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Flexible working for dads? A bit long, sorry

(7 Posts)
seeksnewnamewithgsoh Wed 27-Jul-11 19:48:46

DH works in the IT Department of a manufacturing company. Everybody in the offices works their full time hours in 4.5 days, enabling them to finish at lunchtime (1.15pm) one day a week. Exactly which day is worked out informally within each department.

DH has been taking his half day on Thursdays for nearly a year now so that he can take DD to baby 'swimming' lessons (gift from family) - that has been fine with the other two people in his team, it means he's not in the mix fighting for Friday afternoon off.

We are about to move house, and consequently our outgoings are going to skyrocket - the rent is double what our mortgage was, the house is going to cost more to run etc. - so we're looking at ways to streamline our spending.

One of my ideas was to combine his two half days into one full a fortnight. So instead of working 4.5 days in 5, he works 9 in 10. This means that we can save two days of nursery fees a month. (nursery comes out of my salary, and costs me more than half a day's pay)

I think that the work efficiency of having him there for 9 full days will be more than him finishing at lunchtime for two days a fortnight. He's not reducing his hours, just combining them into a more succint block. He's informally sounded out the MD today to be told there's no way they would ever consider it - they would have to complete rewrite his contract (well, yes, that's what a flexible working request is) and that they would have to offer exactly the same to the other members of his team.

Is that right? Surely if the rest of the team don't have children, they wouldn't be entitled to ask for this like parents can? So they wouldn't have to be offered it?

And how should he word it if he put it in writing and made a formal request?

Thanks so much if you're reading.

countydurhamlass Wed 27-Jul-11 21:51:57

my husband used this, we got this from a website - not sure which one now

Dear ...........

re: flexibly working request

I would like to apply under section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to work a flexible working pattern that is different to my current working pattern because:

• I have parental responsibility for the upbringing of a child(ren) under 18

I am making this request to help me care for the child(ren).

I can confirm that I have worked continuously as an employee of the company for the last 26 weeks. I have not made a request to work flexibly during the past 12 months.

I have never made a request to work flexibly.

My current working pattern is

I would like to work

(YOU COULD ALSO INCLUDE ...I think there would be a very minimum effect on the business and to my colleagues as i am actually working the same amount of hours averaged over a two week period)

Yours sincerely,

hairylights Thu 28-Jul-11 08:58:00

country isn't quite right. There's a right to request a fwp, not a right to work one.

But yes, your dp should put it in writing and outline the right to request.

I guess your employer could argue that the rest of the team could ask the same which would be unworkable but that sounds a bit lame.

Is your employer aware of the right to request flexible working.

flowery Thu 28-Jul-11 09:04:45

No the rest of the team wouldn't be entitled to ask or be offered this. And even if having to go to the trouble of rewriting a contract was a justifiable reason (which it isn't), they wouldn't have to do that anyway - a letter confirming the change would be fine.

notcitrus Thu 28-Jul-11 09:28:06

Can he sound out the rest of his team and how they feel? Presumably he'd be the only one taking a morning off - are they OK with that workload?
Also he'd then be coming in earlier and leave later on the days he is in - can he come up with reasons why that might be useful to the company?

Asking to try it for a trial period of say 3 months might help, too.

hairylights Thu 28-Jul-11 10:32:16

If the other team members are parents they'd have the same right to request. But their current excuse is not reasonable - as each case is considered on it's own merits.

Basically, though, they can find a business case to refuse if that's what they are determined to do.

There is nothing stopping any member of staff asking for a change in contract, but they only have the right to have it considered if they are parents.

seeksnewnamewithgsoh Thu 28-Jul-11 22:45:47

Thanks everyone. Flowery, I didn't think those were particularly reasonable reasons so thanks for backing that up.

Basically everyone in the whole company works a longer day but has one afternoon a week 'off' - so they work 37 hours in 4.5 days. All he'd be proposing is to is do 9 in 10 not 4.5 in 5.

He's going to put in a formal request in writing. It's a good idea to see if they'll do it on a trial basis to start. He would be setting the precedent at his company, and I know it's less usual for men generally to request flexible working.

I think they do know about the parental aspect, as the women come back from maternity leave on flexible terms - job share, or shorter hours. Just not the men.

Thanks again. You've really helped me clarify my thoughts. Wish us luck!

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