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Are work bu?

(32 Posts)
dolcegusto123 Thu 08-Nov-12 19:20:45

I am due to return to work from maternity leave in 3 weeks. I work 30 hours per week over 3 days and this is the amount of hours stated on my contract. My boss has sent me a letter today saying they cant give me the same shifts and want me to pick from either a 20 or 37 shift pattern over 5 days.
Can they do this?
On another note if i work 5 days instead of 3 my nursery fees wll go from 350 to 800 per month and i just cant afford that.

Any advice would be great thanks

applecrumple Thu 08-Nov-12 19:22:52

Sorry cant really offer much advice but I would have thought if you are contracted those hours then work can't change them.

dolcegusto123 Thu 08-Nov-12 19:22:57

The above should read 20 or 37 hour shift pattern over 5 days

awaywego1 Thu 08-Nov-12 19:23:43

I'm not sure where they stand legally but 3 weeks notice is terrible! sad
Hope you get something sorted.

CalamityJ Thu 08-Nov-12 19:23:53

Whether they are or aren't legally I don't know but the difference in either less or more hours is huge so I don't think you're BU. Good luck and hope you sort it out.

FrightRunScream Thu 08-Nov-12 19:24:04

How long have you been off? I think they can change your terms if you have been on ml (excluding annual leave etc) for more than 39 weeks.

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Thu 08-Nov-12 19:24:35

I'm sure they have to let you back on the same terms as you left with.

dolcegusto123 Thu 08-Nov-12 19:25:30

Fright - i have been on ml since end of march

Dozer Thu 08-Nov-12 19:25:31

Not a legal expert but I don't think they can do that.

PilchardsonToast Thu 08-Nov-12 19:27:23

Hi, depending on how long you've been off ( up to 6 or up to 12 months) they need to offer you the exact same job or one that is broadly equivalent on you return, a significant hours change would be too much of a difference to consider it a suitable role, therefore if they want or need to go ahead with this change they'll need to consult with you about making your role redundant and too be honest someone returning from mat leave is strongly protected so fingers crossed it will be fine. Hope everything works out for yoy

CatsRule Thu 08-Nov-12 19:41:31

My understanding is if you have been off up to 6 months you are entitled to the same job but if you are off over 6 months and up to 12 months then you are entitled to the same salary and equal standing job but not necessarily the same job. This is in Scotland so I don't know if everywhere else is the same.

I don't know about changing your contract or how much notice they need to give you.

I'm also dreading returning from mat leave very soon and was slightly hoping my job had changed since some of it is pants but I guess I should be grateful to have a job to return to!

ginmakesitallok Thu 08-Nov-12 19:45:54

If they have changed the shift patterns while you were off you should have been consulted like anyone else would have been - were your other colleagues consulted about the changes?

flowery Thu 08-Nov-12 19:51:16

I would suggest you ask MNHQ to move this to Employment where it is more likely to be seen by people who can help you.

In answer to your question, no they can't do that.

You need to write back to your boss as follows:

Dear boss

Thank you for your letter dated x regarding my return to work. Having taken advice, wink I understand I am entitled to return from maternity leave on the same terms and conditions as I was on previously. I do not wish to change my hours to either 20 or 37 a week as suggested, and will therefore be returning on my existing terms and conditions.

I look forward to seeing you on my return date of x.


Put the ball in her court. If there are genuine unavoidable business reasons why your hours need to change, there are things she could do/have done, but your maternity leave makes it no easier for her to change your terms and conditions than it would be if you were at work the whole time.

marriedinwhite Thu 08-Nov-12 20:52:36

OK - other posters are correct you are entitled to return to the same number of a hours in a job equivalent to your previous job on return from maternity leave. If this is to be changed there should have been a proper business case and a consultation. It would be interesting to note that if you had wanted to change your hours the flexibile working legislation requires 42 days notice for the employer to consider and this wouldn't have been an unreasonable period if the company had wanted to consult with you and change your hours.

I would be interested to see what your contract says and whether the terms of your contract allow for your hours to be changed in peak periods which may be the case if you work in retail.

If your contract does not have such a clause then they are being unreasonable and there is a potential case for sex discrimination.

It is very difficult to advice without seeing your contract to be honest.

dolcegusto123 Thu 08-Nov-12 21:50:09

Thank you all for your help and advice.
My manager has been really unhelpful. He is also quoting things like saturdays saying they cannot do without me on a sat. I however do not work saturday. He doesnt have a clue.
I will speak to hr tomorrow and the union rep and take it from there.

Flowery - Thanks. I will also send him a letter to that effect.

holidaysarenice Fri 09-Nov-12 02:15:06

There is a post pretty much like this in either legal or employment that I read a few days ago! With excellent advice, some from lawyers/hr ppl etc

Worth having a look for.

The general consensus was that no they can't. It also gave advice on what to say to the employer/legislation etc

dolcegusto123 Fri 09-Nov-12 12:28:05

Have spoken with hr and they have said they are allowed to change my hours and give a months notice following mat leave.
I am so angry.
There has been no restructure while ive been off and as far as i know other people who were doing the same shifts as me are continuing to do so. Nothing would have changed had i not been in mat leave.
I have worked there for 10 years. Its a farce.
Sorry im just ranting now.

blackeyedsusan Fri 09-Nov-12 12:31:29

h ae the compaany though. they are more likely to follo the company line. get independent advice asap!

blackeyedsusan Fri 09-Nov-12 12:31:51


noblegiraffe Fri 09-Nov-12 12:41:01

Hr might say they can change things randomly, but the government says that they can't. Google for the government pages on returning to work after maternity leave, print them and helpfully provide them with a copy.

dolcegusto123 Fri 09-Nov-12 12:41:37

I will contact my union rep. He is not known for being very good so im not feeling very confident.
Going to email my boss also but need to calm down first. My company treat their employees like crap. This is a huge company aswell.
Thanks to anyone still reading blush

mmmerangue Fri 09-Nov-12 12:45:45

I would say the difference in hours is negotiable but the difference in days is not.

3 days to 5 days is a big change - I can work my job, 20-25 hours over 3 days but I couldn't do the same hours spread over 5 days, the childcare and travel make it unreasonable and not worth my time in terms of money.

dolcegusto123 Fri 09-Nov-12 13:24:17

You are right. The hours I could maybe work something out but 5 days during the week I just cant do. As you say the financial side in terms of travel and childcare would mean probably 90% of my wage would go to childcare fees.

In teenage fashion ' its just not fair' smile

flowery Fri 09-Nov-12 13:26:16

That's not the point. You shouldn't have to negotiate on hours - any attempt to impose a change like this on someone returning from maternity leave is unreasonable, even if in theory the person could actually accommodate it.

If changes need to be made to hours, person returning from maternity leave can't be singled out for that, and there needs to be proper consultation and business reasons for that change.

Zalen Fri 09-Nov-12 13:35:11

I don't know enough to offer sensible advise but just wanted to say that if after going to your union rep you're not happy with their response then I'd assume you can contact the union directly.

What they're doing can't be right and returning to work is a stressful enough time as it is without incompetent management making things harder. Good luck.

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