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Can they do this? returning from mat leave

(11 Posts)
MersyMersy Wed 03-Oct-12 19:53:00

I'm on mat leave and due to go back in a months time. I work as an Area Sales Manager and travel is a part of my job. I put in a part time working request four months ago and they notified me on Monday that it has been refused. When I spoke to my manager four months ago I explained that I was bfing and that with two baby twins I wouldn't be able to stay away from home he accepted this and said that he would do his upmost to accommodate me as he was used to dealing with new mums and was aware of what it entailed. Fast forward to today and I have received an email stating that I would be required to stay away from home for two weeks on my immediate return to work! Can they expect this? It might be worth mentioning that they have very recently made redundancies hence why the response to my part time request has been delayed. I feel as though they are trying to discourage me from returning to work, due to this and the fact that during my conversation with my manager this week he repeatedly said that more would be expected of me and that things would be harder. Am I being paranoid? They also won't upgrade my car despite it being out of lease and faulty until I 'actually' retune to work when one should have been arranged prior to my return.

Sorry for rambling but opinions greatly appreciated.

Nigglenaggle Wed 03-Oct-12 21:06:47

I dont think you're being paranoid, sounds like thats exactly what they are trying to do.... they are being unreasonable. But not sure how much you can do about it if the job you return to is the one you left - one for citizens advice??

Nigglenaggle Wed 03-Oct-12 21:07:18

Hmm when I say unreasonable, what I meant of course was twats...

Purplehonesty Wed 03-Oct-12 21:21:52

The company doesn't have to accept your request to work flexibly ie go part time if it does not meet business requirements or some jazz like that but they should at least be prepared to offer you something else instead.
I think your job is only guaranteed after mat leave if you go back on the same terms as before.
If your job requires lots of travelling and now you can't travel I don't know how that impacts on them/you; I would think they could argue that you are not able to do the job anymore. Which is really shit of them; they should be trying to accommodate you not push you out the door. I would have thought you'd have a case for unfair dismissal if you are being discriminated against for having to be home to bf your babies. (well done for sticking to that btw)
Does your company have a union? If so join ASAP and go to them. Try unite.

MersyMersy Wed 03-Oct-12 21:39:11

Nigglenaggle I agree. I think they are trying to force me out but I don't really think they're is anything I can do about it. Traveling is part of my job although in fairness in the whole time Ive worked there I've never had to work away for more than a few days before. Also this trip isn't for sales it's for 'training'! For a job I've been doing for over five years!

Purple honesty that's exactly what I'm worried about that they are anticipating that I will say I can't do it and argue that I can't do my job any more. I could practically hear his jaw hit the floor when I said I would be going back. I really think they had already planned my departure/factored it in to their new regime. I'm not a member of a union, was thinking about going to see a solicitor but I really don't know if I want to go down that route i've heard it's very draining. I just want to be treated fairly. (cheers it's been hard I won't lie but I'm attached to it now!)

(nigg lenaggle...sneaky twats even)

Mosman Thu 04-Oct-12 12:54:59

Theres a whole process you have to go through, mediation, grievance etc before you can go to a tribunal now. I would go back to work but refuse to do the training what are they going to say ? If they try a d make you record the conversation on your phone or make them put it in writing.

Mandy21 Thu 04-Oct-12 12:57:29

Couple of questions - are other Area Sales Managers being asked to do a 2 week course? If its just a question of everyone's job descriptions changing in the time you've been off (as you say, people have been made redundant and presumably there has been a bit of a shift round with jobs / people etc) then no, they're not discriminating against you.

I applaud you for trying to b/f twins but I don't see why they should have to try and accommodate that? How are you planning to work at all if you want to b/f them? Surely you must have childcare arranged - can they give EBM in a bottle? If you've had to travel for a few days at a time previously, as far as they're concerned, its not asking too much more I wouldn't have thought. They don't have to accept your p/t/ request, if there is a business reason why they can't accommodate it, then they're entitled to do that.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 04-Oct-12 12:58:03

Regardless of flexible working they have to make reasonable accommodation for breast feeding mothers eg a room to express in. Can you say you will do this training in a few months' time, that would seem to be reasonable accommodation?

MersyMersy Thu 04-Oct-12 21:36:26

I do EBM for them and I am prepared to leave them for a couple of days but I think it would be physically impossible to prepare two weeks worth. I did think some allowances had to made for bf ing mothers? I'm not expecting to nip home to feed in the day just be at home to express/feed in the evenings.

They aren't asking others to do the same, in fact they have always been very accommodating to other mothers in the company. Even allowing them to leave trips early in order to be home for their children. One woman was even allowed to finish every day at four.

My gripe isn't really that they denied my request, it is a full time job really. In fact I wasnt even going to ask for it but they encouraged me to. I just think they don't want me back. I' m not saying it's discrimination either I think it's under handed though and I think they've messed me about a he'll of a lot already and I dint really know how to approach it butbi don't really want to ignore it and let it potentially get worse.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 04-Oct-12 23:33:38

Mersy I would consider taking advice. If they are treating you differently to others in your position previously, it isn't great for them or you.

oscarwilde Thu 11-Oct-12 16:06:05

Been there done that and had to be on a long haul plane trip within a week of my return. sad It actually wasn't that bad but I had fully weaned by my return so I didn't have that level of personal stress to deal with.
Can you extend your mat leave? Some large firms allow an extra 6 months/yr beyond statutory entitlement.

If you can afford to, see a solicitor to help you to draft a written response, or write up a draft and try the legal boards here for help. You want to make it obvious that you know your rights while at the same time appearing to be v reasonable.
State that you are disappointed that they have been unable to accommodate your request for flexible working but intend to return full-time if that is the only option available to you.
Are you returning after 12 months or 6 months? At 6 months they have to honour the job you left on, any longer then it gets trickier. If no-one else is being packed off for 2 weeks training / retraining I would explain that for personal reasons it is not feasible for you to be away from home for such an extended period so soon on your return from work. That you have made childcare arrangements which fit your job description and the role that you were given to understood that you were returning to. You would like to understand in more detail what the training is supposed to achieve and whether or not it is an option to complete it on a modular basis or over a longer term period. Bear in mind that if it is on new products etc and you have been gone for a year, that it might be in your interests to do the training if your job is compensated on a sales basis ? If it is essential - can the twins and a temp nanny come with you grin. The suggestion that I was prepared to do this (even at my own expense) gave my company a heart attack grin when they were trying to insist that I come back during my maternity leave for a KIT week overseas. Suddenly it was not so essential that I attend. They were trying to change my role/make me redundant too.

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