Return to work on reduced hours appeal

(64 Posts)
Pippinsqueak Thu 20-Feb-20 15:35:28

Hello was just wondering if anybody had any experience of troubles returning to work on reduced hours after coming back from maternity leave.

My employer has declined my request for reducing my hours down from five days a week to 4 days a week. Therefore I have gone through an appeal process.

My reasons for requesting reduced hours include

1. Not being able to afford full-time childcare, this would leave me in financial difficulties each month.

2. The childminder my daughter has currently been in for six months doesn't not work on Friday which is the day I have requested to reduce. My employer told me that I'd have to find another childminder or put my daughter in for a nursery for one day a week or another childminder on one day a week which will have a detrimental effect on my daughter.

3. Within the team six other women have had babies in the last three years and they are in more senior positions and they have all come back on three days a week so I feel slightly discriminated against.

4. Working full time would have a detrimental effect on my home work life balance and my mental health as I have been off with exhaustion and stress as my baby has not slept properly since birth.

They cite that they cannot recruit my position ( I'm a support worker) for any hours, and that me reducing my hours would have a negative affect on the service.

Is there any legal points I can fight this with at all or has anyone done anything similar and won?

Thank you

5. They have known since July 2018 when I told them I was pregnant that I never intended on returning full time.

OP’s posts: |
Mummabear2212 Thu 20-Feb-20 15:39:38

I dont know for sure and certainly in no legal capacity but I dont think the first 2 points (re finances and childcare) are reasons for appeal. I have a feeling that the approach to that is that its not their problem. Very happy to be wrong however just something at the back of my mind telling me I've heard that. Have you contacted ACAS? They're the best people for advice I would imagine. I'm sure some more knowledgeable posters will be a long with some sound advice soon!

LowcaAndroidow Thu 20-Feb-20 15:41:47

Can you show that reducing your hours wouldn’t have a negative impact on the service?

Is there anyone else in your role on reduced hours?

KittenVsBox Thu 20-Feb-20 15:42:33

Go at it from the other direction. It's not about you, or your daughter (well, obviously it us, but that's not what work care about).
You need a business case - how is it going to work for the business. What is going to happen for those 8 hrs of work you are not there for. How is that work going to get done?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Thu 20-Feb-20 15:43:28

Have you already submitted your appeal? Did you take any advice on your application or appeal?

I’ve never done this personally but I believe there is a framework of reasons that they can decline you, and therefore you’re best to apply with that in mind - cover each point about why this is better for them, not for you. They don’t have to care about your childcare needs or finances. Why is it a good move for them as a business?

LIZS Thu 20-Feb-20 15:43:49

The only reason to accept flexible working would be if it can be accommodated within their business requirements. Your personal finances, childcare issues, pre stated intention are , unfortunately, not relevant to your argument. You could try to argue there is a precedent but maybe those who have already negotiated flexible arrangements are fulfilling different roles, or it may be management are funding that arrangement difficult to manage already and would prefer not to agree to more.

BritInUS1 Thu 20-Feb-20 15:48:11

Your personal childcare issues should not be included.

You need to explain why the role can be done 4 days a week and why it will not be detrimental to the business

Also, each person is dealt with differently, so just because one person gets it doesn't mean others will

potter5 Thu 20-Feb-20 16:07:38

Your company will only be concerned about the 'needs of the business'. As I understand it by law they only have to offer you your existing job back or a comparative job offer i.e. same salary and benefits and hours as before your maternity started. They are not obliged to amend any terms of your contract.

Good luck with your appeal though. flowers

Pippinsqueak Thu 20-Feb-20 16:10:20

@LowcaAndroidow yes whilst I was off on maternity they granted my counter part (there's two of us in the team) going down from four days to two. They never recruited for my mat leave post either

OP’s posts: |
Pippinsqueak Thu 20-Feb-20 16:15:03

I understand that it's my choice to have a baby etc and my personal circumstances are my own but I can't understand why a lowly worker like me (I'm on the bottom of the ladder) can't reduce my hours but someone in a senior position can.

In terms of business one thing I can use is that I would more likely stay in work if my hours are reduced to four days as I am dealing with a lot of stress both personal and organisational. I have gone through occupational health and it's their conclusion. So in terms of what's best for business if I returned full time I'd likely go off sick again.

OP’s posts: |
DownToTheSeaAgain Thu 20-Feb-20 16:25:16

I think the key is proving that this will work for the business. Citing your childcare needs or implying you are not being treated fairly is a non starter. Can you cover the work on reduced hours? Can you suggest a job share of some sort? What can you do that makes it worthwhile for them. Unfortunately you have no right to different hours. Just a right to present a case asking for them.

mclover Thu 20-Feb-20 16:33:56

Yep has to be about how you can make it work, how it will work for the business etc rather than anything about your personal situation. Throw loads of ideas and solutions at them.

scrivette Thu 20-Feb-20 16:34:41

I have been through this and appealed but was still turned down. They said my business case wasn't a strong enough reason and they needed a full time person to be in my role.

