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Flexible Working Request Declined - What Now?

(20 Posts)
LMonkey Tue 09-Jul-13 22:41:33

Hi, this is going to be a bit of a long one I'm afraid...

I'm due back to work in September after having my first baby, and submitted my request to work part time, working 3 full days Monday to Wednesday (ideally), but this has been rejected on grounds that the business is growing and there is a lack of space in the office for part-timers, and it will have a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand. What I want to know is a) when I write to them to appeal can I suggest an alternative that I work 5 half days instead (which may work better for them)? I read somewhere that you cannot make more than one request in a 12 month period so I'm wondering if this would be seen as a second request? (I'm actually kicking myself now that I didn't suggest that originally). Then b) what should I do if they reject me again? I simply cannot bear the thought of working full-time and missing out on my baby - it's just not me. I could hand my notice in and look for part time work and just hope to God that I find something really quickly...might be pretty unlikely though. Or should I return full time meanwhile looking for something part time but then it could be ages before I find anything and I would have missed out on my baby growing up. My partner does not earn any way near enough to cover everything, and it doesn't look like we'd get much more in tax credits (don't know what else we would be entitled to) and we have a mortgage to pay. It would be a case of dipping in to what little savings I have to pay for stuff which I wouldn't mind for a couple of months but it wouldn't last long. I know people are gonna say just go back full time but it tears me up to think of only really spending time with my baby at weekends and half my wages would go on childcare anyway.

Dumdeedumdeedum Tue 09-Jul-13 22:43:42

Can you meet your boss for a chat about what would be possible?

Sam100 Tue 09-Jul-13 22:49:27

Can you use holiday to work a 3 or 4 day week for a few months to see how you feel and if work can cope with a part time person? You should be entitled to a full years leave this year but will only have 3 months to take it in so assuming 20 days hols you could have 2 days a week for 10 weeks which will take you to nearly Christmas.

LMonkey Wed 10-Jul-13 09:53:38

I already met him for a chat last week which didn't go too well. They had invited me in for a 'back to work chat' before I sent my request in, so I then sent my letter in so that they could consider it in anticipation of the meeting. This meeting was originally going to be about an hour long, discussing holiday accrued etc, yet funnily enough it only ended up being 20 minutes long, they literally only talked about the fact that I wanted to go part time, and when I asked about holiday they said they would have to find out and get back to me! Obviously once they realised I wanted to go part-time everything went out the window. I offered to come back in for a chat once my request had been considered but my boss just said he would 'drop me a line' (cowards way out I think) so I don't think he would agree to another meeting.

Sam100, the holiday thing is a good idea, I would like to do that, but knowing my company well I just know they would not be happy with that, unfortunately.

agirlcalledsandoz Wed 10-Jul-13 13:36:14

Same thing happened to me and I couldn't afford to not go back. So went back full time whilst looking for a part time job hmm it totally sucked at the time and took 6 months to get something but I did in the end and now work only 3 days a week at a much nicer company than my previous one ! These things can work themselves out. Could you not do that ?

LMonkey Wed 10-Jul-13 22:40:42

Think I may end up having to do that, agirlcalledsandoz. You're right, things do work themselves out and it may end up being better, I just dread having to leave my baby for 8 hours a day 5 days a week and only get to see him for a short while at either end of the day. Even if it is just for a few months it's still a long time in a baby's life isn't it sad

agirlcalledsandoz Sat 13-Jul-13 11:44:43

It is hard, I sympathise. I consoled myself by saying DD wouldn't remember it ! She was fine, a bit clingy though. It was me who was upset. It will definitely make you try harder job hunting.

Kirrin Sat 13-Jul-13 12:01:16

It wouldn't hurt to request another meeting, or even a phone call, to discuss if there is any room for manoeuvre. You are obviously willing compromise, so perhaps they will meet you half way. Presumably if you requested specific hours then that is what they have considered and rejected so it might be worth finding out if it was the hours that were the problem or whether any part time hours would be refused.

