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Flexible Working Request


becsltd
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I currently have such a lot of staff who work family friendly hours. Some work 2 days / 3 days / 4 days.

I have a few staff that also work school hours only and somebody that works term time only (despite being open all year round)

 

However, I have now realised that if I continue to let staff work flexibly it is going to seriously affect the continuity and consistency for the children and other full time staff.

 

One of my staff members has requested to work 3 full days per week and i have said that it is unlikely that it will be approved but have asked her to put her application in so that I can consider all avenues.

 

She is now liaising with citizens advice and acas and has been spouting sexual discrimination at me!!!

Considering I have currently got 3 pregnant staff members in the same nursery I feel that I need to draw the line now.

 

I do not have any flexible working / family friendly policies or procedures. Do any of you have any policies or procedures that I could see which will give me an idea. ALSO have any of you been in a similar situation where you have had to reject somebody's application for flexible working despite a large number of other staff working flexibly.

 

Any advice would be really appreciated as I really don't know where to go from here and it sends a shiver down my spine when she is talking about sexual discrimination!!

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she is talking about sexual discrimination!!

 

I'm not an expert, and I have no experience in this area- but one question I need to ask .... are all your other 'flexible workers' male?

 

She may/may not have an argument on some levels - but sexual discrimination ?

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if she is already certain set hours for which she has been contracted then unless there are valid reasons ( ill health ,serious medical reasons/appointments I can not see how she can call the shots. If she was taken on for the hours worked and terms then i would think as an employer you are within your rights to say no to flexibility, how important is this member of staff - how much does she want to be there ?? have you done an apprasial recently ??

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Hi firstly look at their contract of employment that both you and they should have signed. This should clearly define on what terms they were employed and any conditions. Do you also belong to any associations such as PSLA or NDNA to contact for advice, or contact ACAS yourself. I fully understand how difficult it is to cover all staff's requests for flexible working, however the business does still have to be up and running with consistent and reliable staff. I really don't know of many jobs where it's almost accepted that you can just ask to change hours/days etc as it is in Early Years, with very little regard for the impact this might have. I think it might also be a good idea to have another person with you to witness any discussions you may have with them from now on, as it appears from your post that communications may have broken down.

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i think (if i can remember what my husband says....humm perhaps i should listen occassionally!) that you must as an employer consider the request for flexible working but you have the right to refuse if it would be detrimental to the business. You need to record your conversations and respond stating why you have refused the request...i would imagine the acas website has the info on it.

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Thank you for your replies. I have just re read over my original post and I realised that I didn't make it clear that she is actually pregnant and is requesting part time hours (3 days) when she returns from maternity leave.

 

Because our turnover is so low we have lots of staff who stay on and go on to have babies, hence the large number of staff already working reduced hours from when they originally started.

 

Like I said, we currently have 3 pregnant staff and I have a feeling that they will all request part time hours. I feel that I am justified in rejecting her application (when she finally makes it formally!) but I started to lack confidence when she started talking about discrimination.

 

She is not a particularly valuable member of staff. She has settled down recently but has been quite tempermental in the past and negative about her job role. She has had her appraisal recently which went ok but this was before she was pregnant.

 

It is her request for working hours policies which is worrying me and I feel that I need to draw one up this weekend. Does anybody have anything that might help?

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Hi, this is taken from directgov website, it obviously need to be handled very carefully and I would seek professional advice

 

Anyone can ask their employer for flexible work arrangements, but the law provides some employees with the statutory right to request a flexible working pattern.

You must:

  • be an employee, but not an agency worker or in the armed forces
  • have worked for your employer for 26 weeks' continuously before applying
  • not have made another application to work flexibly under the right during the past 12 months

You will then have the statutory right to ask if you:

  • have or expect to have parental responsibility of a child aged under 17
  • have or expect to have parental responsibility of a disabled child under 18 who receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • are the parent/guardian/special guardian/foster parent/private foster carer or as the holder of a residence order or the spouse, partner or civil partner of one of these and are applying to care for the child
  • are a carer who cares, or expects to be caring, for an adult who is a spouse, partner, civil partner or relative; or who although not related to you, lives at the same address as you

Under the law your employer must seriously consider an application you make, and only reject it if there are good business reasons for doing so. You have the right to ask for flexible working - not the right to have it. Employers can reasonably decline your application where there is a legitimate business ground.

Employees who do not have the legal right to request flexible working are, of course, free to ask their employer if they can work flexibly. Many employers are willing to consider such requests.

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I have just recently had to deal with the same request from a member of staff who is due back off maternity. She request to come back to work early therfore the law states she must give 8 weeks notice of return. Also as for requesting Flexible working She has the right to request it, but does not have the right for it to be given. She must put her request in writing, she can also complete a BERR FORM ( Dept for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform ( you can download a copy)

Then you have to invite her to a meeting (in writing) asking her to attend at a time and place, also inform her that she has the right to to be accompanied by a work colleague,She must inform you of her attendance on reciept of the letter and who she would like to accompany her at the meeting. You must have someone who takes notes at the meeting with you.You will discuss her requirement at the meeting asking her how she proposes you cover her duties on the days she is requiring not to work.

Don't discuss at the meeting just make notes. If you check the BERR form it will give you more of an idea as to what questions to ask. If you need any further help after your meeting feel free to ask! GOOD lUCK!

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