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Flexible Working Request - Advice needed

(14 Posts)
Gomez Fri 17-Dec-04 09:56:54

Hi -hoping someone can provide advice here.

Due to return to work in Jan, made verbal request in Sept to return on a 3 day basis. Advised shouldn't be a problem by senior manager. Never got confirmation even after a number of chasers. Then advised by HR last week that line manager thinks not as it will be too difficult to recruit a someone to cover my role part-time!! I am aware that this is a business reason to refuse the request under the legislation but he has no evidence to support this statment. My role is difficult to fill on a full-time basis never mind part-time I would agree (not because I am soo special mind you...) but surely without evidence that it would be harder to fill he can't just assume that is the case??

I also need to now make the request formally in writing in case it needs to go further so does anyone have any examples - I have the DTI pro-forma as a basis but it would be helpful to see proper examples so to speak.


popsycal Fri 17-Dec-04 09:59:52

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Sallie Fri 17-Dec-04 11:28:38

and have a look at - I received a great deal of advice and my request and correspondence were drafted for me by an expert in the field. Even though I am a lawyer myself, I wasn't confident that I would be able to cover all areas and also it helps getting advice as its a very emotive subject. Good luck.

pixiefish Fri 17-Dec-04 11:31:45

They can't refuse you just because they 'think' it'll be too hard to recruit someone- they have to try to recruit and prove to you that they've tried. You need advice from someone professional- have you got a union? or keep trying until sis answers- she's fantastic on work issues. I only have the advice I was given by my union (teacher) so even though it applies as the law's the same for everyone- the union couldn't work for you IYSWIM

Gomez Fri 17-Dec-04 19:07:11

Thanks guys. No Union I am afraid. My gut feeling is that they can't just say it will be too difficult to recruit as you say pixiefish but I have to admit that I doubt they will be able to. But as the role is difficult to fill on a full-time basis I am not sure how they can 'prove' that - i.e. they could advertise for 6 months and not get anyone even if the post was full-time.

I may offer a time bound compromise - i.e. 6 months or so and hope they go for it as I will be leaving at the end of the summer to go back to Uni so 6 months would do me fine!

Any further advice would be gratfully received.

pixiefish Mon 20-Dec-04 08:35:09

From my union handbook

This is a new facility for parents of children under the age of 6 (or parents of disabled children under the age of 18) to request a variation in their contract to enable them to cope more easily with childcare responsibilities. The right is not an automatic right to flexible working but the right to request to work flexibly.

To be eligible the employees must have been employed by the same employer continuously for at least 26 weeks at the date of application.

Eligible employees will be able to request:

Reduced hours
A change to the times when they are required to work
To work from home.
An employee will need to set out the working pattern that they wish to adopt and explain the effect that they envisage it will have on their employer, including how it might be accommodated. The employer will then have to arrange to meet the employee to discuss the request within 28 days. The employer will, within 14 days, notify the employee of their decision in writing.

The employer has a duty to consider requests seriously and will be able to refuse a request only where there is a clear business reason, as defined in legislation.

The employee has a right of appeal and could make an application to an employment tribunal if the employer has breached the regulations.

the request can only be rejected on one or more of the following grounds

the burden of additional cost
detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
inability to reorganise work among existing staff
inability to recruit additional staff
detrimental impact on quality
detrimental impact on performance
insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work
planned structural changes.

so, is there someone else within your company that could do part of your job? could they then get someone else to do part of their job?

Gomez Mon 20-Dec-04 08:52:42

Mmm Pixiefish. Small team of 6 - 3 professional 3 support. I am the most senior of the professional staff and my two collegues have got a full project load too. On a day-to-day basis it can work as I will just take less projects to manage. The issue is that the organision as a whole will be 0.4 PMs down. The support staff members are project officers (i.e. one for each PM) so difficult to utilise them to fill the gap. However we draw on a pool of analysts from across the organisation and perhaps could use a senior analyst to 'manage' some of the smaller projects as a training benefit. Mmm I can see a business case being developed here.....

Many thanks

sis Mon 20-Dec-04 12:09:26

Gomez, I would strongly recommend that any request be as 'flexibly' worded as possible. In other words don't just give an out line of what you want - say what your objective is and then put forward one option for achieving the objective and state that you are happy to consider other options that allow you to meet your objective if the one you have put forward is not acceptable for business reasons. That way, if they turn down your first choice, you don't have to wait another year to put forward another option for flexible working.

Gomez Mon 20-Dec-04 15:55:48

Thanks Sis. As far as I can see it doesn't matter how I work things or the suggestions I make the end result is the organisation is 0.4FTE down We alll agree that I can perform the role on a day-to-day basis with no real problem only working 0.6FTE. The issue is how to fill the gap. I still feel they must try to recruit (either internally or externally)rather than just say it will be too difficult to find someone. I have suggested splitting the role 50/50 if they feel that would make it easier to recruit. Fingers crossed.

Gomez Mon 20-Dec-04 15:58:50

Oops sorry Sis meant to ask if you agree that must demonstrate that they have tried to fill the gap through recruitment and failed in which case it is then valid to refuse under the inability to recruit business reason. Or is the fact they have had difficulty filling the role on a full-time basis previously sufficient? Thanks in advance if you can help.

sis Mon 20-Dec-04 16:07:01

I think they'd need to show what they based their decision on - if it was difficult to recruit four years ago, things may have changed in the employment market - the best defence for employers is always to have tried before saying it was not possible. If they say it will be too difficult to recruit, ask them what steps they have taken to find this out and any written evidence that such steps were taken.

If you word your formal application very broadly, it shows that you are being 'reasonable' compared to your employers who are being inflexible and unhelpful. Useful to have this if you plan to threaten the employment tribunal at some future date.

Gomez Mon 20-Dec-04 21:57:03

Thanks again Sis. I am trying to be very reasonable in all honesty as I only need the role until the Summer when I intend to take another degree and complete career change!! Not that they know that of course... However I do feel there is a wider principle at stake here within the organisation and feel it would be good for everyone if they are made fully aware of what they must do and more to the point what they can't do.

sis Tue 21-Dec-04 09:09:54

Sorry, I should have worded it better - I meant to put emphasis on the fact that you will have evidence of your reasonableness whereas your employers won't!

Good luck with it - I really hope you succeed because, as you say, the organisation needs to be re-educated on this one for others who may not have the choices that you do. Well done for sticking with it!

beansprout Thu 10-Feb-05 17:09:30

Gomez - have you resolved this one yet? I'm v interested as I am about to make the same request, i.e. change from full time to 0.6FTE when I return from mat. leave.

Hope you got a good result.

Sis - thanks for all the sound advice on this thread, very useful!!

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