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Br4ndyb00b00

Flexible Working Hours dilema

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Got a bit of a problem that hopefully someone here can advise. Its a pretty long story, so please bare with me....

 

My wife has been working for a large insurance company for approx 8 years, in their accounts department. We had our first daughter back in 2007, and my wife took maternity leave for 9 months (i think!). She has since returned to work on a part time basis. Her part time hours are Wednesday 1pm-5.30pm, Thursday 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-1pm.

For the first year, this seemed to work ok as my wifes sister could take my daughter on a Wednesday and Thursday and my mum could have her on a Friday. At the time, i didnt work weekends so i could look after her on a saturday.

My wifes sister went back to work part time and could no longer look after our daughter on wednesdays and thursdays, so we looked into alternative child care. Eventually, we decided upon using a nursery (which is actually located at my wifes place of work for staff). Luckily for us, the time pattern they worked to was wednesday afternoons and thursday all day, so it was perfect for us.

About 8 months ago, i was given a promotion at work and with that came extra responsibilities meaning i would have to work most saturdays. Its been a real struggle trying to find a babysitter on saturdays, and there have been many occasions when my wife has been unable to go to work on saturday as we had no childcare. Now my dughter is a little older, and moved to the next class at nursery, we had the opportunity to sign her up to do a full day on both wednesdays and thursdays. This prompted my wife to ask for a change to her working hours, and work a full day on wednesday instead of the saturday mornings. This would have worked out perfect us.

My wife had asked her managers about the possibility, and also her HR department, but all asked for it to put in writing as an official flexible working hours request. So we did, as pasted below.

 

 

I would like this working pattern to commence from:

 

At present, my daughter uses your own ‘Apples Nursery’ on a Wednesday afternoon whilst I complete my working hours. A place has come available for my daughter to attend the nursery all day on Wednesdays which would enable me to work extended hours

I am unable to arrange regular child care on a Saturday morning, as my husband has weekend work commitments which cannot be amended.

 

 

4. Accommodating the new working pattern

I think the effect on my employer and colleagues can be dealt with as follows:

I am certain the tasks I currently undertake on a Saturday morning can be completed by others. If this is found not to be the case, I would be willing to assist training another member of the team to deal with any issues that may arise whilst I am not at work. Sharing my skills and expertise with other members of staff would also benefit the company by widening the skill base of employees

Whilst not working Saturday mornings may have a minor impact on the ability of the business to meet customer demand, it should be remembered that by working extended hours on a Wednesday I would be able to respond to customer need for more hours of the day.

Improving my work-life balance will help my morale, motivation and commitment to the business.

By granting my application for flexible working, I believe would enhance the company’s reputation as an employer of choice.

Flexible working is essential for me to manage my family commitments, and granting my request would enable me to stay within the company and am not forced to look elsewhere.

I am aware of alternative departments within the company that are not required to work every Saturday, and have been made aware that there may be a position available. Please consider me for this if it is a feasible option.

I would also like to add that I would be willing to work occasional Saturday mornings, when I am able to arrange sufficient child care, although I could not commit to regular patterns of Saturdays (e.g. every other Saturday, etc) at the present time.


Br4ndy VS HSBC

11th Dec - Prelim sent for 2907.42

29th Dec - LBA sent

12th Jan - Offer Recieved 2,500

15th Jan - Offer accepted :D

 

MyWife vs HSBC

5th Jan - Prelim sent for 1653.23

20th Jan - LBA Sent

7th Feb - Offer Recieved 1,350

8th Feb - Offer accepted :D

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continued...

 

My wife was asked to go for a meeting where she could explain the reasons behind her request, and hopefully come to an arrangement. The meeting seemed to go well, but was told we would recieve a descision within 10 working days

She recieved a letter saying that her request had been refused and there was an explanation as to why which i cant remember (will edit this post when i get home from work). The letter said something about it being part of the part-time contract that every saturday had to be worked and that we have 5 days to appeal.

 

within the next 2 days, a manager form a different department had heard about my wifes dilema, and subsequently offered her a position in his department which would mean working 1 in every 4 saturdays. This was good news for us, and would mean only having to find childcare on a saturday once a month. I had a chat with my manager at work, and was told i could take the saturday off each month to look after my daughter.

 

This was perfect, although not official as yet. It had to be approved by various managers (one of which was on holiday at the time). Everyone was 99% confident this would be happening.

 

3 weeks have gone by and the 'operations manager' has returned from holiday this week only to refuse the move. She says that my wife is too valuable to the accounts team and cannot afford to lose her. She has offered that my wife stays in the accounts department, and works every other saturday.

