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Employer wants to halve my hours after maternity leave

(7 Posts)
AnnaLiza Fri 26-Oct-12 20:52:22

Due to a shaky financial situation apparently.
What really gets me is the way she said "I'm
afraid I can only offer you 10 hours when you come back".
Erm, it's not a matter of what she can offer me, right? I have a contract of employment for 20 hours.
So why does she feel entitled to cut my hours and not somebody else's? Just because I've been on maternity leave doesn't mean that she should target me rather than someone else, right?
I said I wasn't happy and I advised her to look at the whole organisation and the finances as a whole before deciding to cut my hours in half. She said ok and she'll let me know within 28 days.
Am I not supposed to be part of any consultations re redundancies?

josie81 Fri 26-Oct-12 21:16:02

Giving you your contractual hours back when you return from maternity isn't doing you some kind of favour, it's a legal requirement and if you have been singled out because you're on mat leave that is sex discrimination. If you're in a union, speak to them, if not Citizen's Advice Bureau. You need to put in a formal grievance under your company's procedure. They are totally out of order treating you this way.

AnnaLiza Fri 26-Oct-12 21:27:52

I know. Do you think I should give her a chance (as she says she'll let me know within 28 days) or just jump straight into formal grievance?

flowery Fri 26-Oct-12 21:31:45

I would suggest the following:

Dear boss lady

Further to our recent conversation during which you indicated an intent to reduce my hours by half, I would like to confirm that I do not consent to the proposed change. I understand it is not possible for an employer to vary an employees terms and conditions without their consent.

I am entitled to return after maternity leave on the same terms as conditions as previously, and will therefore be returning on x date doing my usual 20 hours a week.

Any attempt to deny me those rights, or treat me less favourably than other members of staff wholly or partly due to my maternity leave is illegal discrimination, and will be strongly resisted with a formal grievance and legal action if necessary.

Please confirm in writing my return to work on my usual terms and conditions by return.

josie81 Fri 26-Oct-12 21:39:11

If you wait out the 28 days you are just letting her buy time to find ways to justify reducing your hours and it could be seen as you consenting to the change in hours (I'm assuming there's no written record of your conversation). You definitely need to get something in writing as suggested by flowery.

AnnaLiza Fri 26-Oct-12 21:48:41

I did put it in writing that I didn't consent to it after we talked. I was firm but friendly and didn't mention my legal rights or possible legal action. Also a member of staff has handed in her notice so in my email I suggested that I could take on part of her hours so that I could carry on working 20 hours a week.
I don't want to make her angry. I would like to be diplomatic but I'm worried that she'll take the decision without consulting with me any further. Also I need to confirm with the childminders what hours I'll be working and pay a deposit ASAP.

flowery Fri 26-Oct-12 22:28:37

She doesn't get to just 'take the decision'. She's proposed an amendment to your terms and conditions, you've refused to agree. If she still thinks she is making a decision then you haven't refused firmly enough. You can book your childminder on your normal hours.

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