as "DH has primary care of children with this setup", but not a "we need this because my wife can't work otherwise" - slightly more subtle approach whilst still making the same point (that he can't suddenly stop doing the school run).

lynehamrose Sat 11-Jun-11 09:46:35

Agree that the childcare issue makes it dodgy . it may only be a short period of time out of each day- but the point is, for any part of the working day, an employee is expected to have proper childcare arrangements in place . you don't say how old your kids are, but it could potentially lead to awkward questioning about who supervises the children before and after school. It sounds as though they may be old enough to play or watch tv, but if they are at an age when they still need someone in a supervisory role in the house (ie your dh) then his work could rightly be unhappy about that. Possibly other workers are taking advantage and its leading the company to rethink the work from home thing.
If it comes to him having to go to the office, I don't think you should automatically assume you have to give up work . This would be the point at which you find paid childcare. I would look at it as a bonus that you've had a few years of no childcare costs but not a deal breaker IYSWIM. certainly not worth you giving up a job just to do school runs.

bringinghomethebacon Sat 11-Jun-11 10:01:42

Lynehamrose the OP said that the kids are dropped off at 8.45am and picked up at 5.30pm so presumably they do already utilise an afterschool club or the like and presumably adding the commute time might make further childcare unworkable. Clearly working from home means less childcare by cutting out the commute. And its a big difference between having kids in 8.45am to 5.30pm and 7.30am to 6.30pm ish, most after school clubs don't run that late and you need a breakfast club and/or a flexible childminder who will provide dinner.

As I understand it, the reasons why you are applying for a flexible working arrangement are irrelevant. You are entitled to apply with young children, and the business must consider whether they can grant it or refuse it on business reasons. You don't have to give any details of your childcare arrangements.

lynehamrose Sat 11-Jun-11 10:51:12

Yes. I am aware of that. My point was that there is no automatic right to work from home simply to reduce childcare costs or time spent in childcare. The op's husband does not have an agreed flexible working arrangement or contractual rights to work from home, and therefore it has been a kind of unexpected by product of this informal arrangement that he manages to do a school run at quarter to 9 and 5. If he wants to make a flexible working request ( or if the op does) then fine, there's a clearly structured route for doing that, which involves showing how the proposed arrangements will not impact unfavourably on the business, colleagues etc . Childcare is not the thing to focus on there.

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