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Flexible working request turned down - can anyone help?

(10 Posts)
SeemsSoUnfairDoesntIt Wed 13-Jul-16 11:06:21

I posted this in return to work thread but no responses. Desperate to help my friend with this situation:

A friend is due to return to work shortly after having her first baby, she has requested to reduce her hours from 5 days a week to 3. They have turned down her request. I appreciate they dont have to reduce her hours, but I thought they had to have good reasons not to accommodate her request. Within her team there are two other employees who have returned to work after having children and reduced their hours from 5 to 3 days, they do exactly the same role as her. The company has recently taken on two new employees who do the equivalent of 5 days a week in 4 days, she offered to start earlier and finish later. There have been no issues with her work/conduct to date. They have given textbook reasons such as; it will have a detrimental impact on quality and it will create unacceptable difficulties as the business would be unable to recruit additional staff to cover the 2 days she's not in. They haven't had a problem covering whilst she's been off.

They treated her differently after she informed them of her pregnancy. After she was not put forward for some training that had been previously agreed she spoke to one of the management team about it, their response was to indicate towards her bump and say 'you've made your career choice'. This isn't the only comment along those lines.

Can they just simply get away with saying no? Can she do anything? Any advice would be very much appreciated.

BarbaraofSeville Wed 13-Jul-16 11:14:01

What days are the others working? Are they all wanting the same days off? Could she offer to change the days she works to fill in any gaps?

SeemsSoUnfairDoesntIt Wed 13-Jul-16 11:16:19

The other two work on different days to each other. She's offered to fit in where needed.

BagPusscatnip Wed 13-Jul-16 11:16:21

Could she speak to her Union or perhaps ACAS? Does she have any witnesses to the discriminatory remarks about her pregnancy?

They have given textbook reasons such as; it will have a detrimental impact on quality and it will create unacceptable difficulties as the business would be unable to recruit additional staff to cover the 2 days she's not in is this an official response from HR?

At my work you are entitled to apply for flexible working every 6 months - is this something she could do?

ChessieFL Wed 13-Jul-16 11:21:22

Ask to get this moved to the Employment topic, a few employment lawyers hang out there and they can help!

decaman Wed 13-Jul-16 11:29:48

This happened to me. I told my company that they were legally obliged to give serious consideration to my request, and I didn't believe that they were doing that if they didn't offer me a trial period. They did give me a trial period (not exactly the hours I wanted) and it was never mentioned again, so I got to keep those hours. However, I only lasted a year. The comment made to your friend about 'career-choices' suggests that in the long-term she would be better looking for a more understanding employer, if that is possible.

SeemsSoUnfairDoesntIt Wed 13-Jul-16 11:34:02

To be honest I doubt she'll want to return after their treatment, but she also doesn't want them to get away with it.

How do I request the thread being moved to another topic?

decaman Wed 13-Jul-16 20:50:39

Report it using the button on the top right of your post and add a comment letting MNHQ know where you want it moved to.

KatherineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 14-Jul-16 09:45:30

Morning folks, we are just moving this thread over to Employment Issues at the OP's request.

flowery Thu 14-Jul-16 13:26:49

They can refuse the request as long as they give at least one of eight specified business reasons and explain how that/those reasons apply in these circumstances. On the face of it, inability to recruit staff to cover the 40% of her role she wants to drop sounds valid, however if she feels it isn't, she can appeal - obviously she will have already thought about how her workload can be covered and if she thinks either that recruiting additional staff would be easy, or that there are other ways to cover her work without negatively impacting her colleagues, she can say so.

The fact that others have had requests agreed before doesn't set a precedent. Each request needs to be considered on its own individual merits, however obviously if there are working practice/arrangements which have been applied to the other roles which could equally apply to hers, she can put that forward.

In terms of the comments you refer to, that is unacceptable and she may want to consider raising a grievance about those.

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