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Work from home - manager wants to enforce travel to office...

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Hello knowledgeable folk,

 

 

 

I've been in the same role for the same company for 15 years, the last 8.5 of these years have been worked from home. Home is a minimum of 2 1/2 hours drive from the office location. My work is completed online, I've never had any issues raised with the quality of my work, or my location until now. A new manager has come in and stated that I should be in the office two to three days a month. There is a statement on my contract that I can be required to work from other locations within reasonable travel distance from my home. I've stated clearly that I am unable to fulfil this request, but I'm still being pursued to comply, it's as if I am speaking to myself. What I would like to gauge is whether this statement on my contract is enforceable? I have never had to work from anywhere other than my home in the past 8 1/2 years since I moved to my current location (my company could not replace my position when I moved away from the area, lucky me). My gut feeling is that the new manager wants the role moved back in house, I understand and just wish to be treated fairly. Do you think if I asked for redundancy I would have grounds? To be honest the relationship between the new manager and myself is not great, he lied about me to our overall boss (who thankfully knows me well enough to check the facts), so leaving wouldn't be too much of a disappointment at this point!

 

 

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by mamaatwork

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Have you been asked to go into the office on a regular basis in the last 8.5 years you've worked from home?

 

If you haven't, then it is likely that custom and practice might come into play.

 

"There is a statement on my contract that I can be required to work from other locations within reasonable travel distance from my home"

 

Now a lot hinges on how you define 'reasonable', if you haven't been required to attend the office regularly in the last 8.5 years then it's a reasonable assumption that your employer didn't regard the distance you'd need to travel as reasonable, combine that with the custom and practice established over the last 8.5 years and you have a good case for maintaining the status quo.


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This is what happens in our company, despite not in the procedures book.

If a local agreement has seen a change in hours and/or start/finish times for longer than 12 months, it becomes established practice and to change it a consultation with staff and unions is required.

That's why they make secondments to higher positions only 11 months long.

I know of people who start at 10:30 instead of 08:30 because their train ticket costs half price after rush hour and their start time cannot be changed now without going through a long winded process.

Maybe this is not relevant to your case because companies implement rules differently, but it could be an avenue to explore.

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what does your contract say about hours? Fixed number, or "hours required to do the job"?


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The company's change of location is relevant to how your place of work is defined (if you just moved house then the term about reasonableness stands). Now, the implied conditions of employment that you and your employer have that allows you to work from home are as valid as any written part of your employment terms and strictly speaking it is not for a new manager to interfere with them. You need to dig out any paperwork for the closure of the old office and the agreement to work from home andlet your new manager know that it is essentially cast iron and that their new diktat is actually a breach of those employment terms. If you dont have the paperwork you will need to get copies from HR/head office that show the discussions for change at the time. Dont be saying anything until you have the proof of the agreement as although you are right the upper management employed this person to do a job and they wont let you undermine that authority even if they are in the wrong. When you have your relevant paperwork explain the position to the new manager and say that you do not want to change your employment contract and suggest you approach the higher management together to formalise the company's position.

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Thanks for the replies, they have been very reassuring. My contract is 40 hours a week. The office didn't change location, it's been in the same location since I joined the company...I moved across the country, but kept my position, working from home, as they could not replace me. Since I moved I've only ever gone into the office during leave, when I was visiting family in the area, at my own cost, or to attend a particular meeting (perhaps once a year, not regular, but when a manager visited from overseas perhaps). I've never worked from the office since moving away.

 

I have had three children since moving away, my last maternity leave lasting just six weeks (back to work in February 2014) and I have been pressed to work from the office as I described since around August/September. I advised the manager in question that had they pressed this requirement prior to my maternity leave I would have had to take the full amount of leave available, hence they left it for a while and are back on the case now, as it would be a year after I gave birth to my daughter/maternity leave would have ended. Not sure if this helps but thought it might be relevant.

 

Thanks again.

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and your contract says your location of work is home?


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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and your contract says your location of work is home?

 

Yes, thanks

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so, I'd go in a couple days a month, starting your travel at 9am, leaving at 3:30 to be home on time, and charging them mileage, and refuse to do overtime to make up the 3 hours work.

