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going back part time: work want to change my job title and reduce management responsibilities, but not my pay. can they?

(16 Posts)
naomilpeb Thu 07-Jul-11 16:20:03

I'll try to be brief! I am set to go back three days a week in September. Work have accepted my part time working request but today called me to say that they want to change my job title and job description. Basically, I was/am Deputy Director of XX, with responsibility for a particular sector, and now they are proposing that I become Head of that particular sector (there is one other Head Of in my team already) with my job description including that I deputise for the Director on an ad hoc basis on the days I am working. They are not proposing any cut in pay.

Can they do this, does anyone know? To my mind it changes my job - I'm no longer the Deputy Director but rather someone who covers for the Director in meetings when she can't be there.

I also don't see quite how they can argue that it's impossible to be a Deputy Director and work part time (they haven't explicitly said this, it's being sold as a team restructure).

Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thank you.

louby86 Tue 12-Jul-11 12:34:00

Hello! It is my belief, and you might want to check with acas, that on your return to work your money needs to be at least the same and your terms of work / job level needs to be at least equal to what you were doing previously. That's definitely the case where I work. Hope that helps

upsetaboutwork Tue 12-Jul-11 23:27:57

Tread carefully. I am no expert and don't know the legal side of things too well but, a very very similar thing happened to me (also sold as a restructure) - I was quite upset about it at the time as it was effectively a demotion in all but pay.

I took some advice and was told that I could resign and potentially have a case for constructive dismissal. However, I might not have won and I didn't want to leave anyway, so I accepted the terms and carried on.

With hindsight I really wish I had fought the reduction in responsibilities - although in some ways it eased the demands of my work at a time I was focussed on my family, I was definitely slowly but surely cut out of the management loop and my profile sank without trace. I'm now in a bit of a sticky situation at work, and that reduction in responsibility from 3 years ago is having repercussions now in that my experience doesn't match that of some of my colleagues.

I'd really recommend you think through the long term implications of this before agreeing to it.

wompoopigeon Wed 13-Jul-11 09:05:39

I accepted something similar. It marked the death of my career. If you don't mind about your profile or future prospects and you are simply doing the job for the money, then say yes. Otherwise ask them for their detailed reasons why a deputy director may not work part-time, and get your director's views as well. Team restructure my arse, I bet they would bring a full-time deputy director in above you and then... Oops... Your role is no longer required.
Call me cynical but I've learnt the hard way.

Strawberrysorbet Wed 13-Jul-11 09:20:59

I'd check with a lawyer or CAB. Is there a real change of your terms and conditions, ie will your role be substantially different? If so, imposing it on you could amount to a breach of contract. If there truly is a restructure, your previous role may be redundant (ie it no longer exist as such, therefore there is no longer a need for you to do this job) in which case it would be a matter of you accepting or taking redundancy (which they should offer you). If you believe it is not a restructure but occurred as a result of you going part time, you could refuse, resign and claim unfair dismissal and discrimination but a big word of warning: constructive dismissal is hard to prove, I wouldn't advise you do this without consulting a lawyer first. Best of luck.

Piequeen Thu 14-Jul-11 19:38:59

A further word of warning (not intended to be scary!) BUT even if you can prove constructive dismissal the only remedy really is damages and the cash won't be as much as you might think unless the reason for the dismissal is sexism/racism so REALLY don't resign unless you've had proper legal advice. And don't threaten to resign either, unless you want to leave anyway.

naomilpeb Thu 14-Jul-11 20:05:17

Thanks everyone for the advice. I've had a further discussion with my manager (the Director) and they have changed tack on what exactly they are doing and why:
- it isn't a team restructure, it's a response to my part-time working request. Surely, if this is the case, then they should officially reject my request and offer me something equivalent, and in writing too?
- the other Head Of in my team will have similar ad hoc deputising responsibilities to me - she works part-time too, we will overlap one day. She did not have these responsibilities before, they were all with me.
- there are additional things that they hadn't mentioned, that are being shared between mine and the other Head Of role now, so furtehr reductions in my responsibilities than I even thought before.

My Director also said on the phone today that some of the Deputy responsibilities have been removed from the job description because she has taken them on now, and I only had them before because there wasn't a Director (long story, but we were without a Director for over a year while they failed to recruit). But surely this is irrelevant? My role and job description as Deputy was permanent, not temporary!

