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Flexible working declined

(29 Posts)
0to3SadOnions Fri 06-Oct-17 16:38:22

I work somewhere with weird shifts. We open at 7am and close at 11pm 7 days a week. There are 8hr, 10 hr and 12 hr shifts each day, on rotation every week, for 10 members of staff.

I'm due to go back from maternity leave in January and in the process of finding childcare I've found it impossible to find after 6pm and weekend care available (I live in a small village, town is 30 mins away, city is an hour, work is 5 min walk) theres one(!) childminder but she only takes children when are toilet trained (ds is advanced, but still in nappies at 4 months 😂)
The nursery has a place for him but I have to have set days and times (i.e. Monday 9-6, weds 8-4 etc)

I put in a request for flexible working, asking to do my 30 hours in 3 days of 8 and one day of 6 hours, the same set days every week between 8 and 5 due to childcare, with a review in 6 months. They've said no.

Formally I was told it's because it's unfair on other staff that I would effectively get evenings/weekends off but informally (gossip) I was the manager (I'm assistant manager) wouldn't even consider it because she has just come back from maternity leave and has to cope so why can't I? Difference being she has a live in husband who is a sahd (Me and dp have separate households and live 30 miles apart - long story but it's another thread)

Can I appeal? I will have to give up my job otherwise as like I said I don't have childcare 11pm at night. I don't know what I'd do - there are not many job opportunities in my village, I don't drive so can't work in town/city as no public transport (1 bus every 3 hours, no trains) so I'd have to sign on until I found something else.

I moved to this village for my job (transferred from one location to help set up this one) and I've given them 5 years of hard work to make it successful and I feel like it's not a big ask after everything I've done for them.

Tobuyornot99 Fri 06-Oct-17 16:43:12

Unfortunately what they've done is perfectly legal. You have a right to request flexible working, they have a duty to conside it, but that's it.
Similar thing happened to me and I ended up having to get a new job.
I can see how they'd say your request doesn't fit in with the needs of the business as the rest of the staff would have to cover evening and weekend shifts, which I guess are the least desirable.
I feel for you flowers

Nancy91 Fri 06-Oct-17 16:46:38

As rubbish as it is, I think you'll have to look for another, more flexible job.

Justgivemesomepeace Fri 06-Oct-17 16:49:58

There is an appeals process where i work. We are open 7 days 8-9 pm. You have to take the hit at one end though. If you don't do weekends you get the lates. Everyone has to take their share kids or no kids. I can't do lates as no one will childmind until that time of night. It means I have to do every Saturday though.

0to3SadOnions Fri 06-Oct-17 17:16:13

I'm willing to work weekends as dp is here, it's just the rota changes every week so I can't be consistent with the nursery. If I could have set days and times I can get him in otherwise nursery have said no

Justgivemesomepeace Fri 06-Oct-17 17:34:38

Maybe see if you can appeal and offer that as a compromise. If the response was that it wasn't fair on the other staff, then this would offer them more weekends off which might be acceptable. I'm sure you can appeal but then that decision is final so make sure you are completely open with what you can do. I've seen many people fall over at that part because they are holding out for better shifts, don't get their perfect scenario then end up with no compromise at all.

0to3SadOnions Fri 06-Oct-17 17:48:51

I'm willing to do Saturdays and Sundays if needed, as long as the week days could be fixed but they don't seem to be willing to budge.

One thing I was thinking of saying was that they allowed it for one member of staff a year ago as he started university so was allowed to be put on the rota for the days he wasn't there. Problem being is that he is the managers stepson and I don't want them to think I'm going in at the 'family favours' angle as a way to get what I want, if you see what I mean.

It's just so frustrating. I go out of my way to be helpful, I've worked every Christmas Day for the past 4 years without complaining so I feel they could possibly compromise.

0to3SadOnions Fri 06-Oct-17 18:55:51

Just read back what I've written - I promise I'm not normally an entitled 'woe is me' person. I have pnd, sinusitis and mastitis and was feeling shitty before I found out so this is just the cherry on the cake.

