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Employer is cancelling my flexible working

(9 Posts)
judit323 Fri 12-Jan-18 13:10:18

I wonder if some one can give some fresh advice on flexible working.
I have worked for the same company for nearly 16years and i have worked 9 years under a flexile working arrangements after the birth of my first child( i have 3 total).
I work in the airline industry so it means shift work.
I have worked 9 years on Monday to Friday 5am to 1 pm. (the operation pretty much is 24/7)
I has never been an issue during all this time.
i know my new manager didn't like me having different shift than the rest of the office and I think he has been trying to find and "excuse" or reason to change my shifts.
I received a letter just before christmas letting me know that from 24th january 2018 i have to work on a 4 on 2 off basis,day shifts, early mornings , evenings and weekends. I can't do that as my husband is on shift work and wouldn't have childcare to cover nights, evenings when we are both working..
I tried to talk to HR to no avail so I have put a grievance against this change. i have grievance meeting next monday.
Any advise I can get will be appreciate it.
i thought that having worked 9 years doing the same shift would be part of my contract by now.
they are trying to argue "due operational reasons" but during all this time that company have won and lost contracts and I have never been affected. I even took 3 months unpaid leave this summer because they were talking about redundancies and i wanted to keep my job...
could i take the company (if /i have to) to an employment tribunal ? how likely would it be to succeed?
I think they want me to resign and leave empty handed..

Chchchchangeabout Fri 12-Jan-18 13:14:29

Call ACAS they will be able to talk you through this.

judit323 Fri 12-Jan-18 13:31:49

Hi, I did speak to Acas but i just wanted some personal experience.
It seems that companies have it very easy to change their views and needs regarding flexible working agreements.
I thought I can argue that during 9 year i have been tupe'd twice the operation is constantly changing and it has never been mentioned the issue with the hours I currently work..

unfortunateevents Fri 12-Jan-18 16:05:28

What did ACAS tell you? Personal experience is all fine and well but isn't necessarily what you need to back you up in a grievance meeting.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 12-Jan-18 16:10:48

Sadly I don’t think you will have a leg to stand on if employer insists.

I was employed on a contract which said my location is X. After ten years they said I had to move to Y, an hour away. I pointed out that’s not what my contract said and I didn’t want to move.....they gave me a thirty day consultation period at the end of which I had a contract which said I had to work at X and Y. If I didn’t sign the new contract I was out a job. Union said I couldn’t fight it as it was a reasonable request.

Are you in a union?

Where I was (I left) people with flexible working had them regularly reviewed and they could be stopped at any time for business need.

underneaththeash Fri 12-Jan-18 21:51:31

I’d try reposting in employment issues. You do have a contract, so the breech you partially be under contract law. It’s been a while since i’ve Done any HR stuff.

I had a smilar thing happen to me, a new contract was issued that I didn’t accept (more hours for less pay), I just said that I was not going to accept the new contract. Under the terms of the contract I think they could have given me notice (what is your notice period?), but then I potentially could have sued for unfair dismissal..

daisychain01 Sat 13-Jan-18 08:10:57

Eek, Sorry for the length! Employees are given the right to request flexible working, employers must process and assess each request however they may decline based on very clearly established criteria. Eg detriment on other employees, financial burden, negative impact on customers, inability to cover an employee's absence.

They may change an existing arrangement if they can strongly argue the original grounds for acceptance are no longer applicable. Any change to the fwa needs to have gone through a thorough phase of negotiation, if they have failed to consult meaningfully they risk possible claim to breach of contract, but it's a long arduous expensive route through Tribunal, so they may be willing to risk the employee not having deep pockets.

i know my new manager didn't like me having different shift than the rest of the office and I think he has been trying to find and "excuse" or reason to change my shifts

Your manager must have a more robust case than doing this on a whim and some vague reason that he wants everyone doing the same shift times. That isn't in the spirit of flexible working. The government put it in place primarily to support families where both parents are working, and having to juggle childcare, and your manager is pushing for a one size fits all but so far not quantifying how your fwa will negatively impact the team.

You need to go into the grievance meeting fully prepared with a business case to show:

1. How your 9 year history of fwa has never impacted your performance or delivery to objectives.
2. Why you believe that it does not impact negatively on customers giving examples of the great service you provide.
3. Emphasis that your fwa is in place to support the needs of your young family, and by removing it they are effectively taking away your livelihood and income because you DH is also doing shifts and their proposal make it untenable for you.

Don't say it in so many words but HR may well look at point 3 and interpret that as potential for a discrimination claim. Sometimes it's effective to feed a few hints like that and let them draw their conclusions wink. The most powerful argument is your service history and precedent of your fwa. A colleague of mine put forward the above argument and they backed down.

B1rdonawire Sat 13-Jan-18 09:06:35

Sorry for the situation you're in. From the employer's perspective they will be needing the justification that the needs of the business require you to fit fully into the standard team working pattern (if the pattern you describe is "standard" for the rest of the team). I wonder if, as you say redundancies were considered only a few months ago, they are still looking at that and are exploring all ways of cost saving in the team cover - which might mean that they need all their more experienced people like you to be available to cover all types of shifts alongside more junior people, as otherwise they'll have to keep more people on the roster than they want to?

I'm not trying to bring you down but it might be sensible to try and figure out what their rationale for ending your FW will be - because that gives you more time to prepare any defence you think would apply. Wishing you luck with it.

(I am not sure the indirect or direct discrimination would hold water unless you are the only person on the roster who is: female / covering caring responsibilities / a different age to everyone else / having a FW arrangement withdrawn and others are allowed to keep similar ones)

cherryontopp Wed 17-Jan-18 18:49:00

Have you spoken to employer since your post? Or applied for the tribunal?

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