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Request reduce hours vebally agreed. Now refused. what do I do ?

(27 Posts)
Oblomov Sun 30-Aug-09 05:40:51

I feel really stupid. But is it worth fighting ? especially in this climate, when I am just grateful of a job.
I am on mat leave. Due back after ds2 end october.
worked at this co for 2 years.
Phone my line manager. ask for meeting. tell him its to discuss reducing my days from 2.5 to 2.
Go to meeting. he agrees it. I ask what happens now. he says 'you will need to put it in writing, but I agree it.
I tell him that the nursery are asking me to confirm my days and ask if he is saying that I can tell them today , to lose then 1/2 day. He says, yes, he agrees that.
Off I go.
I pick up ds2 from his taster session at nursery and a;; excited tell them that I dpn't need the 2.5 days, I only need 2.
I write letter to him, cc HR, request reduce 2.5 down to 2. From 20 down to 15. I also ask to start back early, on oct 6th, instead of oct 29th - which he had also agreed. and I asked for childcare vouchers to be set up again.
I get back from holiday and am shocked to get letter from HR refusing request.
I ring nursery, but they can not guarantee 2.5 days now. Only my 2.
I feel so stupid. I accepted his verbal agreement. I asked him 3 times and he said it was agreed.
The 3 reasons they give for refusing are weak.
They say my work can not be given to any other accounts staff because they have defined roles and can not assimilate extra work.
This is true. But there will have to be some re-organisation. Becasue my old job is basically redundant. Which makes me fear I can't push too hard on this, because else they will just make me redundant.
I was employed to do the accounts for a number of sister companies. But just before I left , on mat leave, they were incorporated.
My maternity leave cover, they hired a qualified accountant, I am only part-qualified. And she is working 37.5 hours not my 20. They were always understaffed.
So when I do return, be it for 20 or 15, work will need to be re-allocated to me.
The letter says, after consideration..... refused. But it doesn't take into account that he had already agreed all my requests.
And is it even worth appealing ?

Oblomov Sun 30-Aug-09 10:12:03


Ceebee74 Sun 30-Aug-09 20:20:28

Obs - have a look at this thread as it is a similar situation to yours so the advice is probably relevant.

Firstly, as your request and initial agreement with your manager wasn't done through the official 'flexible working request' procedure (i.e. put in writing as per the ACAS guidelines), it is unlikely to count. Your letter will have counted as the official request and, as such, has been considered and rejected. However, your employers also haven't followed the procedure as, upon receipt of your request, they should have arranged a meeting with yourself and your manager to discuss it and try and reach a mutually agreeable solution - which obviously they haven't done.

So, my advice is to contact HR and ask them to arrange a meeting (which they should have done anyway) to discuss it further - but you will need to go prepared with solutions to their arguments as to why it can't be done.

Hth - if you need any more info, you know where I am wink

Oblomov Mon 31-Aug-09 12:16:29

Thank you Ceebee. I had already looked at that thread. I will give it some thought.
I am stuffed though, becasue currently the nursery can only offer me that 1/2 a day, up until christmas. Things may change, but I have no guarantees.

Oblomov Mon 31-Aug-09 12:37:53

By the way ceebee, when you say the first thing they should have done, is arrange a meeting to find solution, is that just YOUR companies guidelines ? based on ACAS, or it that for every company ?
I only ask because everyone, who I know of, who has ever applied to our co, never gets an initial meeting. It is always denied. Then, depends on if the person decides to appeal.

Oblomov Mon 31-Aug-09 12:44:22

Plus, what do YOU think I should do ?
I have fluffed it here. They never even confirmed my earlier start date. or my request for childcare vouchers to start agin.
When I phoned my manager on friday, after getting the letter, to say "you agreed, I cancelled the nursery", he said speak to HR.
I don't want to get him into trouble or cause bad feeling, becuase I have to work for this guy.
But have not had my start day confirmed. And I need to tell them that come december, I may not be able to work the extra half day anyway. because HE confirmed I could cancel nursery.

I am screwed aren't I ?
I can't win here. They will never agree to it anyway, I am sure. But I can't work what they are asking. And my childcare arrangements are not their concern. But I only changed it because he said I could. Stupid with hindsight, now.

What a mess, I have got myself into.
And I can't see any way it will be resolved amicably.

Ceebee74 Mon 31-Aug-09 20:19:09

Obs - [ here]] is an ACAS leaflet which outlines clearly what you are required to do and what your employer is required to do.

