Request to Reduce Hours?

(29 Posts)
Arsenal123 Sun 14-Feb-21 09:44:44

Hello.

I recently spoke to my boss about the prospect of reducing my hours (effectively dropping a day). I generally feel worn out and stressed during work. I want to partake in more hobbies and focus on my health and fitness. Their answer in short was that it would not be possible.

I work in a team of 30, of which 18 are part time. The issue is that the service depends on the 12 full time employees to run effectively (we're desperately short on Mondays and Fridays). Compounding the problem, 4 full time employees are leaving by June 2021. Only one person has been recruited to offset this.

One of the employees leaving wanted to change their working hours and had a request rejected (they wanted to do 4 long days). Work said it would increase their risk of RSI and wouldn't work with the rota (despite other employees working these hours). Fair enough.

Most of the part-time employees are older than myself / those leaving and have been there for much longer. Some have histories of back/shoulder injuries, had children to look after previously (now grown up) etc. They do the same job but are paid more due to older contracts (if they were full-time there would be a significant income tax implication).

A couple of colleagues my age have been granted part time hours but they have children or have joined our team on the condition that they will do e.g. 3 days. These tend to pick up at least one day a week overtime at bank rate or work privately on the side.

Aside from joining the exodus, is there anything I can do to improve my chances of the request being taken seriously.

OP’s posts: |
LouiseTrees Sun 14-Feb-21 09:56:47

Could you take a day other than a Monday or a Friday off? Was that spelled put in the request?

Lightningcrops Sun 14-Feb-21 10:01:47

Unfortunately although they have to consider requests, there is no formula for them having to agree them, there isn't a level of reason that's considered acceptable.

As they will be concerned on the effect on the business, the best thing to do would be to pull together some ideas about how it would be workable without having a deteminetal affect to the team. As PP has said, highlight if you are willing to take a day off besides Monday and Friday, they tend to be the most awkward in many ways as often if others are taking annual leave, it is more likely to be for a long weekend than a random weekday. The rest is a tricky balance between trying to 'prove' it could work, without it coming across that you don't have enough work now, hah.

Have you read through company policy on requests and taken it all in?

Arsenal123 Sun 14-Feb-21 10:29:33

I'm willing to take any day off. I should point out that it's a within the NHS. Over time is constantly available and work is assigned on any additional days you can offer 7 days a week between the hours of 8 am - 5pm.

OP’s posts: |
flowery Sun 14-Feb-21 10:30:42

Have you got any reason to think it wasn’t “taken seriously”?

From what you describe, it doesn’t sound possible tbh, unless they recruit more staff.

Aprilx Sun 14-Feb-21 10:34:47

Did you make a formal flexible working request?

Arsenal123 Sun 14-Feb-21 10:36:26

I haven't submitted a formal request yet but I wanted to gather information first.

I asked my manager informally who said it would not be possible.

Unfortunately, I think I would have to leave in order to achieve the reduction in hours as some of my colleagues have.

I am hoping to have children so would also be looking to drop an additional day within the next 3 years.

OP’s posts: |
NewIdeasToday Sun 14-Feb-21 10:42:46

It sounds like your manager already has a difficult time balancing staff rotas.

And your messages are all about what you want. And nothing about what the business area needs.

So it’s not really surprising that your request was turned down.

Soontobe60 Sun 14-Feb-21 10:47:50

You need to state your case and how this would benefit your employer. I would ask for a temporary change and make it clear that you are willing to drop any day with 1 week’s notice each week, rather than it being set in stone.

Arsenal123 Sun 14-Feb-21 10:51:33

Yes - but employees also leave for many reasons (be they health, conditions, money, flexibility).

You don't know me or how much of my personal struggles I choose to disclose in a post. I have to look after my own physical and mental health or else I cannot meet any of the 'business area needs'.

OP’s posts: |
Aprilx Sun 14-Feb-21 11:00:12

Arsenal123

I haven't submitted a formal request yet but I wanted to gather information first.

I asked my manager informally who said it would not be possible.