 

My wife is distraught. She cannot decide what to do next. We have been advised to make an appeal, but we are worried that the time limit has now expired. We feel as though the only choice we have is for her to hand in her resignation, rather than going through the stress of trying to find childcare again. My wife is also 2 months pregnant, so the stress of it all is something we can do without.

 

Anyone got any ideas what we can do?


Br4ndy VS HSBC

11th Dec - Prelim sent for 2907.42

29th Dec - LBA sent

12th Jan - Offer Recieved 2,500

15th Jan - Offer accepted :D

 

MyWife vs HSBC

5th Jan - Prelim sent for 1653.23

20th Jan - LBA Sent

7th Feb - Offer Recieved 1,350

8th Feb - Offer accepted :D

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We also know of other part-time staff who are only contracted to work through the week, and no weekends although when we asked about this, were told that this is an old contract that they do not give out any more.

 

We had even been told that my wifes new role could begin on 31st August, so we were already making plans. Although there was nothing in writing.

 

We just feel like we've been messed around here, and its as if the company are just 'calling her bluff' as they now know she is pregnant and probably think she would be silly to resign, knowing that she would be on maternity leave at the end of this year. They also know my wife has shares in the company which she would lose if she was to resign.

 

 

Please please please help.


Br4ndy VS HSBC

11th Dec - Prelim sent for 2907.42

29th Dec - LBA sent

12th Jan - Offer Recieved 2,500

15th Jan - Offer accepted :D

 

MyWife vs HSBC

5th Jan - Prelim sent for 1653.23

20th Jan - LBA Sent

7th Feb - Offer Recieved 1,350

8th Feb - Offer accepted :D

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for an employer to refuse a request for flexible working they must have a justifiable business reason doing so, stating that it is part of the contract, IMHO is not a justifiable business reason, as most request for flexible working are generally to move away from what is in the contract in terms of working hours shift patterns etc..so i think you should push them on that basis..

 

you mentioned the job in another department, if the vacancy is advertised, and your wife applies and was successful, then it would be difficult for her manager to stop it, so im guessing it was the other manager was happy if her manager was happy kind of thing?..


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MBNA WON,

A&L WON,

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She recieved a letter saying that her request had been refused and there was an explanation as to why which i cant remember

 

Hi, informative post, but, as I think you realise, to give a considered answer we do need this bit of info :)

 

Too be honest, whilst the law does strictly stipulate the potential reasons an employer can give to refuse a flexible working request, no tribunal is going to look too far behind a properly drafted refusal.

 

An employer may only turn down a request for flexible working on one or more of a number of ‘business’ grounds. These are:

  • burden of additional costs
  • 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.

BUT, (and BERR used to give a great little example), they should expand on one (or more) of the above and give some objective reasons within that heading specific to your role.

 

However, in reality the above are so vague, it is not difficult for an employer to create an (or more) plausible argument that comes under one (or more) of the above headings.

 

You mention being offered the right of appeal, have you exercised this?

 

Che


...................................................................... [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Please post on a thread before sending a PM. My opinion's are not expressed as agent or representative of The Consumer Action Group. Always seek professional advice from a qualified legal adviser before acting. If I have helped you please feel free to click on the black star.[/FONT] [FONT=Comic Sans MS] I am sorry that work means I don't get into the Employment Forum as often as I would like these days, but nonetheless I'll try to pop in when I can.[/FONT] [FONT=Arial Black][FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=Red]'Venceremos' :wink:[/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT]

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Thanks for your replies...

 

I do understand the importance of how the letter of refusal was worded, and so will type it out here... as soon as i find the damn letter! I think my little girl has been playing in the cupboard again...

 

Although this is important, i thought this was more a case of what happened after she recieved the refusal. I mean, all the messing around with giving the impression everything was going to be sorted out by changing her role in the company and moving to another department which only works weekdays, etc...

 

As you can see, in the refusal letter she was offered 5 days to lodge an appeal. But within these 5 days, the news came about that the managers have found a position in another department which would be more suited. As it seemed this was going to happen, we didnt feel the need to write a letter of appeal. It actually seemed like a reasonable option had been found by the managers, which would keep my wife working the same hours per week as she does now, and also enable us to use the available nursery dates as childcare (in our minds, this was pretty much sorted, even the managers had kept telling my wife that it is almost complete)Now i'm just a little worried that it is too late to appeal, as they have kept us hanging on for weeks now.


Br4ndy VS HSBC

11th Dec - Prelim sent for 2907.42

29th Dec - LBA sent

12th Jan - Offer Recieved 2,500

15th Jan - Offer accepted :D

 

MyWife vs HSBC

5th Jan - Prelim sent for 1653.23

20th Jan - LBA Sent

7th Feb - Offer Recieved 1,350

8th Feb - Offer accepted :D

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