Your employer should arrange a meeting with yourself (plus you have the right to be accompanied by a colleague/union rep) within 28 days of receiving your request - the only exception to this is if they are happy to agree it from the outset. As this is not the case with your application, they need to have a meeting with you to discuss your application. You also have the right to appeal once they let you know their decision.

I really think you need to ring HR and confirm you have received their letter but that you would like to have the meeting with themselves and your manager to discuss it - as you are entitled to. That is the only way forward that I can see - at least they can then provide you with their justification for rejecting your application and give you the opportunity to provide solutions.

If you just accept their letter and don't have a meeting, you may be missing an opportunity to reach a compromise with them. You are right that childcare is not their problem but they may not realise that your manager previously agreed it and you made your plans accordingly.

I know a meeting is probably the last thing you want to do but I think the situation needs an open discussion which you are entitled to.


Ceebee74 Mon 31-Aug-09 20:19:44

Oops here is the link again blush

flowerybeanbag Tue 01-Sep-09 09:57:56

Another way of addressing it would be from the point of view that you've already had your meeting, your request has already been agreed and you were awaiting written confirmation. I might be inclined to do that rather than say you haven't had your meeting yet, because that implies that it's reasonable for the process of consideration to start again. I'd probably prefer to emphasise that appropriate consideration and discussion has already taken place resulting in agreement.

I would write to appeal the decision on several grounds, firstly anything procedural they didn't follow, including reasons given for refusal, but also emphasising that the person best-placed to make a decision about whether your request can be accommodated and whether there are any genuine business grounds for refusing is obviously your line manager, who, after a meeting to discuss the request and how it might work, agreed it. HR are not in a position to make that decision.

Your manager advised you to put the request in writing to make sure you get the written confirmation of his agreement, but rather than the written confirmation you expected, you got a letter from HR refusing it, which shocked you.

You should also be prepared with counter-arguments as to why the reasons they give are not valid. Firstly there's obviously the fact that your manager clearly thinks there is no problem. Secondly, if, as you say, your job is basically redundant, then the argument that you have too much work to do that can't be given to anyone else can't be right. If they really don't need you at all, in your opinion, then you ought to be able to demonstrate quite easily how a slight reorganisation could accommodate a few hours less a week, which is all you are talking about. Obviously I don't think you should say you are basically redundant grin, but I'm just pointing out that if that is the case in your own opinion, it ought to be fairly easy to demonstrate how it could work, which is the whole point.

I think your manager is being rubbish, ought to take some responsibility for his decision making and stand up for you. It's ludicrous to think HR are the best people to make a decision, and yes they may have pointed out x, y and z issues that he may not have considered when agreeing your request, so in fact it might be the 'right' decision as far as they are concerned, but it's pathetic him taking no responsibility. Either he agrees with HR's opinion, in which case he should be apologising to you and acknowledging that, or he disagrees in which case he ought to be standing up to them. My opinion is they've probably pointed out some issues, and on reflection he agrees, but would prefer to completely blame them rather than have you cross with him.

Oblomov Tue 01-Sep-09 12:47:59

I rang the HR manager:

"your line manager said he didn't agree to anything"
"I don't know what was said in the meeting"
"but you've had your meeting"
"we have taken legal advice"
"I suggest you follow the appeals process"
In the end HR manager agrred to arrange another meeting. Am awaiting him to get back to me.

I rang my line manager ( prob shouldn't have)
He said " it was just a discussion"

So, HR and line manager are saying different things. Line manager says it was just a discussion, prior to my formal letter.

HR says I have had the meeting I was entlitled to.

I asked for another meeting. But when I spoke to dh , he said why bother ? to have a slanging match of " you said this and i said that"
I am only digging myself deeper.

Dh says that I don't argue very well and will only cry and If i go to a meeting they will steamroller me.
And on top of this I forgot to mention that they hadn't even confirmed my new/earlier start date and the childcare vouchers.

This is just getting worse.

Oblomov Tue 01-Sep-09 12:52:42

Line manager said " since our meeting things have changed."
Parent co has introduced new requiremments.

Oh so now we are getting to the crux of it. He says o.k. Prob gets told off by Hr for doing so. Meanwhile, Parent co introduces new reporting requirements. My request is denied.

Flowery , thank you for your post . Am taking it all in. Unfortunately I had already rang them before I saw your post.

Ceebee74 Tue 01-Sep-09 13:03:04

Obs - that is crap sad

It sounds like they are coming from the angle Flowery has suggested by saying your initial meeting was the 'meeting' (were you asked by your line manager if you wanted a colleague in with you at that meeting??)