I am feeling all tearful and confused as to what to do. I love my job, it's not about the money at all (not private sector so it isn't great anyway), but I can't help feeling that they are really trying to shaft me here which makes me angry, and very sad too. I am genuinely worried that what upsetaboutwork said, will happen - I've been off for a year, people will forget they should be coming to me about things, I'll be left out of meetings, etc etc. I'm not massively assertive at the best of times, and I've got mild PND which doesn't help my general feelings of confidence.

I still haven't agreed to anything, but I am finding talking to them on the phone while trying to placate a toddler who wants me to play with them and deal with a baby who's crawling everywhere very hard. I need to organise a proper meeting with them, don't I? I'm a member of Unite, should I contact them?

Thank you so much for the advice.

wompoopigeon Thu 14-Jul-11 22:07:45

You're absolutely right. You need to organise a face to face meeting with them, with you in work mode not mummy mode with a toddler round your ankles. And before that yes absolutely take advice from your union. It's what you pay your subs for and they will have seen it all before- unfortunately.

Strawberrysorbet Thu 14-Jul-11 23:01:34

So, they have agreed to your part time (in writing?) and now want to change your job title and duties because you are part time. This sounds like you may be able to show that you have been treated less favourably because of being part time. But the main point is, if they have agreed to your part time, they cannot come back on it: both side have agreed a variation of your contact. Now, they cannot impose major changes to your contract without your agreement, although some minor changes are ok. There may be a genuine need for reorganisation if both you and your colleague are part time. Again, I would discuss it with a union rep if you have one, CAB or a lawyer.

upsetaboutwork Fri 15-Jul-11 15:05:27

Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you... I would speak to your union yes, and also Working Families helpline is a good source of advice. Good luck!

naomilpeb Fri 15-Jul-11 19:53:36

That's ok upsetaboutwork, what I meant was that I had already come to that conclusion and was worried about it. Thank you for the advice. I actually called Working Families this morning and they were really helpful. I've emailed asking for a meeting and for a written response to my part-time working request. I'll just have to see what happens at the meeting. I'll talk to my union beforehand, and ask a friendly colleague to come along to take notes.

Thanks a lot for all the advice everyone.

crystalglasses Fri 15-Jul-11 20:01:19

I don't get it. You are no longer going to be a director but instead wil deputise for the director on the days you are at work? What's the difference? I would say deputising for the director is equvilent to being a deputy director. No?

firefly101 Wed 20-Jul-11 16:28:52

Hi OP, how did your meeting go?

I was reading this thread last night ahead of my meeting with HR to discuss my flexible working request today. Guess what? I can do three days a week but to make my role fit into three days instead of 5 they want to take away the strategic elements of my role, so I can focus on the operational issues and bring someone else in, as part of a "restructure" to cover the growing strategic side of things!!

I need to formulate my response and would be grateful to hear how you got on. I'm fuming, asked how this would affect my career progression and just got a"we will support personal development etc etc" answer.

naomilpeb Fri 22-Jul-11 20:20:33

Hi firefly101. I think we are the same people! That was exactly the response I got in my meeting, except that they aren't bringing in someone else, they're sharing the strategic responsibilities out between me and someone else, but she's full-time so I'm worried that I'm going to end up sidelined on the 'mummy track'.

I'm fuming, just like you. Since they've given their 'business' reasons for doing this, I'm not sure what more I can do. A friend is talking to her SIL, who's an employment lawyer, about it tonight, but I'm not sure there will be much more I can do. I'm seriously considering resigning - we will have more money if I don't work since childcare is so expensive, and if my job doesn't have the responsibilities and prospects it did before, I'm not sure it's worthwhile. They have mucked me about so much, too, that I'm not sure how much I'll enjoy being there anymore.

I'll let you know if the employment lawyer has any ideas. I'd recommend talking to Working Families. Good luck with it all!

venusandmars Mon 25-Jul-11 12:27:17

I understand your worries about being sidelined on the mummy track, but tbh I think that if this was going to happen, then it would happen anyway, irrespective of your job title.

I'm not sure what is upsetting you so much - you have asked to reduce your days and they have agreed. However it sounds as though they need to ensure that there is someone able to deputise for the Director on every day of the week, so what would the alternative be? To create another part-time Deputy-Director post? Or to share the deputising duties amongst an existing role and yours (which is what they are proposing)? Or are there other options that you could suggest that would enable you do be a full-time Deputy Director, perhaps working more flexibly to cover that portion of the work?

trixymalixy Mon 25-Jul-11 12:51:01

Sorry but you are entitled coming back after mat leave to the same terms and conditions, but if you are requesting part time then you are requesting a change to your contract and they do not have to offer you part time in the same job you left.

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