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Unable to work contracted hours due to childcare(43 Posts)
I currently work in Richmond 4 days a week, 9.30am to 5.00pm so I am able to do school drop off and after school pick up at 9am and 6pm respectively. My company wishes to relocate our team to the Putney office which is further in time and distance for me to travel to. After drop off in the morning I would not realistically get there until 10am and would have to leave at 4.30pm to get back for after school pick up by 6pm. I put it to them that I could still carry out my contractual 28 hours if I did 3 days 10am to 4.30pm, and one day working from home 9am to 6pm. Three other female members of my teamwork a day at home due to child care. They told me today I cannot work the one day at home and need to ‘have a think over the weekend’ and come back on Monday morning with another suggestion on how to work my hours in the 4 days I am contracted to work. I have already given them this suggestion of the 3 days and one at home. I feel they are making it impossible for me to carry out my childcare duties and work my hours. I also feel discriminated against as 3 others work a day at home. This is really stressing me out as all I want to do is an honest days work and care for my child. There was a hint of suggestion that I make up the hours in the evening or at the weekend. What should I do? Do I have legal rights? And advice would be great.
They would have to explain why the business needs you in the office. do they need min cover and as the others have pre agreed WFH you can't have it too? do the others have a different role?
is there wraparound care you could use while you look for a more local job?
The distance is small enough that they do not have to offer any sort of relocation deals, why not spread the hours over 5 days?
There was a hint of suggestion that I make up the hours in the evening or at the weekend.
Would these hours be from home?
I've had jobs where I've logged back in in the evenings after picking up the DC - it would be cheaper than having to pay for childcare so I'd suggest trying this if you like the job.
I would point out to them that 3 members of staff already do what you have suggested and (providing they do the same job as you and the set up is the same) that them saying no without a valid reason is grounds for a descrimination hearing.
They are moving you, you have come up with an alternative arrangement to suit the decision they have made to move the office, they should now give the leway to accomidate your situation which has only changed due to their actions.
However, if there are redundancies with this move, tread carefully
Ask for reasons why you can't do the same as your colleagues. Please tell me you are in a union? If so get them involved.
” I would point out to them that 3 members of staff already do what you have suggested and (providing they do the same job as you and the set up is the same) that them saying no without a valid reason is grounds for a descrimination hearing.”
OP has said the other members of staff are also female. On what grounds do you think there should be a ‘discrimination hearing’?
OP they are allowed to move office, and it isn’t far they are moving. It sounds like they are actually being very accommodating and flexible, actually, allowing you to come up with options, and if they’d allow you to work shorter days and then make up the hours whenever you can in the evenings or weekends, that’s incredibly flexible.
Have you asked them why you can’t do the day from home like your colleagues? Is it something like having sufficient cover in the office or similar? Could be, if there are already three of them doing it.
This isn’t a flexible working request so they don’t have to come up with specific reasons to refuse that option.
Do the other work from home staff do the same role as you?
Have you asked the school if they have a breakfast club provision? Are you a Lone Parent? Is dad around to pick up some of this?
On what grounds do you think there should be a ‘discrimination hearing’?
Discrimination isn't just based on gender. It can be much more personal than that.
”Discrimination isn't just based on gender. It can be much more personal than that.”
What’s “more personal“ than that? There are a number of protected characteristics and without any indication that any of those are relevant, no one here can possibly say that there are grounds for a (presumably grievance) hearing on “discrimination”, just because the OP has been told she can’t work at home even though others do.
If there is reason to believe that is because of her sex, ethnicity, sexuality or another protected characteristic, then fine, raise a grievance citing discrimination.
But if it’s nothing to do with anything like that, the OP might feel it’s unfair, but yelling “discrimination” definitely won’t help her.
OP did you ask why the others are able to wfh 1 days and not you? Are they 5 days a week therefore still having 4 days in the office the same as you?
What’s “more personal“ than that?
More personal would be letting other women do it but not this specific woman. That's specific and extremely personal, and not based on being female.
"Discrimination isn't just based on gender. It can be much more personal than that."
No, it can't. To be discrimination, the behaviour has to stem from the discriminated person having a protected characteristic. A recent court case held that a vegetarian was not discriminated against because vegetarianism isn't a protected characteristic.
It is perfectly legal to have some people on a working arrangement but to say 'no more' because it isn't workable. E.g. 3 workers have a Monday to Thursday contract, then a 4th requests the same and is told that Fridays must be covered so it isn't possible.
Maybe speak with an employment solicitor. Could this be constructive dismissal of you have to leave the job? You could threaten it and say you'll see them at an employment tribunal if they fail to agree to your reasonable flexible working request. I can't see how it's fair that you have to go back to them with another suggestion when you've already given them an option with your hours.
OP, you should make a statutory request for flexible working. There is a process you should follow for doing this.
I also agree with the PP who said that if you have a partner maybe he could do some of the drop offs and pick ups?
Make a formal written request for flexible working and ask for it to be dealt with under their flexible working policy.
That means everything gets written down and they must give a business reason for saying no and you have a right if appeal.
That said the ball is in your court to come up with other solutions. It's up to you to make suggestions as to how this can work for the business. Not just for you.
Others being able to work from home does not set a precedent for you. But if your employer says no to this they must explain why they can and you can't.
”More personal would be letting other women do it but not this specific woman. That's specific and extremely personal, and not based on being female.”
Ok, so if you feel that is ‘discrimination’ (as opposed to unfairness) and warrants a ‘hearing’, which protected characteristic do you feel that is based on?
Your 28 hours at the moment look to be 4 7.5 hour days so include 30mins a day for lunch which means 7 hours of work.
The hours you've suggested don't add up to the same?
10 to 4.30 is only 6.5 hours so 6 hours of work after 30 mins of lunch. (So 3 days in the office is 18 hours)
Your suggested day from home is 9 to 6 - so 9 hours or 8.5 after a 30 minute break.
So in total it's 26.5 and you are still 1.5 hours down on your 28 hours contractual.
I know it's not what you've asked but it won't help your request for flexible working if your suggested hours don't meet your contracted hours.
Another saying ask to spread your hours over 5 days and then there is no issue for childcare.
There are childcare solutions that will allow you to do this. You just don't want to use them. I don't think there is much you can do. The business is allowed to assess whether it works to have you working from home. Just because others do doesn't mean you also can. They got in there first and the business may not be able to sustain another person away from the office.
Do the other 3 work the same days as you in the workplace? Or are they spread over the week. Perhaps there may be an issue of cover. If so could you change days at work and work from home about with others. Or spread hours over 5 days. Your employer should give you a reason why you can't be accommodated.
This is the definition of discrimination (if these 3 other women do the same job).
Same requirements (childcare)
Yet 3 are allowed to work a day from home and 1 is not- without reason.
Discrimination isn’t just about gender, age, ethnicity...etc
Discrimination is the unequal treatment of employees - Either with no clear reason, or a reason involving a protected characteristic.
Sympathies - the distance might be small but the traffic round that area means that it may as well be 30 miles!