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Can your employer go back on hours that were agreed before returning after maternity?

(25 Posts)
uhoh2016 Tue 19-Apr-16 06:32:20

I know this is probably in the wrong section but there's more traffic here and I need help asap.

I returned to work in Feb my hours to return were discussed and agreed back in Nov. I asked for specific days ( not necessarily hours as I can be flexible once I know if that's my day in work ) these days I asked for meant I wouldn't need to put ds3 in nursery as gp could have him.
Now 2 months later I'm being told I need to change "needs of the business " nothing has changed in my workplace re staffing etc so why agree in the 1st place?
Do I have any rights?
Can I say no?
Also my dh works odd hours and can be away from home for weeks at a time so can't rely on him for childcare. He earns twice if not more than I do so him dropping hours isn't financially viable.
I've been up all night worrying about this. My boss hadn't even sent me a rota for this week (I was off last week ) just said I'm in from 9 today and he'll talk to me when I get in.

Daffodil90 Tue 19-Apr-16 06:47:16

You are legally within your right to request flexible working and they have to listen. They don't have to agree but where it's possible they should give you it (which it sounds like they did initially)

By the sounds of it they possibly didn't want to and we're mistaken thinking they had to give you what you asked for OR they've found it more difficult writing rotas because of others requests etc. I'm not sure how long an agreement has to be in place but unfortunately I think they can change things and the line 'changes to the needs of the business' is classic for we don't like it so we're changing it.

Do you have an HR dept you can ask?

I've got my going to back to work meeting tomorrow and I know they won't go for what ive requested sad boss can't see 5 minutes in front of his face and won't see that id actually be doing him several favours. But hey ho!

Fight for your corner, remind them of the agreement and show a copy of the contract if you have it (although check it doesn't say they can change it first!) .....May be even ask citizens advice bureau if you feel like they're bullying you and they can clarify the laws around maternity and work return.

Good luck!

Dixxie Tue 19-Apr-16 06:51:51

Hi, I'm sorry I don't know the answer but it sounds potentially dodgy to me. It's certainly not reasonable to expect it to happen immediately. Did you get it in writing when it was agreed? If you work in a big company (as I do) then I would refuse, speak to HR say you want to stick to what was agreed. But first, find out where you stand - try which has links to a couple of free advice lines, including a government funded one, who can explain your rights and advise a course of action. Best of luck xxx

purpleme12 Tue 19-Apr-16 06:54:09

Did you get it agreed in writing? As I suspect that might make all the difference

uhoh2016 Tue 19-Apr-16 06:56:49

I think he just agreed without thinking about it tbh. I'm a lot more flexible than some are yet they seem to get whatever they want. 1 rule for 1 and 1 rule for another.
I work weekends too so need to factor in gp working hours aswell as obviously I can't use school or nursery on them days. Unfortunately dropping the weekends is not a possibility at all believe me I've tried yet some people have been given that luxury but that's another story.
I could've said I needed to do school hours 9.30 2.30 like a lot do but no me feeling guilty said I can start early /finish later sometimes meaning I don't see baby overnight yet it's still not good enough.
Need a lottery win hmm

uhoh2016 Tue 19-Apr-16 06:57:31

No didn't get it in writing

uhoh2016 Tue 19-Apr-16 07:02:04

Not even had the decency to say what time I'm in til today it could be anything from 2 o clock til 6 I've not a clue til I get in. Meaning I'll have to leave 3 dc with gp today sorting the school runs out for the older 2 and after school activities for them not knowing when I'll be back to pick them up.

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Tue 19-Apr-16 07:06:49

I've had my working days changed, I used to have Wednesday as a fixed rest day but it didn't work for my manager so she gave me 28 days notice that it was moving to a Thursday. She was within her rights to do this, as flexible working is at their discretion. You need to make a formal flexible working application and take it from there. It's a pain in the arse I know!

uhoh2016 Tue 19-Apr-16 07:10:38

How do I do that whatthe? Do I go through HR?

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Tue 19-Apr-16 07:24:28

Do ylu have a company Intranet with HR forms accessible? If not speak to HR and ask for the application.

You need to put forward a case that benefits both you and the business, it can't just be about how much it helps you, you must make clear how it won't have a negative impact on the rest of your team and your workload etc. They then have 3 months to consider the application and make their decision.

You can only apply for flexible working once per year so think about it carefully as if they turn it down, you can't try it again.

The link has more information.

GrimmauldPlace Tue 19-Apr-16 07:24:54

What does your contract actually say with regards to working hours/days? Because it is shift work, does it say how far in advance the rota should be made available to you?
Did you put in a request for flexible working or was it just an informal chat?

