Requesting reduced hours: is 'setting a precedent' a valid reason for employer to refuse

(19 Posts)
smallvoice Tue 04-Oct-05 20:43:05

Hi - I want to reduce my hours minimally from 40 to 35 hours. There are no reasons attached to my individual job which would make this unworkable. I broached the subject with my boss who though very supportive said he didn't think it would be acceptable to HR because it would be setting a precedent company wide. Is this a valid reason for refusal ? I can't find it listed as a 'business ground for refusal' on the dti site.

Also he said that if it was accepted it would probably come at a far greater cost than just a 10% reduction in salary...ie my bonuses, which are 'discretionary' and related to company profits not personal performance would be renegotiated down, so pro-rata I would be receiving less than other managers working a full 40 hours. Can they legally do this too ? My boss mentioned precedent again ie. that if they accepted my request because I was a valuable member of staff, HR would want to make the terms sufficiently harsh to discourage others from requesting the same.

If it was up to my boss, who is very family orientated, it wouldn't be a problem but we have the least people orientated HR director that you can possibly imagine.

Does anyone have experience of either of these situations/employers arguments ?

Any input would be great.

OP’s posts: |
MassacreOHara Tue 04-Oct-05 20:54:11

Not valid under the flexible working laws.

They have to prove why they can't accomodate you

Pinotmum Tue 04-Oct-05 20:56:04

I would ask for HR to officially consider this. When I worked in HR this was never a valid reason - all cases were considered on an individual basis.

morningpaper Tue 04-Oct-05 20:57:08

The LAW has already set a precedent. They have to comply with that.

muppet73 Tue 04-Oct-05 21:02:03

smallvoice there is a govt website that has info on flexible working and it has a list of acceptable business reasons - I think if you showed HR you had knowledge of what a business reason was they would listen to you straight away!! Also I dont know what your boss is like but are you sure he is not hiding behind HR and that he/she hasn't got a problem with you changing the hours?

business grounds

PeachyClair Tue 04-Oct-05 22:00:00

Um.. that thing about the bonuses? well sorry but that smacks of BLACKMAIL! Do approach HR directly, but I would get some legal advice first (CAB can be great for this IME), and maybe take a 'friend' (witness) with you.

paolosgirl Tue 04-Oct-05 22:02:00

Would just echo the other posts - all jobs have to be considered on their own merit, and justification given if you are declined. Setting a precedent does not count!

QueenVictoria Tue 04-Oct-05 22:10:47

Setting a precedent is definitely NOT a valid reason. My line manager tried that one with me but i was fully armed before our meeting with the benefits and how it would work, what possible reasons he could refuse and how to get round it. He didnt know what hit him!

Im paying for it now though. He hates me . Didnt even congratulate me or reply to message when DS was born (my 2nd). Our MD eventually sent flowers and an apology for the delay.

They cant treat you less favourably because of your part time/lesser hours either. There is plenty of stuff on that if you check out part time working.

mummypumpkin Tue 04-Oct-05 22:14:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Whizzz Tue 04-Oct-05 22:17:13

Isn't it bad that we still have to fight as hard for things like this. I am in the middle of trying to negotiate a change to my hours & anyone would think I was requesting a trip to the moon !
You have to know your rights & be prepared to battle !

Thanks for the link Muppet - might use that one myself !

QueenVictoria Tue 04-Oct-05 22:59:34

Make sure they dont try and swindle you on time off/annual leave either. Thats another one they like to try IME.

Pam70 Wed 05-Oct-05 12:57:31

I was turned down after I requested part time working but I hadn't made the request in the correct manner.

See this link for step by step help.

You will need to put it in writing and mention which legislation you are applying for the reduced hours under. You can only make one request a year.

HTH

eefs Wed 05-Oct-05 13:33:04

Are your bonuses are based on how well the company performs and how well you perform over the past year? Well with only a 5 hr drop per week I can imagine that you will probably get through the same workload and as such your bonuses whould not be affected AT ALL. Plus, is it considered unpaid leave or a reduction in salary? If the first than your annual salary is unaffected and another reason why your bonuses should remain the same.

Keep track of the work you do in a week now for comparison to the work you get done in a 35 hr week, this will be handy when it comes to bonus time.

Caligula Wed 05-Oct-05 13:57:22

Er hello??? Not wanting to set a precedent, is a declaration by your employer that they want to continue to break the law!! Make sure you do absolutely everything by the book here, because it sounds like you might end up with a fight on your hands, and there's no point fighting unless you win.

LadyMarinaofSarfLondon Wed 05-Oct-05 13:59:14

I thought the EC Work Time Directive also ensured no-one worked more than 35 hours a week in any case?
Good luck smallvoice, you've had some good advice here and a useful link too...

Katemum Wed 05-Oct-05 14:01:15

Marina? All our full-timers work 37 hour weeks.

Caligula Wed 05-Oct-05 14:04:33

Haven't we opted out of that one? 48 hours isn't it? And even then, companies can force employees to opt out. (Theoretically they can't, but in practice of course, they do.)

LadyMarinaofSarfLondon Wed 05-Oct-05 14:57:20


I work in the public sector and my employer has seemingly voluntarily adopted the Directive then.

smallvoice Wed 05-Oct-05 15:54:22

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I feel lots more confident!!

OP’s posts: |

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