Re weekend work, most staff prefer weekends. I work in a tourist attraction and as It's busier they get more tips ( I've had over £100 on a Saturday before) so I think they'll (staff) would see less w/e work as a negative.

flowery Fri 06-Oct-17 19:33:18

"Unfortunately what they've done is perfectly legal"

No it isn't. They don't have to agree a request, but if they want to decline it, they have to give at least one of eight specific business reasons why it must be declined, and explain how that reason/those reasons apply.

It being unfair on other staff isn't a reason. Each flexible working request must be considered on an individual basis, and the opinions of other staff as to whether they would also like the same working pattern aren't relevant. They are all free to put in a flexible working request for the same thing, but they haven't.

This Acas guide is reasonably good, and sets out the list of acceptable reasons for refusal.

Appeal the decision, on the basis that they haven't provided business reasons why it is not possible for them to agree your request. Put more information about how it is possible for them to accommodate it.

They will probably still say no, because if they were inclined to agree it, they would have done so, but still push them on the reasons and make sure they follow the correct procedure.

Pointing out that someone else has had it isn't grounds for it to be agreed in your case - as I said, each request must be considered on an individual basis, so agreeing one doesn't set a precedent.

Having said that, if someone else has worked the same pattern before, and it has worked effectively with no problems, that is something you can say in support of your request. So not 'it's not fair because he did it', but rather 'this was a good example of how well this working pattern can work and that it is possible in this working environment.'

0to3SadOnions Fri 06-Oct-17 20:21:09

Thank you @flowery.

Something interesting I read whilst browsing acas - it says that flexible working related to childcare (and disability) may be protected by equality law. I'm going to have a further google and see if there is anything I can find around this that can help me when I put forward my appeal.

MelvinThePenguin Fri 06-Oct-17 20:38:48

I came to say what flowery said.

In terms of equality law, you'd be looking at indirect discrimination on the grounds of sex. This arises where a rule which applies to everyone (I.e. nobody can work fixed shifts) actually disadvantages a protected group (i.e. women, hence this being sex discrimination) disproportionately. This can be the case with flexible working because women typically take on more childcare. Don't get me started on whether that's right, but the courts will accept such an argument.

Indirect discrimination can be justified if a good business reason can be given. In this case, it would be one of the 8 flowery has referred you to.

In a nutshell, if they don't come up with one of the 8 reasons (or do, but it's a nonsense), they could be in breach of both flexible working legislation and the Equality Act. It's all very much linked iyswim.

MelvinThePenguin Fri 06-Oct-17 20:43:50

Also, the 'right to request' and subsequent right to appeal only apply if you've worked for the company for 26 weeks and haven't made a previous request in the last 12 months. It sounds like you'd be okay on this basis, but best to be sure before you go quoting legislation at them!

Timeywimey8 Sat 07-Oct-17 19:33:00

Why do retailers do this? I understand they need to cover the weekends, but why can't people have set shifts? They know what hours they are open, they know how many people they need, why do they need to put different people on different days every week?

I appreciate they have to cover holidays but that doesn't mean changing everyone round every week.

When I worked in a customer service role I had a two week rota with a couple of changes (eg one week I did a long Monday and the following week I worked a short Monday and Saturday morning, but the other days were the same).

daisychain01 Sun 08-Oct-17 10:13:12

Definitely appeal their decision. I would mention the need for them to assess your request for flexible working on the basis of staff equality - the male staff member was granted his request for study purposes. You are asking because you are a single parent (primary carer) with the challenge of having to balance childcare with earning a living. Underscore the vast majority of primary care for DC falls to the mother.