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Tue 19-Apr-16 07:27:16

Another good link here.

uhoh2016 Tue 19-Apr-16 07:30:30

It was an informal chat. I'm asking for 1 specific day off a week and every other weekend to do shorter hours to co inside with my mil who works every other weekend. So when she's off I can be in all day and when she's in work I only need to sort different childcare for a few hours.
I don't think it's too much to ask tbh and considering what hours others have had agreed ie school hours or no weekends then I think I'm being rather flexible

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Tue 19-Apr-16 07:38:18

Then you definitely need a flexible working application, as thst is what you are asking for in a permenant change to your working pattern.

Be mindful of listing your reasons as being about childcare, you need put forward a case of how it won't impact everyone else and workloads etc, rather than focus on how it benefits you or you'll just get a no.

GrimmauldPlace Tue 19-Apr-16 07:39:07

In that case, you should definitely do as suggested above and put in a formal request for flexible working. As Whatthe says, think very carefully about how the changes will not only affect you, but the company also. The company are well within their rights to deny your request but they have to show why it would be bad for the business. So, if you can show how the hours you want will actually benefit the company as well then they won't really have a reason to say no.

I'm pretty sure that even without an official change in contract, if you have been doing the same shift pattern for a while then that could be seen as the company agreeing to your changes. However, I doubt it will apply in your case if you have only been back 2 months.

I would look in to what notice you should be given for your rota though, if you have only been told yesterday that you are working today.

RNBrie Tue 19-Apr-16 07:47:48

As far as I'm aware, with adequate notice, your company can change your hours to meet a business need. If you decline to change, they then have to make your position redundant and hire someone in the hours they need.

I have a flexible working arrangement at work. First three months were on probation and then I was issued a new contract with my new hours. But the company still have a right to request a change to my contract in the same way I had a right to request the FWA change, I can accept or I can refuse their request but if I refuse I expect to be made redundant.

RNBrie Tue 19-Apr-16 07:50:18

You should get this moved to Employment Issues and see if Flowery is around. She's the best person to advise on this sort of thing.

uhoh2016 Tue 19-Apr-16 07:56:54

mrs I knew I'd be in today as I always work Tuesdays just didn't know what time. I work in retail so hours can vary. We'll see what today brings. I'd happily accept redundancy but I think they'd go down the route of making life difficult so you resign 1st.
Think I'm more annoyed about hours others have had agreed (which do have an effect on business ) rather than the fact I've been asked to change mine. I thought I was being helpful to say I'm partially flexible instead of being straight from the day I started about what I could and couldn't do it seems to work for others. My circumstances have changed since I started though with having another baby

uhoh2016 Tue 19-Apr-16 07:57:56

I've also posted on employment but there's not much traffic as there Is here

ABetaDad1 Tue 19-Apr-16 08:03:22

uhoh - this happened at a high street retailer. Mainly female workforce,, mostly women with children. They started shifting hours around, messing with flexible working. Made it impossible for some women to work. They then had to resign. Saved the firm paying out redundancy. They know what they are doing. Employment lawyers advise them how to do it.

Just start applying for other jobs. I am guessing its NMW you are on and they want to replace you with a teenager or save costs to offset the Living Wage coming in. I have no idea where firms think the employees have any spare capacity to work harder to offset the staff they make redundant or force to leave.

uhoh2016 Tue 19-Apr-16 08:22:14

I get paid fairly well considering the industry I'm in which does make it harder looking for another job many part time jobs are NMW meaning I'll have to take a significant drop by getting another job

ABetaDad1 Tue 19-Apr-16 08:33:19

uhoh - I think you are just going to have to look for another job.

I suspect your boss did agree to it without asking HR, then they told him off for agreeing to flexible working without referring it to them and they have a policy of zero tolerance (advised by a HR lawyer) on flexible working because they want to keep all the flexibility on their side and discourage other employees asking for it. Once they give it to one they have to give it to all so they have a policy of saying no regardless of the business need and no matter how reasonable your request.

ABetaDad1 Tue 19-Apr-16 08:37:54

One thing you might try - but it is burning your bridges is to tell your boss you may have to consider resigning if it isn't granted and you are looking around for other jobs. Don't actually reign but leave a threat there.

Put pressure on your boss to go back to HR and see if he can negotiate on your behalf. Most firms don't want to lose a good employee and at least you will know where you stand.

uhoh2016 Tue 19-Apr-16 11:48:28

It's not HR fault it's up to the store manager to organise his staff and have adequate cover.
So I've come in today I'm in til 5 which is fine but told me he'd discuss the rest of the week with me later.

RNBrie Tue 19-Apr-16 12:20:08

OK op, take it steady and don't just threaten to resign.

Ask him why you can't have a regular shift pattern/rota like some of your other colleagues.

Ask him what the business concern is that means you can't have the pattern you've requested.

Tell him you enjoy working there and you're committed to being as flexible as possible.

Be clear in your own mind about what you NEED and what you would LIKE. Compromise on the things you'd like so you can stand firm on what you need.

Good luck having the chat!

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