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Returning to work/childcare or new job- help!

(26 Posts)
Doublemint Sat 27-Aug-16 13:54:55

Hi I started a thread about this earlier here and got it moved to chat- no one wanted to post on it so MNHQ suggested I start a new thread here with a link to my old thread rather than get it moved again.

Hope that makes vague sense!

Here's the original thread-

bobgoblin123 Sat 27-Aug-16 14:22:06

This sounds very unfair of your company. Can you apply for flexible working? What were their reasons for changing your days? By the sound of it though you'd be better getting out. But it would be awful if you felt pushed out because of childcare.

Doublemint Sat 27-Aug-16 15:42:39

Thanks bob, I agree I think it's totally unfair! Without wanting to out myself there are a couple of reasons I think, the first is that it's 1:1 work and they've cut staff so there's no wriggle room for changing. They also only found out we had any contracts at all very late in the academic year. The final reason (that I think they've done) is that the woman who is sharing with me wants Friday's off. She's unmarried, no kids and hasn't got the same high level of qualifications I have. But she was there when they sorted out days and probably baggsied the best days to suit her so she works Tuesday Wednesday Thursday.

I'm looking into other childcare options but I think it's really unfair to put this stress onto me with such little notice and not to be consulted at all before the decision was made!

SisterViktorine Sat 27-Aug-16 15:52:44

I think you should just look for a new job.

Are you a teacher? If so you could sign up to an agency and only make yourself available for the days the CM can do. If you are in SEN/PRU I would recommend AXCIS as an agency, I regularly have staff from them and they are very efficient.

flowery Sat 27-Aug-16 15:56:53

I don't know about anyone else but I can't reply to a thread without the actual question on it, so I've copied and pasted OPs text here:

Returning to work after 9months mat leave in September. I worked two days a week and have had the same two days booked with the childminders for two years now for dd1.

I was told the week before the summer holidays that the two days I would be doing in September are totally different days. Because of when I was told I can't change the days with the childminder as they are fully booked. There are no nursery places nearby either.

So I've arranged to have MIL come for one of the days up until half term and another colleague will work the other one so I will be working one childminder day and the other one MIL will be here. Up until half term.

After that mil has said she doesn't want to do anymore and colleague has said she won't swap days any longer.

Is it fair that work have done this to me with such little notice? I've worked for the company for the longest out of the employees bar the director (I was working as self employed with him when he founded he company and he employed me).

I'm trying to find childcare but I'd rather keep the childminders as dd1 loves them and it would mean another change for dd2 after just 6 weeks of starting there. Plus DH is deploying for 9 months too so lots of changes for the Dds

I've been actively looking for new employment as this is the latest in a long list of things my employer has done (changing my job to a crappy admin role after mat leave for DD1, not telling me of the perfect internal promotion whilst on mat leave for dd1). Also the company is in financial trouble and barely secured contracts for this academic year. All employees have had to make cuts to their hours and the company is running in the red.

Should I get out and get a new job or stick it out? Should I bend over backwards to find new childcare or not?

Any advice welcome and I'm sorry if this makes no sense, kind of several problems running together!"

bobgoblin123 Sat 27-Aug-16 15:57:21

Absolutely, they should have at least consulted with you, it really feels like you disadvantaged just because you had a baby. The same applies to the promotion no-one bothered to tell you about. Do you get on with the boss/director? Could you go to them? I'd still look at other employment though.

flowery Sat 27-Aug-16 16:00:33

Ok so now we can actually see the problem, OP what does your contract say your working hours/days are and what does it say about changing working hours?

Had you been doing the same days consistently for a significant period of time before maternity leave?

You say someone else was there when they 'sorted out days'. Why did days need sorting out? Was it inevitable someone was going to have to change?

Doublemint Sat 27-Aug-16 16:53:39

I'm not a teacher. But work term time hours. It specifies I work two days a week in my contract not sure about swapping days. Can't remember (dd1 is ill so I'm stuck on the sofa!). I remember something about "reasonable changes" or something.

I've worked these days on contract (although the contract doesn't specify which two days) for several years although I was only working back for 9 months after my first mat leave before I got pregnant with dd2 (happy surprise!). Same days though. I've done KIT days etc and they've always been on those days too.

To be honest I've kind of distanced myself from the director after the promotion issue came up. He basically implied that after my second mat leave I would be made redundant and although that hasn't happened I don't feel valued at all by the company. They also didn't tell me I needed a new DBS check for starting work again after my first mat leave, which culminated in an awful scene where I was refused entry by a self important receptionist because I hadn't been told to bring relevant paperwork with me to my first day back. It upset me so much I took two weeks off because of it, and that's not like me. I feel so undervalued and messed around by them. The director is a very long distance director and I see him once or twice a year (yes really) usually we communicate via email although whenever I've been really upset he's insisted on a phonecall.
He said it's because so much can get lost in translation in emails I think it's because he doesn't want written evidence of what he has to account himself for.

I've had very little contact with him because of this.

Flowery BIG thanks for copying the original post over!

Doublemint Sat 27-Aug-16 16:55:38

And yes what he been implied is that because the company has no money left, and our contracts have been reduced, all full Time staff have been made part time, I'm not entirely sure of the ins and outs but I think this is why there has been a rejiggle. No one really told me, I was just told a week before the end of term that these were my days, deal with it basically.

Doublemint Sat 27-Aug-16 16:56:08

*the company's contracts have been reduced, not our employment contracts! Sorry!

flowery Sat 27-Aug-16 21:45:00

"Dear employer, further to our recent discussions I have since taken the opportunity to seek advice. I understand that my consent is required in order to change my terms and conditions of employment. As I have been consistently working Mondays and Tuesdays [or whatever days it is] for [number] years, these are my established contractual working days. I am not prepared to consent to your proposed change at this time as my personal circumstances and childcare responsibilities are arranged around my contractual working days. I will therefore be returning from maternity leave on X date and will continue to work Mondays and Tuesdays as before.

