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Childcare vouchers and Shared Parental Leave... and flexible working request

(5 Posts)
avocadotoast Mon 27-Jul-15 15:26:59

I understand that if you currently receive childcare vouchers and then go on maternity leave, or shared parental leave, and only receive SMP/SSPP, then your employer has to carry on paying the vouchers.

Our current situation is that I'm on maternity leave, about to give notice to end it in November and convert to SPL so that DH can take some time off.

At the minute as DD is only 9 weeks old we're not signed up to childcare vouchers. But, am I right in thinking that if DH signed up for them now, his employer would have to continue making the payments once he goes onto SPL in November? We've had confirmation that he would only receive SSPP.

Also - ideally when I do return to work I'd like to reduce my hours so will need to put in a flexible working request at some point. Is this something I can do while I'm still on maternity leave? Does anyone have any tips on this - eg approaching the business needs etc?

MissLegal02 Tue 28-Jul-15 16:22:07

When you go on maternity leave, all terms and conditions except those relating to remuneration continue to apply.

There is some uncertainty in this area but the view of HMRC is that childcare vouchers are non-cash benefits rather than "remuneration" and therefore you would be entitled to them during mat leave/SPL or your husband going on SPL. Although your husband will usually need to give at least 8 weeks' notice of wanting to go on SPL so if he asks for childcare care vouchers at the same time or just before it is likely the employer would question his motives.

In terms of flexible working, make sure that you give reasons for your request and how you think it is going to work in practice. The sooner you get the request in the better as the employer has three months from the date of the request to complete the process so you would want to give sufficient time so that it dealt with before you go back to work.

Your employer is able to reject a flexible working request if it can justify why it will not work for the business on the basis of one of the eight grounds specified in the regulations. Have a look at the ACAS guide on flexible working which sets out these grounds and try to make your request around this. For example, explain why it would not be detrimental to the business if you reduced your hours, how your work could be shared with other members of the team etc etc.

avocadotoast Tue 28-Jul-15 16:27:50

Thank you, that's helpful.

Do you know whether you can appeal a flexible working request (if it's rejected) on grounds of there being precedent? I ask because I put in a request last year to work a condensed week. It was rejected. One of my colleagues then put in the same request a couple of months later and that was accepted. My manager told me his had been accepted because it was "for childcare reasons". Now I think it's complete bullshit that they allowed his and not mine (as surely the personal reason shouldn't come into it?). But I'm just wondering, if I put in a request for the same again and it's rejected again (which I am going to do), can I use the fact that his was accepted on a "for childcare" basis to appeal the decision? (Sorry if that doesn't make sense, I know it's a bit long winded!).

MissLegal02 Tue 28-Jul-15 17:07:00

Yes if your request is rejected you can appeal it. On this point you would argue that there has been inconsistent treatment in the way they have treated you and your colleague. The acceptance/rejection of the request should not be based purely on the merits of the request but whether or not the business can accommodate the changes.

You should also be aware that you can only put in one formal request every 12 months.

avocadotoast Tue 28-Jul-15 19:04:44

Ah that's a point, I'd forgotten that. I think it was September when I put my request in so I'll just make sure it's after then. I'm not due back until new year so should hopefully time ok.

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