2 years ago I requested flexible working under the parent to a 5 year old law. Work accepted this and amended my contract. It said it was to be reviewed quarterly but nothing was said until a year in to the arrangement.
A year ago, they said they wanted a mtg with me, they wanted me to go full time, I said I didnt want to and offered a compromise (mtg them half way on the hours). They said they would think about it, I did not hear anything after this (and my hours did not increase).
Then last week they told me I would be getting a letter changing my hours back to full time. I have received the letter it says they want me to sign to go back to full time.
Is this legal? Can I refuse? My friend has said that as I have been doing the part time hours for 2 years it is now my substantive (?) contract?
Yes you can refuse. Your current hours and working pattern are your permanent terms and conditions and they need your consent in order to vary them.
I would suggest writing back thanking them for the letter proposing you increase your hours, saying you understand your consent is required to vary your terms and conditions and as you do not wish to increase your hours at this time, you are not able to give your consent to their proposal. Say you look forward to continuing to support the team on your current hours, or something similar.
No. Ultimately, in certain circumstances after jumping through a lot of hoops and having good business reasons, employers can potentially dismiss employees and then reemploy on new terms and conditions.
But sacking someone who refused to increase her hours would be unfair dismissal.
Just because your hours were initially agreed after a flexible working request doesn't make them any less permanent or any easier to change than your full time colleagues' hours.