I am disappointed that you attempted to force a change in this way without even attempting any consultation process. I am unsure about whether other members of staff are being subjected to the same treatment, but I very much hope that your decision to try and forcibly change my days and the decision not to engage me in any kind of consultation was not a result of my maternity leave."

I'd send something like that.

Doublemint Sat 27-Aug-16 22:11:59

I love that! Although does it matter that my contract just says "two days a week" and not specific days? As I imagine he would come back saying that they haven't broken the terms because they are still offering two days a week to me? Thank you so much it's really well worded. I will have a 24 hour think as I'm fairly sure I want to leave anyway after all this and need a good reference.

flowery Sun 28-Aug-16 05:18:10

It doesn't matter that your contract says that because you've consistently been working those specific days for a significant period of time- that means they have become your established terms and conditions through custom and practice.

If your days had been changed by your employer on a relatively regular basis, you wouldn't have a leg to stand on, but if an employer builds flexibility into a written contract to enable them to do things like this they need to actual use that flexibility otherwise they lose it.

cexuwaleozbu Sun 28-Aug-16 07:01:13

Ts&Cs don't have to be written in a contract to be valid - if you have been working a specific pattern for a significant period of time then that pattern becomes an accepted part of your contract.

eg if someone is officially on a zero hours contract but always works Monday to Friday 9-5 for 2 years then they will be entitled to the same rights, including protection from arbitrary dismissal, as they would with a full-time contract. The words in the contract are overruled by what actually occurs.

You have been working specific days with no expectation of variability for years. They can't change those days without consultation. That consultation can result in redundancy if you don't accept the days that they want you to but they would have a tough time proving that the situation isn't discriminatory as it has clearly happened because of your maternity leave.

Doublemint Sun 28-Aug-16 18:07:10

Ok thanks for the information. I had no idea. So now do I raise this before I go back to work, potentially messing up other people's days or do I raise it now to be reviewed at half term or should I not raise it at all until half term? Thank you so much for this I didn't know I had a leg to stand on!

flowery Sun 28-Aug-16 18:25:42

If you're going to raise it, the sooner the better.

Doublemint Sun 28-Aug-16 18:45:46

I think what I will do is raise it now and say I am willing to work the new days up until half term and then I expect to return to my regular days. This would be fair for everyone in my eyes.

flowery Sun 28-Aug-16 20:13:59

I don't think that's fair for you! I think you should start off on the basis I wrote above, ie they have no right to unilaterally change your days in his way, and that you'll be returning on your contractual days and by the way they are discriminating. Then as a favour to them if you feel generous and want to give them an 'out' you could consider working the proposed hours on a temporary basis until half term on the basis that it is confirmed in writing that you will then revert to your contractual days.

Start off firm then you can earn goodwill by bending a bit, but if your starting point is that it's fine until half term, the end of the negotiation will be a worse outcome.

cexuwaleozbu Sun 28-Aug-16 20:21:47

No don't agree to work the new hours even for half a term. You agree to that and you'll be in danger of losing your "custom and practice" Ts&Cs.

You have the right to return to the same job you left.

Doublemint Sun 04-Sep-16 12:40:27

Hi I just wanted to thank everyone who gave me advice on this thread. The final straw came when I received an email on Friday saying that they wanted me in for different hours, times I have never worked and could not do because of childcare.
I called ACAS and the DASS and they suggested (as many of you did!) to write a grievance letter and start a formal grievance. I quoted extracts of my contract,
The company's equality policy and the equality act 2010. A short while after that I received a phonecall from the director basically saying he thinks there has been some miscommunication and that they never intended to make me feel this way etc etc, he even said that after mat leave 1 he created a post for me and he didn't have to, I said I refuse to feel grateful for them complying to the law. (Bolshy)
I am SO glad I listened to you and the legal advice over the phone too. Magically after one phone conversation I am able to go back on the days I used to work for basically the same hours (have to start 30mins earlier but have sorted that out). Huzzah! They have tried to guilt trip me quite a lot because they apparently need to now hire a new person to cover one day and other practical issues. Basically other staff may now have to change their days because of me. I do feel bad but surely that isn't my problem?
I have a meeting first thing on my first day back with my manager.
My DH and DM think they (company bigwigs) are shitting themselves and that's why they've agreed to what I've asked and not disputed it. What do you think?

I'm mostly worried that all my colleagues will hate me when I go back. confused

cexuwaleozbu Sun 04-Sep-16 14:29:57

Well done!! You are brilliant.

I hope they see that having a powerful confident woman with excellent communication and negotiation skills is an asset to them and don't see this victory for equality and the law as something to be regretted.

Enjoy your return to work.

Doublemint Sun 04-Sep-16 18:41:37

Aww shucks, don't know about all that but thank you!

cexuwaleozbu Sun 04-Sep-16 20:14:37

Don't do yourself down. If you were not a powerful confident woman with excellent communication and negotiation skills you would not have been able to navigate through this tricky situation to your current success. Many less brilliant women than you in the same situation would have quietly accepted their mistreatment.

There are some employers who, faced with your success, will respond by planning a way to get rid of you. There are I hope many more who will see you in a new light and be pleased to have your skills at their service.

Doublemint Mon 05-Sep-16 17:04:31

blush I hope so too! Bricking it about tomorrow but going to hold my head high, they aren't my friends they are my colleagues after all! Thank you

OneForTheRoadThen Tue 06-Sep-16 19:04:27

How did your first day back go doublemint?

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