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Are my PT arrangements now automatically permanent?

(4 Posts)
OrangeChicken Tue 18-Aug-09 23:37:05

Sorry just posted this in Going Back to Work by accident so apologies if anyone sees this twice!! Hello, am hoping somebody with a bit of experience (FloweryBeanBag??!) will be able to help me out here...

I returned to work from maternity leave 4 months ago. My employer didn't want me to return PT and therefore only agreed to my doing so on a temporary "let's wait and see" basis. They sent me an amendment to my contract, which I signed, saying that the PT arrangements would be subject to formal review after 3 months and at any time before that the firm (law firm, am solicitor) could end the PT arrangements if they felt they weren't working out.

Right ... despite a lot of negativity from the partner I work for ... my arrangements have not been challenged, and the 3 month review has not taken place ... in fact as I said I have been back 4 months now.

I have just been told that I am to have an appraisal within the next 6 weeks but noone has mentioned this being the formal PT review meeting - I am guessing in reality it will be brought up by then.

I have kept mum on the subject for fear of losing what I have. I also figured if the 3 months came and went and the PT arrangements continued unchallenged that it would mean that they had become permanent... is this the case??

And if not do I have any kind of argument IF they do try and make me return to FT??

Thanks so much for any advice...

AnTeallach Wed 19-Aug-09 00:08:53

All I can say is good luck! My recent experience was a bit different. I had to do two 3 month trial periods to reduce from 35 to 32 hrs p/w, which was then formalised by a variation to my contract (just written in a letter) under the organisation's Flexible Working Policy, closely modelled on the legislation. Despite the change thus being made permanent, no fewer than 4 managers at 3 different levels within the organisation were trying to force me back to full-time within 3 months, despite the fact I was still carrying a full-time workload and there had never been an issue about me not doing the job! I fought hard against this - it would have been a breach of contract - but I've since left, partly because of this, but also for other reasons - all of them prejudicial to me as a mother.

I found the ACAS website very useful, as was their helpline. They can't give definitive answers, but can really help with guidance and give you a push in the right direction. I would try them or your local CAB. Mine surprised me by being very good on employment issues. Very best of luck.

TheYearOfTheCat Wed 19-Aug-09 01:05:21

I was in a very similar situation to you - my boss agreed to PT working subject to 3 month review. I really stressed over it, as just before the 3 month period, there were substantial changes to the resourcing of my team, which I perceived as my boss trying to force my hand into returning to FT hours. . .

(and thank-you flowery for your advice at the time smile)

Anyway 3 months came and went, my review was due, and I said nothing. I figured that if PT working was causing such an obstacle to me performing in my role, someone would have raised it with me, and the longer that went on without it being raised, the less of an issue could be made of it. I am still working my PT hours.

I can't advise on the legal / HR side, but I would start to prepare your arguments as to why it is in their benefit to have you working PT - you probably work harder (and possibly longer if you count home working), take fewer breaks, it is a temporary situation (in the great scheme of a lifelong career), by retaining you, they retain your corporate knowledge and benefit from continuity, it would cost more to lose you and have to recruit and train a replacement (who has no proven track record and is therefore a risk) etc etc. Also make sure you have recorded loads of evidence of strong performance.

Good luck

Having said that, I still work well in excess of the hours I am paid, because I feel I need to deliver.

TheYearOfTheCat Wed 19-Aug-09 01:27:16

Sorry, I meant to also mention, I would start to plan alternative solutions as well, if they insist that your post needs to be done on a FT basis - can it be done on a flexible basis? - for example, having 1 day off mid-week, and working Saturday instead? Can you do some home working?

I'm not suggesting this should be an acceptable solution, but if you are forced into a corner, you need some alternatives to suggest.

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