Advanced search

mumsnet work

Find the perfect family friendly job

Please help - NHS thinks it's exempt from employment law

(16 Posts)
fledtoscotland Tue 13-Jan-09 22:47:21

i put in my application for flexible working back on the 2nd november. am a staff nurse and have asked for set days

anyway, had a meeting with a head boss today and they said that they are exempt from the law about changing your contract because they will offer me their own version. basically they have said they will offer me set days on an 8 week basis (may change, may not depending on my manager whim) which isnt really suitable as DH works shifts as well and i need to arrange childcare. we have no family within a 500mile radius so we are dependent on nursery care hence set days is essential.

the boss said she has had advice from HR and they have said that she should put it in writing to me and for me to sign it and that's their form of a contract but should i be off sick at all, it will be revoked.

what do i do now? are the NHS really exempt from the BERR's flexible working laws?

the RCN (my union) have been really helpful but said that they can only really get involved if my boss puts it in writing that they are refusing my request & my boss said she isnt actually refusing the request as she is agreeing to flexible working to an extent.


lou031205 Tue 13-Jan-09 23:07:30

I am not completely sure, but any business has the right to refuse on sound business grounds. NHS generally would be able to cite 24/7 nature of care & it would be down to you to show that the fixed hours can be accomodated without detriment.

Northernlurker Tue 13-Jan-09 23:11:11

Are you a ward nurse? If so I'm sorry but I think what they're offering is fair enough. Your childcare dilema - with which I am fully in sympathy as I am in a similar position - is not their problem. Covering the shifts is their concern. Are they exempting you from nights and weekends?
I think you need to look foe another job tbh. Flexible working is great but not every job can be as flexible as we would like. Is there anybody in your area doing fixed days atm?

fledtoscotland Tue 13-Jan-09 23:18:54

I know about the business needs and requesting that i work one day shift, one night shift and one weekend shift. they have agreed that those shifts are acceptable so thats not the issue.

they just wont commit themselves to making it a contract change by saying that the NHS doesnt have to comply with legislation hmm i know the BERR thing can be turned down on business needs but that isnt the issue. they arent turning it down because of the needs of the ward, in fact they arent really turning it down at all but they wont make it a formal arrangement.

also i had a 13week trial period before i went on mat leave and no objections were raised so i have just asked for this to be made a permenant thing

morocco Tue 13-Jan-09 23:19:15

this is not exactly answering your question but don't despair of finding flexible childcare. I know a couple of nurses who've found friends who are able to offer flexible childminding based on similar shift patterns. there are flexible childminders out there so it's worth looking

fledtoscotland Tue 13-Jan-09 23:22:45

thanks morocco - have already been down that route and the most flexible i can find around here is care until 7pm (DH doesnt finish until after 9pm) his employer is being flexible allowing him to finish at 6pm when i'm working and he will make it up on a saturday morning when i'm off.

its because of the problems with childcare i had the trial period last year. its only become a problem now i want to make it permanent and they arent even making an issue out of the days.

i dont really want to have to leave my job (i;m the main income earner) esp in this job market and the boss has said that she doesnt want me to go.

badassmarthafocker Tue 13-Jan-09 23:27:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fledtoscotland Tue 13-Jan-09 23:34:06

i dont know anything about work life balance BAMF? is it part of the BERR flex working policy.

it just seem really unfair that on one hand they are saying "yes thats fine to get set days" but then on the other they are saying that its providing i'm a "good girl" and dont go off sick (DS2 has a heart prob so they know that i may need time off in the future if he has surgery)

i also dont get why if it works for 8 weeks they would want to change it. they will have a night and a weekend day shift covered which are the bad ones in our ward as we have lots of young nurses with social lives.

ShinyPinkShoes Tue 13-Jan-09 23:35:37

In wouldn't completely trust what they are saying.

In your position I would call ACAS for some impartial advice about what they have said.

badassmarthafocker Tue 13-Jan-09 23:50:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

badassmarthafocker Tue 13-Jan-09 23:52:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fledtoscotland Wed 14-Jan-09 00:01:32

am just looking at the acas website. there's nothing there about them being exempt from the legislation.

i could understand if they were turning my request down under one of the reasons listed but its not even that. they just think that because its the NHS they dont have to comply with the law. its really odd and i have said to the boss that i was going to get legal advice.

will call acas in the morning.


ilovelovemydog Wed 14-Jan-09 00:03:00

First of all, an employer cannot deny you your statutory rights, and that would include sickness entitlement. I don't understand why this would be a factor? hmm

What's tricky about your situation is that flexible working seems to be geared around sociable hours or 09:00 - 5:00.

It sounds as if your boss either doesn't understand the legislation or is not a great communicator. You have the right to request flexible hours. That he is offering you his own version may be his way of saying that it is being tailored to your circumstances as a shift worker?

What he is offering you is a change of terms and conditions. And what your union is saying is that they won't get involved until the manager puts something in writing.

So, don't agree with what is being proposed, but ask for a copy. Say you want to run it by your union rep and take it from there.

ilovelovemydog Wed 14-Jan-09 00:05:36

No, of course the NHS isn't exempt from the legslation!

flowerybeanbag Wed 14-Jan-09 08:49:05

No the NHS is not exempt from legislation. They will have a formal flexible working policy and that policy will be within the legislation.

I assume you have put your request in in line with the policy they have? I would imagine the next step in the policy is being formally invited to a meeting to discuss it.

It sounds as though this meeting with your boss is not part of the formal procedure but a separate meeting at which he is offering you a compromise, an alternative. You don't have to accept, and can insist that your original request is dealt with properly.

My advice would be to do that, push it through the correct procedure and see how you get on. It might be refused on one or more of the business grounds allowed, and in that case you can appeal it. If you appeal it you can outline your boss's behaviour in that appeal, alternatively you can make a complaint separately about that.

i would also advise that you speak to HR. I expect your boss has asked them for advice without giving all of the facts. If he asked them about how to make a change to terms and conditions. they would have said put it in writing and get you to sign, but it sounds as though he's not given all the information.

cheshirekitty Sun 18-Jan-09 17:53:03

Have you got an Improving Working Lives advisor in your trust?

You may have to look for jobs outside of the ward environment ie community, or outpatients.

Sometimes the NHS sucks. What they have proposed is blackmail, and is a form of bullying ie be a good girl and you can have your hours. Ask your manager about the bullying policy and see what happens.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: