Need some advice on a flexible working issue – any HR bods who can help?

(6 Posts)
bunjies Fri 23-Nov-12 09:30:33

The thing is ScottishElle the issue isn't so much about my right to ask for flexible working more the fact my employer is trying to tell me it wasn't a permanent arrangement. Anyway, I'm going to email HR today using Youllscream's wording and see what they come back with.

Thanks for all your replies.

ScottishElle Thu 22-Nov-12 12:36:47

call the maternity action helpline, they are brilliant for free advice regarding flexible working rights etc!

bunjies Wed 21-Nov-12 17:09:44

I take on board the comment about the style. In my defence I wrote it when I was feeling somewhat aggrieved. I like what you've written youllscream.

Flowery, I'm pretty sure they didn't take into account the new role when considering application as it wasn't confirmed til after agreement.

Just feel shit as it looks like I'm going to lose my day off sad.

flowery Wed 21-Nov-12 14:53:39

What does your secondment agreement say about what you are entitled to at the end of your secondment? Are you entitled to return to a role on the same terms and conditions as you were on before the secondment started, or are you entitled to a role on the terms and conditions of your secondment role.

When you make a flexible working request, although it is a permanent change, and can't just be revoked, it is based on the job you are in, so that doesn't mean you are automatically entitled to keep those hours/terms when changing role.

However as this is a secondment it's a bit messier than that, and I agree firm clarification one way or another as to whether the application was also being considered and accepted for your substantive role would have been sensible from your employer.

YoullScreamAboutItOneDay Wed 21-Nov-12 14:35:34

If your letter said that the change was permanent, it sounds like the change was permanent. We'd really need to see the whole paper trail to be sure though.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but personally I wouldn't phrase your letter quite as you have. I that, for your first attempt at sorting this out by reference to the paperwork, it would be better to sound a little less legal and a bit more everyday. Sounding all legalistic and formal sometimes just makes HR clamp down into grievance procedures and meetings more quickly than necessary. I would also stick to getting them to admit that their 'it was temporary' argument is rubbish before arguing about whether your manager can assess a new request properly.

I would say something like:

You have said that the change in my hours was just applicable to my secondment. I have checked back through the paperwork and this isn't the case. My flexible working acceptance form says that the change was permanent. None of the documentation in relation to my secondment contradicts or amends that. I do not therefore think that it is necessary to put in a new request as my compressed hours continue at the end of my secondment.

That leaves the ball in their court to explain.

I agree that probably the new manager doesn't like compressed hours and is trying to 'get out of it', so I think the best thing you can do is keep an open dialogue with HR at this stage.

bunjies Wed 21-Nov-12 14:19:47

I wonder if there are any HR bods (or anyone really) who can advise me on a flexible working situation. I?m sorry it?s rather long.

I have been on secondment since 30/8/11 and have been on compressed hours since 1/1/12. They were agreed with my substantive line manager at the time and my current secondment manager. Whilst on secondment though my substantive role was restructured and I was placed into another job (not of my choosing) effective from 7/1/12 but I was allowed to continue with my secondment.

I am due to return to this new substantive role on 7/1/13 but when I had a familiarisation meeting with my new manager last week he told me, after I raised the issue of my changed hours, that they wouldn?t be agreed to by him or his manager and that I wouldn?t be able to carry on with them. I was a bit shock when I heard this as for a start I thought he is obliged to consider any application for flexible working fairly and on an individual basis. After his comments I certainly don?t have any confidence that he would do this. He said that this kind of arrangement ?doesn?t work for the team? but how he can make such a judgement about the role when it has been vacant since its creation in January is beyond me.

I contacted our HR team who told me I would have to reapply for flexible working as the arrangement was only applicable to the secondment period. I think they are wrong and this is how I was planning to respond:

You mention that the change in hours is related to the secondment role but this is neither documented on the Flexible Working Acceptance Form nor the letter I received from HR Services confirming the new hours;

You also state that the change in hours cannot be considered a permanent change but this directly contradicts the Flexible Working Acceptance Form I received which states that ?the change in your working pattern will be a permanent change to your terms and conditions of employment?. It also goes on to state that I ?have no right in law to revert back to [my] previous working pattern.? I take this to mean that the condition also applies to others;

Whilst I agree the letter I received in December 2011 confirming my new substantive role did not change my terms and conditions, the letter I then received on 6th January 2012 states my ?contractual working days will be revised? and ?All other terms and conditions...remain unchanged.?

Based on the above facts it is clear my contractual working hours have been changed with no other conditions attached regarding the duration of the arrangement. Therefore I challenge the assertion that if I wish to continue to work compressed hours I would need to make a further flexible working application to my new line manager, XXX. Furthermore, I do not have any confidence that he would assess my application individually or fairly as he has already stated to me that he would not agree to compressed hours as this is not something he or his manager, XXX, think works for the team. As the position I will be returning to has not been filled since its creation I do not understand this judgement when there is no precedent.

What I would like to know is am I right in my assessment of the situation based on the above? Also, if you do something for longer than a year can it be said to form part of your terms and conditions anyway?

Any advice would be gratefully received. I may not be able to respond to replies straight away but will do so as soon as I can. Thanks smile

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