 

discuss that "value add" after a couple of months.


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In oiher words, build a business case to show them is it more cost effective to the business to maintain the status quo :)


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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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In oiher words, build a business case to show them is it more cost effective to the business to maintain the status quo :)

 

I've tried that, this manager discounts anyone else's experience of their roles out of turn. I've come to the end of the line now, and am ready to hand my notice in. After 15 years it is very hard though, when it is essentially the pressure of the way the new manager has mis-managed the branch (this request is the breaking point for me I guess) that has ground me down. As I have nothing to lose I was going to write to the manager tomorrow, I may be mad who knows, and request they make me redundant due to the obvious requirement they have for a body in the office (that can't be me). They are making big restructuring moves throughout the global offices, so perhaps it would be considered. Knowing that my contract couldn't be used against me per say, as in me not being in breach of it for not complying can't be a bad thing in my case? Any opinions or pointers would be very welcome, I do appreciate an outside perspective (working from home doesn't provide much feedback!)

Edited by mamaatwork

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I've tried that, this manager discounts anyone else's experience of their roles out of turn. I've come to the end of the line now, and am ready to hand my notice in. After 15 years it is very hard though, when it is essentially the pressure of the way the new manager has mis-managed the branch (this request is the breaking point for me I guess) that has ground me down. As I have nothing to lose I was going to write to the manager tomorrow, I may be mad who knows, and request they make me redundant due to the obvious requirement they have for a body in the office (that can't be me). They are making big restructuring moves throughout the global offices, so perhaps it would be considered. Knowing that my contract couldn't be used against me per say, as in me not being in breach of it for not complying can't be a bad thing in my case? Any opinions or pointers would be very welcome, I do appreciate an outside perspective (working from home doesn't provide much feedback!)

 

Follow the grievence procedure first would be my advice. Grounds of trying to break your contract.

 

As grievence would be against him it would be heard by his bosses. Make sure it is done in writing and you have a witness with u in any meeting.

 

sign all notes after checking accuracy. And get copies.

 

once u have done this contact ACAS to explore constructive dismissal


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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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roles are made redundant, not people

 

you are suggestng your "location independent" role is made redundant and an "office based" one is created?

 

have you calculated stat. redundnay to see if, for you personally, it's worth debating vs. just putting in your notice?


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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As suggested I think it's best to put a grievance in before you do anything else.

This will buy you time.

If after the grievance they still want you in the office and there's no chance of redundancy, you will need to go to acas and see what they say.

If nothing of good comes out you could use another trick to buy more time and get some money out of them: go sick for stress.

Drag it for as long as you can and when they're about to dismiss you on medical ground then you can resign.

I know many caggers would think this is immoral, but the matter of the fact is that they mercilessly want to get rid of you, so I would give them a good run for their money.

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Hello knowledgeable folk,

 

 

 

I've been in the same role for the same company for 15 years, the last 8.5 of these years have been worked from home. There is a statement on my contract that I can be required to work from other locations within reasonable travel distance from my home.

 

Whilst your working location has been from home As outlined in your statement above ( further down the threads in an answer to Emmzzi you state your contract states your work is from home) whats highlighted above doesn't state that it states you can be required to work from other locations within reasonable travel distance from your home. which is totally different to the statement further down to Emmzzi.

 

If your contract actually states home based the question is, is a 2.05 hour travel distance unacceptable? you have stated that you have done this previously for meetings etc so agrreing at least 3 days in the office could be deemed reasonable. That's only my opinion irrespective of if I would be willing to do that whilst raising children.

 

There are areas to address for exmple child care constraints and the impact the requests being made may or may not have, however it is for both sides to compromise.

 

Would you have grounds to take redundancy? On a legal side I have no idea but the company are not making you redundant unless I'm missing something you stated that you feel they are trying to bring the job in house that's totally different from the position is redundant here's some pennies.

They are enforcing parts of contracts as unsavory as it seems. They may as a good will thing pay a redundancy (maybe)

 

It all comes down to is the company acting outside of the agreed contract? Is the request reasonable?