If they have taken legal advice, I guess they are quite confident that they are in the 'right' with this but any agreement to change your working hours is a permanent contract change and they can't change it as and when they feel like it - I guess the crux of the matter is whether your manager's verbal agreement is enforceable in this.

I think, if you are likely to get emotional in the meeting, then you really need to get a colleague to come in with you - is there anyone else who you trust to help and support you? Another option may be for you to seek legal advice aswell - is this possible?

Unfortunately I don't think is going to do any favours to your working relationship with your manager sad - I suspect Flowery is right that your manager agreed it without proper authorisation/deliberation and has had his wrist slapped by HR/someone more senior.

Oblomov Tue 01-Sep-09 13:44:57

Refer to your letter re proposed return to work.
As promised during your discussion with him, your line manager has considered your request flex working and to adjust your working time. However after careful consid, I regret unable accomodate proposed reduction hours :

1) detrimental effect co ability meet parent co demands
2)co not able reorganise work amiong existing staff as small finance team defined roles does not have capacity assimilate extra work
3) detrimental impact quality service to parent , internal clients, customers and suppliers.

None of thei really matters now. Facts are I no longer have nursery place due to instruction from line manager.

Tasks/role will have to be re-allocated to me from carol, my full time mat cover. whether they keep her is neither here nor there. but what is the prob reallocating 20 hours or 15 hours. is my thinking. but obviously not theirs. I can not fathom what their reasons are.

But they are not going to just give and say , yes o.k. we suddenly agree it. are they.

so whats the point ?

dh says don't go to the meeting on thursday ( one of the lovely hr ladies) has just rung to say arranged meeting on thurs 11am.
He says send e-mail with facts only ie I followed instruction to cancel nursery. and see what they do with that.

Oblomov Tue 01-Sep-09 13:58:52

ceebee, when I rang to ask for appointment he asked me if i wanted hr there. "I said I didn't mind either way. we can talk freely, but if you want then that is fine. or if you need to check legal side with them prior to meeting, please do so" - or that kind of thing.

Oblomov Wed 02-Sep-09 10:40:44

I am working on my letter. would you mind perusing it before I send it. I am not the most eloquent wink

Oblomov Wed 02-Sep-09 11:04:49

oh by the way that was to flowery and ceebee.
I assume that you would both find it a compliment , rather than a cheek to cut and paste and use some of your eloquent comments/suggestions as part of my letter ? wink Obs asks cheekily.

Oblomov Wed 02-Sep-09 12:07:42

Message withdrawn

Oblomov Wed 02-Sep-09 12:09:48

So there it is. Only a rough copy. Like I said eloquency is not my best strength.
Please feel free to totally rip it to shreds, if you think appropriate. And I really mean that. All advice. anything to add or cut out completely, or re-phrase in an eloquent not confrontationl way, would be gratefully received.

flowerybeanbag Thu 03-Sep-09 10:20:12

That looks fine Oblomov. I would suggest being more specific about the legal requirements for flexible working. Directgove has a very clear list of what your employer must do, so make sure you point all those things they did not do out.

I would also separate out the grounds for appeal into numbered sections. You have 3 grounds, firstly that the request was agreed, secondly that they didn't follow x,y,z procedural requirement, and thirdly that it actually is possible for your request to be accommodated.

notwavingjustironing Thu 03-Sep-09 10:25:49

Just a thought, you might want to get the post referring to your boss by name removed in a short while when you have finished, you don't want someone to read it and connect it with you.

Not trying to interfere but wouldn't want you to get into trouble!

Oblomov Thu 03-Sep-09 15:56:46

Thank you very much Flowery. I have made some minor adjustemnts, as you suggested. And the leet is SENT. Hoorah.

Notwaving, How did I miss thata? I have had it deleted. Thanks for spotting that.

Oblomov Thu 03-Sep-09 15:57:34

letter is sent.

Ceebee74 Thu 03-Sep-09 19:34:49

Obs - just seen this and i guess I have missed the letter - sorry! I am sure it was good and Flowery will have given you some good advice.

Will keep my fingers crossed for you - make sure you keep me updated smile

Oblomov Mon 14-Sep-09 13:30:28

Calling Flowerybeanbag.
I have had a letter from HR. I need some advice. Can I e-mail you please ?

flowerybeanbag Mon 14-Sep-09 14:10:18

No problem, email address is on profile

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