Does anyone in your office work part time? And does your company offer a career break? Might that be an option?

Champagnebubble Mon 15-Jul-13 22:59:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tasmania Tue 16-Jul-13 01:09:12

Go back full time, and look for another job.

Appeals, etc. typically ends up in more tension at work which would add to stress. Plus, you are there to serve the company - the company isn't there to provide you with monthly income at your perusal.

Hiring two people as per the above suggestion often does not add up for the company (more expensive unless you take a massive pay cut due to national insurance, etc.)...

Champagnebubble Tue 16-Jul-13 20:14:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TessB1 Wed 17-Jul-13 16:08:57


Your employer has an obligation to consider alternative solutions, not just the working pattern you have proposed so if you suggest an alternative in your appeal that would not amount to a second application. Further, you should ensure that you ask them to put forward any alternatives to see if there is some middle ground.

I am an employment solicitor and quite sad to see some of the above comments which suggest that you should just give up, don't!

Tasmania Wed 17-Jul-13 19:36:11

Champagne - the problem with your suggestion is that time and time again, what I see is that the more junior person after a few months becomes a full-time person, and the person who suggested the job share then becomes redundant...

LMonkey Wed 17-Jul-13 21:35:06

Wow thank you all so much for your comments, really helpful. I've just read somewhere that the appeal automatically goes to someone higher up than the manager who made the first decision. I don't know how this will work in my case as I work for a private company and the person who I sent my request to is really the highest person as he is the managing director. I don't really know who else the appeal could go to unless they pass it up to the other older managing director who has been there a very long time (and started the company) but technically has stepped down now.

I'd like to post up my letter to get your opinions but don't know if that's breaking some kind of rules?? hmm

emmacox1986 Thu 18-Jul-13 10:27:27

You can have one flexible working request granted in a working year from the date its accepted. Also did your boss give you a valid business reason as to why your request was declined? You can appeal the request and then have a meeting with your area manager and also ask to have a work colleague or union representative in with you as back up and evidence.

Champagnebubble Thu 18-Jul-13 18:48:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LMonkey Sun 21-Jul-13 19:32:20

I honestly don't think they even have a flexible working policy written up, it's a private company and they just seem to go by their own rules. They didn't even have a maternity policy written up when I went on maternity leave. It's the kind of thing they would have typed up just in the last few weeks to cover themselves if I question it.

I have my appeal meeting booked for a weeks time with someone who works alongside my boss - basically his right-hand man, so no doubt he'll just share the same point of view. I'm not even sure I want anyone to accompany me as I think the more people that are there the more nervous I'll feel. I guess it's the right thing to do in case something that is said in the meeting is disputed? Is that the point of the extra person? I know there will be someone else there taking minutes so I just really don't want a fourth person.

spacegirl81 Sun 21-Jul-13 19:46:40

Might be worth having a look on the Acas website; lots of useful information on there for you smile

Wishihadabs Mon 22-Jul-13 06:36:26

Loads of great advice on here OP. My suggestion is to take the ft job. (If you otherwise like working for the company and like the job). Then you can negotiate from amuch stronger position e.g.: full-time hours in 4 days or work through lunch and leave early, that sort of thing.

LMonkey Sat 10-Aug-13 11:04:50

Hi, don't know if anyone's still reading this but just thought i'd update. I did appeal, but my request has still been refused. I gave them so many options and offered to do it on a trial basis and gave a very valid argument but they really just don't want any part timers and won't even give it a shot. God i reeeally just want to hand my resignation in and tell them where to shuv it! But i will have to go back full time and just hope i will find a part time job before too long.

Just their letter makes me so angry. It really goes against all my morals to go back to them. Im going to just have to take a deep breath and get on with my job and just think about seeing my babe at the end of the day (for a whole hour). I can just see me having some kind of mental breakdown after a couple of months (part stress, part exhaustion). Anyway hopefully something great will happen soon x

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