Unfortunately, I think I would have to leave in order to achieve the reduction in hours as some of my colleagues have.

I am hoping to have children so would also be looking to drop an additional day within the next 3 years.

At least once you have done the formal request you will get a formal response to it and the manager will need to formally provide a business reason for turning it down.

I agree with PP, that you should include suggestions of how the business could deal with the impacts of the change and any benefits if there are any. On the other hand, there is no need to go into the reason you are making the request, as you don’t have to have a reason.

Unfortunately, from what you have said, there is a good chance it will be turned down but at least some consideration will have to be given and it won’t be dismissed out of hand.

Aprilx Sun 14-Feb-21 11:01:15

*sorry for over use of the word formal. ☺️

Flickoffboris Sun 14-Feb-21 11:02:54

What's your job OP? I'm always amazed that the NHS struggles so much with recruitment and retention, but yet declines flexible working requests so easily (physio here).

Redruby2020 Sun 14-Feb-21 12:03:47

Lightningcrops

Unfortunately although they have to consider requests, there is no formula for them having to agree them, there isn't a level of reason that's considered acceptable.

As they will be concerned on the effect on the business, the best thing to do would be to pull together some ideas about how it would be workable without having a deteminetal affect to the team. As PP has said, highlight if you are willing to take a day off besides Monday and Friday, they tend to be the most awkward in many ways as often if others are taking annual leave, it is more likely to be for a long weekend than a random weekday. The rest is a tricky balance between trying to 'prove' it could work, without it coming across that you don't have enough work now, hah.

Have you read through company policy on requests and taken it all in?


Yes! I was just going to say the same, as I had done a request to change my hours when I was in my last job. If you look up about it all and how to put a letter together, it might help, and yes focusing on what it might do for the employer rather than yourself is pretty much most employers key interest and concern! So you have to tell them what they want to hear.

Lightningcrops Sun 14-Feb-21 12:57:51

As it's the NHS, definitely do go the formal route, along the way managers will have to provide more robust reasons for refusing, and it will all be documented and will go through a dept like HR as well. No guarantee of course still, but they have to provide more than just nah it won't be possible, so much more chance.

There actually seems a lot of guidance online, if you Google it, also worth reading about the guidance for managers and see what they are looking out for. Unfortunately there is an element of knowing the system to raise your chances of success.

Crossing my fingers for you OP!

Lightningcrops Sun 14-Feb-21 13:00:12

You can also reapply every 12 months and it has to be considered, obviously hopefully that won't be needed, but worth remembering if it is the case that you want to reduce within the next few years.

3littlemonkeys82 Sun 14-Feb-21 13:09:00

As an ongoing point in the overall nhs improvement plan there are guidelines available to assist managers to accommodate flexible working. I believe the NHS flex for all plan goes live in september. Might be worth having a look through and using points from that in your application.

I have managed to secure reduced hours in my trust by pointing them towards the improving working lives principles that they are signed up to. Worth checking if your trust are also signed up.

Margaritatime Sun 14-Feb-21 13:34:23

Do a formal request and ask for your non- working day to be either Tue, Wed or Thu. State you will be flexible over non-working day if given notice. Also state you would be willing to do a 3 month trial so both parties can test it out.
Then set out how you fell this working pattern benefits the team/business e.g. you will be working Mon and Fri etc.

ritzbiscuits Sun 14-Feb-21 13:49:19

My DH works for the NHS and had issues initially with getting part time hours once we had children. At one point he had put in a formal request and his manager announced in the kitchen that it would be rejected. A day later she felt the full force of policy coming to get her!

I would suggest you don't talk further to your manager about this until it's in writing and you can follow the formal route. Then everything has to be done to the letter and your request considered properly.

Agree with requesting 4 days per week with a named day off Tues/Weds/Thurs to benefit the 'needs of the service'. I personally wouldn't show all your cards at once by offering for this day to be flexible each week. Typical negotiating technique not to give your best offer first. If they say no to the request to the above, you could go back to say - you'd be flexible on the day given x weeks notice/per rota.