 

And I'm going to ask a serious question Emmzzi made a valid final post re travel. As the business plan side has failed go back with the travel plan should that be refused raise a grievance due to unreasonable requests as other alternatives are not being looked at, as that will take the matter out of your direct managers hands.

 

You state there is global restructuring unfortunately to remain competitive organisations have to change as does the workforce it's basic economics.

 

I work at a company that restructures at least twice a year and if colleagues can but wont compromise the company will terminate the previous employment contract reinstate a new contract should you refuse the contract then it's bye bye

 

I'm getting the feeling this is more about a change being thrust upon you throwing the commitments and feelings as a parent into termoil take time to look and work through other angles before chucking away your job.

 

 

 

Cheers Bill


All information given above is purely my own opinion. Some based on personal experience. Where backed up by case files I will make that known. However, until then please take all of what I say with a pinch of salt and accept it only as a reference. :madgrin::madgrin::madgrin:

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Why is this board so keen to have grievances as first option instead of just sitting down and discussing the options? Must love paperwork.....

 

"My job is home based. You seem to want an office based person. Were you thinking of making the homebased position redundant? If the package was reasonable I'd be interested in talking about that."

 

All done.


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Drag it for as long as you can and when they're about to dismiss you on medical ground then you can resign.

I know many caggers would think this is immoral, but the matter of the fact is that they mercilessly want to get rid of you, so I would give them a good run for their money.

 

 

We don't know if that is the fact of the matter. If I wanted rid of her, I'd have done it by now by changing the job description and creating a redundancy.

 

Generally we also don't encourage a) fraud and b) wasting NHS time and resources on this board.


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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We don't know if that is the fact of the matter. If I wanted rid of her, I'd have done it by now by changing the job description and creating a redundancy.

 

Generally we also don't encourage a) fraud and b) wasting NHS time and resources on this board.

 

Thanks to you all, your feedback has been appreciated. Emmzzi thank you, my intention is exactly what you've pinpointed. I don't want to waste anyone's time or create any extra paperwork, just to be treated honestly and openly. Hopefully by asking this question, in writiting, tomorrow, I'll force an honest response out of him! I work in the private sector, not NHS, but my actions would be the same...perhaps less red tape to deal with where I am, so I guess I should be thankful!

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Sorry, I meant wasting NHS resources by pretending to be ill - that's the worst crime in my book!

 

Come back and tell us the response? If it isn't what you need then next step may be a formal flexible working request....


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Why is this board so keen to have grievances as first option instead of just sitting down and discussing the options? Must love paperwork.....

 

Fair point I think to be fair both ways though for many grievence has been the only way forwards or just the threat has been enough for the employer to agree compromises. I don't think anyone wants paperwork just differing experiences im sure you would agree can lead people holding onto that as an option.

 

I would only advise grievance if all other options failed to get the employer talking.

 

 

"My job is home based. You seem to want an office based person. Were you thinking of making the homebased position redundant? If the package was reasonable I'd be interested in talking about that."

 

All done.

I Like :smile::smile::smile::smile::smile::smile:

 

Bill


All information given above is purely my own opinion. Some based on personal experience. Where backed up by case files I will make that known. However, until then please take all of what I say with a pinch of salt and accept it only as a reference. :madgrin::madgrin::madgrin:

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Sorry, I meant wasting NHS resources by pretending to be ill - that's the worst crime in my book!

 

Come back and tell us the response? If it isn't what you need then next step may be a formal flexible working request....

 

I've written my letter, asking for a response in five days, so I'll come back and let you know what transpires!

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Remember to think about what happens next. Presumably you would need to find another job. Going into the office 3 days a month doesn't sound like very much.


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If nothing of good comes out you could use another trick to buy more time and get some money out of them: go sick for stress.

Drag it for as long as you can and when they're about to dismiss you on medical ground then you can resign.

I know many caggers would think this is immoral, but the matter of the fact is that they mercilessly want to get rid of you, so I would give them a good run for their money.

 

 

This very poor advice indeed.

 

Apart from it being morally reprehensible, NHS resources are needed for those with genuine mental health issues, and absence for stress is unlikely to endear the individual to any potential new employer.

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