Refused request to go PT-what now?

(24 Posts)
missali Fri 17-Jan-14 08:43:28

I am a teacher currently on maternity leave. I originally met with the head in June/July to request a pt return to work after maternity leave. I confirmed my request that I had made in person by email and had no response. I have just chased him up as am due to go back after Easter and he has said no... I am awaiting union guidance, but also aware that there may be timescales I need to keep to...

Mushypeasandchipstogo Fri 17-Jan-14 16:56:12

I had exactly the same problem 10 years ago! I had to go in to the Head with my union rep and eventually I was allowed to go part -time as they had not given me a valid reason as to why I couldn't. I had made a record of all our conversations and this had helped.
However, I believe that the rules have now changed and that they don't have to allow you to go PT. (Several of my colleagues have left because of this.) Do speak to your union though just to confirm. Good luck!

PiratePanda Fri 17-Jan-14 16:58:15

They don't have to allow you. They have to give your request serious consideration, but they can still say no. Not sure there's much else you can do really.

missali Fri 17-Jan-14 17:22:30

Thankyou. I am currently awaiting guidance on how to appeal the decision from my union.

Littlefish Fri 17-Jan-14 17:28:17

PiratePanda is correct. I have known two head teachers who did not allow staff to return on a part-time basis if they had previously been full time.

yippeekiyay2 Fri 17-Jan-14 17:37:43

Hi when I had my dd I was teaching and initially my h/t told me it 'didn't suit the school' for me to be p/t - however, the Union became involved and p/t work was granted - since I have left and there is a new head many of the staff are p/t.
Depending on the type of school you work in I can see no 'business' reason why you couldn't perform your job just as well p/t - there are many, many teachers who share classes, or do PPA cover instead of having their own class, or who work most days but have shorter hours etc. - there should be a justifiable reason why you can't be p/t...
good luck smile

missali Fri 17-Jan-14 17:40:02

We have many pt staff (secondary) and no one has ever been turned down before!! Guess I'm most frustrated that I first requested this before I even went on mat leave and it's taken til now to get a response....

noblegiraffe Fri 17-Jan-14 17:43:41

If they have other part time staff then they will find it very difficult to give a business reason as to why you can't go part time. It could be seen as discrimination.

Ask on the TES forum for advice, they have exemplar letters on how to apply, the timelines for a response (which it sounds like your school didn't meet) and how to word an appeal.

littleredsquirrel Fri 17-Jan-14 17:48:15

Or in fact that could be the very reason why they can't allow you to go part time. If there are too many part timers that could cause operational difficulties. There is no right to work part time. when you took on your contract you took it on as a full time contract. You have the right to make a request (which it doesn't sound like you've actually done in the correct way) and you have a right to have that request properly considered but the legislation doesn't give anyone a right to work part time.

How can it possibly be discrimination to allow some and not others unless the other applicants who have been allowed are male? what could be indirect discrimination would be a blanket rule that everyone must work full time but that is a rule capable of justification.

Kundry Fri 17-Jan-14 17:57:45

I work in a team (not teaching) where historically we have acceded to a lot of requests to go part time. Unfortunately this has led to a situation where we can let anyone else drop hours or go part time as the service was becoming fragmented. It was actually easier for us to give a business reason rather than harder due to the number of part-timers we had already.

Obviously the first person to be turned down took it v hard as she had assumed her request would automatically be granted.

However all you have to do is give it serious consideration - which we did - but the team is no longer in the same position as it was when the other requests were granted so legally we were entitled to say no. One requester managed to switch jobs when another left but another had to find a new job. We were sad to lose her but ultimately we are have to actually provide the service and we couldn't do it with more part-timers.

This may be the reason your request has been turned down although others hadn't been.

noblegiraffe Fri 17-Jan-14 18:10:37

't is important to be aware that where a woman's request to change her working hours is unjustifiably refused by the employer, she may be able to claim indirect sex discrimination under the Equality Act. The same applies where a woman's request to work flexibly on her return from maternity leave is refused by her employer. In either case, the employer's refusal will only amount to discrimination if it cannot be justified, i.e. shown to be a proportionate way of achieving a legitimate aim. Discrimination law can be complex and you should seek advice from your union rep'

From www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/basic-rights-work/categories-workers/01-part-time-workers/part-time-work-your-rights
Which also has the info you need on timelines, legitimate reasons for refusal etc.

littleredsquirrel Fri 17-Jan-14 18:53:42

the key is that little phrase "unjustifiably refused"

if the school can't accommodate more part time workers then whilst requiring a worker to work full time could be indirect sex discrimination it will be justified.

noblegiraffe Fri 17-Jan-14 18:58:53

The OP doesn't appear to have been given a reason, simply a no.

And even if 'we can't accommodate more part time workers' is the reason, she can challenge that with details of how it can be made to work.

missali Fri 17-Jan-14 19:45:46

No reason given as yet...

missali Fri 17-Jan-14 19:46:37

Sorry pressed send to soon. The email just said that I had a full timetable so they needed me back full time...

littleredsquirrel Fri 17-Jan-14 19:55:25

But you also haven't followed the flexible working process have you? Follow the process, put in the request formally and see what comes back.

What are you asking for by way of part time hours? If you want it to be accommodated you are likely to need to say you'll cut your hours to 2.5 days or less otherwise they will struggle to find a new teacher to jobshare with you. I have seen so many where people want to work "4 days a week job share".

Charmingbaker Fri 17-Jan-14 19:58:35

Missali - has your request been taken to the governors? My head initially told me no verbally, but I insisted I needed to go p/t, head then said they would take it to the governors amd it was up to them, a few days later I was told I could return p/t. However I had this discussion as soon as I told them I was pregnant so allowances could be made for future timetabling. I also don't think their was a meeting with the governors, I think my head knew I was going to push for p/t as far as I could go.

missali Fri 17-Jan-14 20:02:52

I emailed the head confirming my request that we had discussed in a face to face meeting in July. Is an email not classed as a formal request then?

Orangeanddemons Fri 17-Jan-14 20:03:28

If they refuse they have to give you a reason as to how it would negatively impact on the business.

I'm a teacher, nearly everyone I work with is part time. We are a huge secondary, and it is readily granted.

If every other school can do it, there's no reason why yours can't surely?

missali Fri 17-Jan-14 20:04:32

Request not gone to the governors yet. I am waiting to hear from my union about the appeals process.

noblegiraffe Fri 17-Jan-14 20:06:06

Secondary teachers don't usually job-share, however they will need to cover the rest of your timetable somehow.. I can see why they would be reluctant to drop you to part-time mid-year, could you request part-time from September to get around that objection?

missali Fri 17-Jan-14 20:12:25

I would happily go back ft until summer if the head guarantees pt in Sept, but he won't even commit to that. I am going to suggest this again to him when I appeal his decision.

Orangeanddemons Sat 18-Jan-14 08:52:57

Aaah, missed that bit about timetable.

I went back from mat leave in May. Taught full time until We broke up. Then went part time in September. That seems reasonable.

yippeekiyay2 Sat 18-Jan-14 22:07:50

I can't quite remember but I believe you do have to put in a formal written request, and it may have to be on a particular form but I could be wrong or it could have changed from when I was dealing with it...if you're a member of a teaching union they usually have info packs and support stuff available online and also to post out.

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