They are kicking themselves now as they can't recruit to my role and I won't go back!

MyDcAreMarvel Thu 20-Feb-20 16:36:53

Do not mention your childcare issues, it makes you look unprofessional and is not relevant to your employer.

Pippinsqueak Thu 20-Feb-20 16:37:14

I think that's what I'm going to have to do and ask if they can job share or if I can cover the three days the other support worker isn't doing now

OP’s posts: |
MyDcAreMarvel Thu 20-Feb-20 16:38:27

but I can't understand why a lowly worker like me (I'm on the bottom of the ladder) can't reduce my hours but someone in a senior position can.
Because their skills are more valued as they are harder to recruit. They won’t want to lose them.

Pippinsqueak Thu 20-Feb-20 16:40:42

@scrivette well that's what I'm thinking, if they can't recruit my post part time or full time what are they going to do if I have to quit? They ll also be screwed if I go off sick in the mean time again through stress and anxiety.

OP’s posts: |
PrincessSarene Thu 20-Feb-20 16:43:42

As others have said, a flexible working request can only be assessed in terms of the business needs. It sounds like they have given operational reasons as to why they have refused your request. Therefore your appeal needs to address their concerns and show how the effects of you reducing your hours can be mitigated. No other information (childcare, previously stated intentions, what other agreements other staff have etc.) is relevant to this process.

okiedokieme Thu 20-Feb-20 16:52:58

You need to only put business needs not cost because you will earn enough to cover the extra day if you are working it. Generally it's easier to appoint a half time job share than one day - who is willing to work only 8 days a week? I was offered half time or full time nothing in between

whatnow40 Thu 20-Feb-20 16:54:41

Don't threaten to go off sick if you don't get you what you want. You need to put forward a business case where it reads as unreasonable to turn the request down. When allowing someone to drop from 5 or 4 days to 3, it gives the opportunity to recruit or retain someone else on a 3 day week as well. 4 days doesn't do that. It would be difficult to recruit any person in to a role for 1 day a week.

Does any of the current part time people want to increase their hours? Can you work longer hours M-T to cover all or the majority of the shortfall?

You need to answer this question. What happens to your work on a Friday? Who is there to provide cover? Is there capacity to pick up your work on a Friday as well as existing work?

If they have not recruited a replacement for you, what currently happens to the workload on a Friday, and explain how that will be sufficient.

Take a look at your salary as well, and employers NIC. Will dropping your hours take you below the threshold, meaning they won't need to make a contribution? Is that the case for those on 3 days a week, but not 4 days? If your hourly rate is low, than this could be a factor, and one you could work to your advantage. if you calculate the number of hours that takes you just under the threshold. This is why a lot of supermarkets only employ people part time and won't give extra hours, to save on NIC.

scrivette Thu 20-Feb-20 16:58:38

Would it be possible for you to work slightly longer hours during the week, eg an hour extra for the 4 days, then they would not be loosing you for as many hours.

I would also reiterate that a precedent appears to have been set with the others in your team.

Best of luck.

Pippinsqueak Thu 20-Feb-20 17:07:55

Thank you for your replies. I'm not threatening to go off sick if I don't get what I want, I have been off for the last three months with stress and exhaustion and half of it is due to organisational stress, I've had a lot of issues with work bullying me which I won't go into details as that's a separate issues

I think I will offer three days a week to cover the other support workers time and then they can recruit a full time post to cover mine.

I agree a precedent has been set with other workers too so I will argue that.

In terms of extending my hours that wouldn't be possible as il be doing 8-5:30 and will have childcare issues, again as you say not works problem.

I suppose I could offer to do admin on Fridays but that's not a main part of my job, I'm a community work.

Thanks again guys

OP’s posts: |
reginafelangee Thu 20-Feb-20 17:13:06

Sorry but none of those reasons are relevant.

Even no 3 doesn't count because they are not doing the same job as you. Your ability to afford childcare etc is not your employer's concern.

You need to focus entirely on an explanation of how you think your request for flexible working might affect the business and how this could be dealt with. i.e. what impact will you working 4 days a week have on the business and how can this be mitigated.

Also worth noting you no longer have a statutory right to appeal its up to the employer whether to hear an appeal.

reginafelangee Thu 20-Feb-20 17:14:13

To add they have given a business reason for declining:

"They cite that they cannot recruit my position ( I'm a support worker) for any hours, and that me reducing my hours would have a negative affect on the service."

If you want to be successful in your appeal you need to explain how they can get round this.

Ronia Thu 20-Feb-20 17:14:31

As LIZS says the reasons why you want to go part time are irrelevant. Anyone can request flexible working and the reasons for doing so have no bearing on whether your employer grants it or not.

It all hinges on you being able to prove that it won't impact the business, or that the impact can be mitigated against. Them being able.to recruit someone to cover 0.2 sounds like their barrier and it sounds as if there's enough work that they need 1 full time equivalent.

Going into the appeal citing your reasons for wanting it will get you nowhere.

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