You do need to work your request about how it's beneficial for the business rather than yourself, though given your situation, it sounds like you would be more healthy/productive working 4 days per week, than be worn out 5 days per week.

If it doesn't work out, I'd start looking for a role in another team/department. You don't say what role you do, though given NHS shortages, hopefully you can move role and agree part time from the start.

Good luck, I hope it works out for you.

ritzbiscuits Sun 14-Feb-21 14:04:00

Me again! I've just spoken to my DH about this and has read your initial post.

He said given your role is making you stressed, he said you should go off sick with mental health issues. Self certify for a week and then go to the GP to formally get signed off for a further week or two.

When you return you need to request that they need to make reasonable adjustments to support you, and that you want to do 4 days per week to make work manageable.

At this point they will know that if they don't grant it, that you are at high risk of going off for 6 months on full pay, so are very likely to grant it.

He says you unfortunately need to play the system to get what you want. Don't feel bad about it, this is what happens when managers don't support their workers properly.

Hope his view helps!

Yellowfiledredfilled Sun 14-Feb-21 15:05:46

ritzbiscuits

Me again! I've just spoken to my DH about this and has read your initial post.

He said given your role is making you stressed, he said you should go off sick with mental health issues. Self certify for a week and then go to the GP to formally get signed off for a further week or two.

When you return you need to request that they need to make reasonable adjustments to support you, and that you want to do 4 days per week to make work manageable.

At this point they will know that if they don't grant it, that you are at high risk of going off for 6 months on full pay, so are very likely to grant it.

He says you unfortunately need to play the system to get what you want. Don't feel bad about it, this is what happens when managers don't support their workers properly.

Hope his view helps!

Such a depressing post. No wonder the NHS is on its knees.

ritzbiscuits Sun 14-Feb-21 15:42:30

@Yellowfiledredfilled I know it's awful. I think this past year has pushed him over the edge. He always knew how undervalued they are and for him there are systemic issues at his place with poor management, but it's really brought it home this year by seeing how well my company treat me. My work are bending over backwards to make flexible and home working work, been extremely generous with additional paid parental leave for all employees and we have regular checks on our mental health. They literally can't do any more for me.

In contrast NHS workers are on their knees and are just expected to give more all the time. They have nothing left to give. The only reason he stays is for his pension, that's it.

Yellowfiledredfilled Sun 14-Feb-21 16:24:42

ritzbiscuits

*@Yellowfiledredfilled* I know it's awful. I think this past year has pushed him over the edge. He always knew how undervalued they are and for him there are systemic issues at his place with poor management, but it's really brought it home this year by seeing how well my company treat me. My work are bending over backwards to make flexible and home working work, been extremely generous with additional paid parental leave for all employees and we have regular checks on our mental health. They literally can't do any more for me.

In contrast NHS workers are on their knees and are just expected to give more all the time. They have nothing left to give. The only reason he stays is for his pension, that's it.

Staff take 3 weeks off on sick leave to get their own way with flexible working requests, threaten to take 6 months off on full pay - you think that's ok? I hope your dh does not work with in patient care if he is only staying for his pension. I don't condone treating employees poorly but business are not there to serve their employees

WednesdayalltheWay Sun 14-Feb-21 16:46:13

@Yellow
The advice was given because the OP said work is making her sick. Work should not make us sick and her employer is indicating they will ignore her reasonable request of a way to sort it (a way that impacts her financially)

HoldontoOneMoreDay Sun 14-Feb-21 16:52:38

When you ask a manager something informally (unless they're a brilliant manager) their first response is going to be 'nah, ballache, I'm saying no.'

So don't let the first response you were given put you off.

Get hold of the flexible working policy, go through it with a fine toothcomb, then put your request formally. Echo wording in the policy - for eg its common now to have something about flexible working is available to all staff for whatever reason, not just reserved for parents - make sure you reflect that in your request. If you can also show how to mitigate the impact on the service, so much the better.

However be aware that they only have to consider it, they don't have to grant it.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in