They won’t want to head off a claim for discrimination just for the want of granting your very reasonable request.

rwalker Sun 08-Oct-17 10:19:52

any flexible working has to be viable.It's just not fair on other people speaking as someone who had more than my fair share of shit shifts because other people had young kids and did something similar .Why doesn't your dh ask for fixed days

ninjapants Sun 08-Oct-17 10:36:18

Could you look further afield for a childminder? One who can be flexible on days and hours each week? If you drive you could pick up and drop off, or some childminders will provide this service for a small fee. If you've got weekends and evenings covered by your dp then that would solve the problem.

Before anyone says this is impossible, I work shifts that change each week and have a flexible child minder. When I first went back to work DH worked varying shifts too. We had a child minder who would start as early as 7am, finish as late as 8.30pm and work occasional weekends. Obviously the flexibility and extreme hours cost us more than set times, but it meant we could both continue to work in the same jobs. Now DH works office hours mon-fri so no weekends or late finishes required, but we still need flexibility as I work different days and shifts every week.
Try not to limit your options to the one local child minder who won't be able to help you for a couple of years at least.

In the meantime, I think you should appeal because you've nothing to lose. Try to think of any way you could still work evenings, weekends and early starts (set days doing this when you know you have dp on hand for example), then they can't argue that it impacts on other staff as you're still doing your fair share. Does anyone else have flexible working arrangements?

JustMumNowNotMe Sun 08-Oct-17 10:38:39

Pre-kids I worked in a job that needed 24 hour cover, 7 days a week and had a rotating 8 week shift pattern. Logisitcal nightmare for nurseries and as DH is miliitary and away a lot it was impossible to do night shifts and weekeends as no CMs do these hours here. I therefore had to concede that the job was no longer suitable for me, snd so applied for a different role that was just mon-fri. I knew asking not to do late shifts and nights wasn't realistic so changing jobs was tbe best option.

0to3SadOnions Sun 08-Oct-17 10:44:53

@rwalker dp and I don't live together, he has fixed hours and comes to me Friday night- Sunday (or I go to his)

I've done my fair share of 'shit shifts' over the past 5 years. Me and my older dc (they're young teens) have spent xmas day for the past 4 years at my workplace, same as my manager (we're the only ones with dc) And like I mentioned, most staff actually prefer the busier evenings/weekends as there's more chance to earn tips.

What I'm asking is viable. It will have no impact on the business. Most of the solo work I do as assistant manager can only be done 9-5 mon-fri anyway so would probably work better from that point.

0to3SadOnions Sun 08-Oct-17 10:50:28

I don't drive, we have a bus from town (30 minute walk away on country road with no pavement) to the city at 9.15, then every 3 hours until 6pm and that's it. I've tried begging the cm (I used her with older dc until they were at secondary) but she won't take babies until toilet trained.

LillyLollyLandy Sun 08-Oct-17 10:56:03

Is learning to drive an option?

0to3SadOnions Sun 08-Oct-17 11:12:56

No, I had a licence but can't drive for medical reasons

NapQueen Sun 08-Oct-17 11:16:10

You would think theyd be chomping at the bit to take your offer of weekend working. If you offer to work every Sat and Sun but have a guarantee on the three days in the week.

rwalker Sun 08-Oct-17 19:44:18

sorry if sounded harsh just pissed off with what i,ve ended up with at work shift wise .2 of them have fixed days off one has Monday other one has Friday so never get 3 days weekend which they do every week and have no shame in boasting how nice it is to have 3 days in a row off. Have to cover more late shifts now. My kids are older but even when they were younger . never did this as don't think its fair

0to3SadOnions Sun 08-Oct-17 20:52:13

That's fine - I agree having dc doesn't entitle you to the best shifts, but that's not even what I'm asking for. I need to be able to say to the nursery 'can you look after ds Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays' which enables them to offer a tues/thurs place to someone else. If I then need a tues/thurs place for the following week due to Rota change I'm buggered. It's common sense really from the nurserys side.
I just feel stuck.

Cakeoftheday1 Mon 09-Oct-17 01:02:23

Could you put an advert on a child minder site for some one that offers flexible childcare. On another section there was a nurse who was looking for extra work, because she worked strange shifts, so being your child minder would have been perfect.

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