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Flexible working request denied - any advice

(10 Posts)
Lorelai Wed 22-Jun-11 13:56:30

This will be long, sorry.

I am currently on mat leave with DD2, have worked for the same employer for almost 10 years, went back full time after DD1 but can't do that this time - my childcare is my parents and while they were happy to look after one child full time they can't do it for two. They are happy to do a couple of days a week though (and I can't afford to pay for childcare so this is my only option really). I am hoping to go back part time in Sept, with my parents doing the childcare until Jan, when DH is able to take 6 months leave from work, which with holidays will cover us until DD1 starts school that Sept and I go back to only having one child for my parents to look after full time.

So - I originally requested working 4 days per week, with the intention (which I told them) of then asking to take 2 days per week as holiday from Sept-Jan (so only actually working 2 days but getting paid for 4). After I submitted this I came up with the plan of working 4 days per week total, but splitting the hours over 2 full days in the office and 3 mornings from home. I said I could be very flexible about this; changing the days in the office, occasionally doing 3 days one week if I could balance it by doing 1 the next etc.

The meeting was on the 13th May, but due to holidays they asked for longer than the statutory 2 weeks to get back to me, we agreed that I would have an answer by the time I got back from hol on June 10th. Of course I didn't, emailed on the following Mon to chase, manager said that they had made a decision, but the work situation had changed and he needed that week to think through how it would affect my role/request and would get back to me last Friday. The through various issues (including me not answering the phone when he rang) it has taken until today to hear back.

Basically what he is saying is that originally they were going to say no home working at all, but 4 days in the office would be ok. Due to the changes they are now saying that there might be the possiblity of doing some time from home, but I would have to go back, do 2 weeks of 4 days in the office to catch up, then we could see whether I could do any time from home - he would hope at least one day, possibly 2 but it is unlikely.

Any thoughts as to where I go from here? Can they do this (not set a written agreement in place but just say 'let's see how it goes')? I really can't do 4 days a week in the office until Jan (when Dh goes on his 6 months leave) - if they insist on it then I will be looking for another job, which I really don't want to do. Grrrrr.

Ihavenoclue Thu 23-Jun-11 00:42:13

You are best to think of ways to conteract their arguement about not allowing flexitime. What exactly are their worries and can you provide answers to their arguement. Investigate all the options even job sharing. I would also inform them in writing two weeks before you return of your intention to breastfeed. They will need to do a risk assessment and they should also ensure that any stress is controlled so as not to affect your breastfeeding capability. If working long hours is having a negative effect on breastfeeding and your childs health then they need to make reasonable adjustments to enable you to continue breastfeeding. It may be that reasonable adjustments might entail working from home sometimes??

Lorelai Thu 23-Jun-11 13:44:32

Oooh, interesting point about bfing - will keep that one up my sleeve for later.

stripeytiger Thu 23-Jun-11 14:05:41

Lorelai, I think they are trying to meet you halfway which is better than flatly refusing, but I have no idea what the rules and regulations are. TBH I think you are very lucky to have your parents help, but I probably say that out of jealousy as my mum died before my dc were born.

Is flexible working something you were planning to do if you had a second child? If so maybe it might have been worth investigating and making firm arrangements before you went on mat. leave. as it sounds like you are now under pressure a bit.

trixymalixy Thu 23-Jun-11 17:02:18

I think they are actually bring pretty flexible with you already. I can totally understand why they don't want you to do two days a week when you start back as it will take you much longer to get up to speed and therefore be totally effective.

I think the compromise of doing 4 weeks of 4 days and then 3 days from then on with the possibility of 2 sounds like a bloody good deal tbh. They could just have said no full stop or just 4 days in the office as your boss said they were originally going to.

If you really can't do that then good luck with finding another job that will be more flexible in the current climate.

Lorelai Thu 23-Jun-11 18:40:20

Yes, it is better than a flat refusal, and I am willing to negotiate with them, but what I am less happy about is the way that they won't commit - I need to sort out childcare (my parents can't do 4 full days) and so need a firm plan in place. I had talked to them about flexible working before I went off but we decided to work out the details closer to the time as there was possibly going to be a restructure happening while I was off (and there has).

scarlettsmummy2 Thu 23-Jun-11 18:50:10

can you not put your children into childcare for just one day a week until january? I know it is probably a pain and an added expense you don't need but at least it wouldn't be forever and it is unlikely you will get another part time job at short notice. Also if you are flexible with them they might be more likely to allow you your home working later on. To be honest, if I was an employer I would be nervous about an employee working from home and not knowing what their childcare provisions are.

trixymalixy Thu 23-Jun-11 18:58:43

I totally agree that they need to commit one way or the other as you need to sort out childcare. I think you need to spell that out for them, but tbh they'll probably then say just 4 days in the office unfortunately.

Lorelai Thu 23-Jun-11 19:31:04

Scarlettsmummy - I could, and I will if I have to, but with the proposal they have suggested I either have to book childcare which I may then not need if they say I can work from home, or hope that I won't need it then have to arrange it at short notice if they end up saying no.

I should explain - my plan if I can work from home is to split the time over a couple of days (so if I do 3 days in the office and 1 day from home, I would split that one day over 2 mornings - better for them as I am working at least part of each day rather than having a whole day off). It then means that I would only be working while DD1 is at playschool, so only DD2 for my parents to look after, and only from 9-1. If I have to go into the office then I am out of the house from 7.30-6.30 and need some form of childcare for both of them rather than just one. They do know my childcare plans and agreed that it is preferable from their point of view as it means I am not going to have to stay home if children can't go to nursery/childminder is sick or rush off for nursery pick-ups etc.

I've emailed my manager this evening explaining all this and asking if there is any room for manouevere. Fingers crossed!

trixymalixy Thu 23-Jun-11 19:47:30

Good luck with it!

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