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Flexi working denied after maternity

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by MissGoodison, May 12, 2017.

  1. MissGoodison

    MissGoodison New commenter

    So I've just come back from my meeting to discuss dropping my days from 5 days to 3 days. Baring in mind I'm support staff and not a teacher, my request has been denied.My job is basically a glorified TA, I run intervention sessions in the morning tutor, take kids out of class at the request of teachers which NEVER happened as they would just keep me in as a TA and run a session one day a week for an hour after school. The reasons given were 1.no one to cover the two days 2.They can't distribute my work to other members of staff and 3. Can't offer to the same quality as in other departments with full time staff...

    No alternative has been given to me, just a point blank no but my issue is due to the cost of childcare I wouldn't be able to afford to feed my child if I was working full time hours, all my wages would be going to childcare. Additionally a male teacher in my department was allowed to drop one day after the birth of his daughter when our old head was there.

    Despite saying how important my job is they haven't covered me the whole time I've been off, surely if it was so important they would have covered me either by agency or by getting a TA to cover my job?There is a TA who has an English degree which is no different to myself so she could simply do my job no problem?

    I've thought about proposing being moved to another role, I would literally be a cleaner if it meant part time hours, so that my job could be advertised as full time as a reason given for why no one wants my job is that two days isn't worth it for people?

    Honestly I'm devastated about this, I can't look after my child if I'm full time magic extra money out of thin air...can I claim indirect sexual discrimination do you think?I'm obviously going to appeal...
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Unfortunately you're not the first person to assume you could return part-time and found this is not automatically granted. My daughter-in-law is finding similar problems and the issue of child care is a big one if required to work f/t apart from actually wanting to spend some time with your child.

    Doubt you could argue a case either, as they have kept your job open and are offering you the same terms and conditions as the one before leaving for maternity leave.
    If your post hasn't been covered during your absence and they've just received their budget allocations for next year, the cynic in me wonders if this may not be a tactic to simply 'lose' your post through a backdoor.

    Only advice I can suggest is to contact HR and your Union as to exacatly what your rights and options are.
    needabreak and T34 like this.
  3. MissGoodison

    MissGoodison New commenter

    But legally they have to offer me the same position and hours don't they?Surely the fact that my role hasn't been covered at all refutes their claim that the quality wouldn't be there and can't offer the same as other departments when I've been off for a year and nothing has been done at all? Would you not also consider the detrimental effect it has in that I would literally be unable to put food in my child's mouth because they want me to work 5 instead of 3?
  4. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    As far as I know, you are entitled to return to the job that you had when you went on mat leave. You are also entitled to request a change in days/hours. The school, however, do not have to agree to any changes. As Lara says, they have to consider their budget and make the best use of their resources. They will also not be interested in your childcare costs and you don't know what your colleague's circumstances were, that enabled his request to be granted. Unless you are aware of all the circumstances, claiming indirect sexual discrimination would probably not be wise. Also, you say that thishappened when a previous head was in post. The new one doesn't have to do what the old one did.

    If your role hasn't been covered in your absence, they may well be considering a restructure, or might wish to rationalise the support staff team.

    You should consult your union, because they will be able to advise you as to whether you have a case and if not, what alternatives you might have.​
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. MissGoodison

    MissGoodison New commenter

    I do know the circumstances of my colleague actually, his wife is a doctor and earns more money than him so she went back to work while he requested part time in order to look after the baby when she wasn't in nursery.

    Surly it would be better for the budget if they gave me part time?I would only b earning about £700 on part time so the school would be saving around £7,000 a year. And I thought that childcare costs filter into the idea that you suffer a disadvantage as a result of not being able to meet the requirement or practice?As well as the idea that my employer requires something of me that puts me, in particular as a woman, at a disadvantage as the primary care normally falls to the woman?
  6. T34

    T34 Lead commenter

    Schools have a budget cut this year (and probably for each following year into the distant future).
    They have to lose jobs, and TAs will be the first to go.
    It's got to be done by either redundancy or resignation.
    Think on.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. MissGoodison

    MissGoodison New commenter

    I'm not a TA though I'm a subject specialist?We currently have about 15 TA's at the school but none of them have been removed?
  8. mrmatt73

    mrmatt73 Occasional commenter

    As a former Head of ours used to say when turning down similar requests from staff: "Your request is not fitting with business needs". But they seemed to pick and choose who they allowed to drop days. I hope you can get something sorted out.
  9. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Right - and breathe, everyone! :)

    Pretty please from me - PLEASE don't give posters information about flexible working or employment rights in general until or unless you have checked the accuracy of the information you are giving from e.g. union websites, ACAS or the Citizens Advice website. There is some misinformation in the answers given to the OP which, whilst well-meaning, is not helpful to her cause.

    Always always questions before answers:

    1. Did you have sufficient service to be eligible for a flexible working request, and
    2. Did you make a formal request in writing?
  10. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. MissGoodison

    MissGoodison New commenter

    Hi thank you, I seem to just be getting more doom and gloom which isn't making me feel better...and yes I have been there for over two years and I put my request in writing
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

  13. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    Don't you get more tax credits for working over 30 hours? And aren't they supposed to pay towards childcare? (Not sure just curious!)
  14. MissGoodison

    MissGoodison New commenter

    I'm not entitled to tax credits and I think I can claim childcare vouchers but that wouldn't make a difference to me honestly as my wages are so poor I hardly get taxed
  15. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

  16. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    You didn't need to have been there for two years but - tick - you are eligible.

    If you made your request in writing then you have made a formal request, which can only be made once per year. (Had you only made an informal request, I would have suggested you solemnly make a formal request!)

    Before you appeal, read the statutory guidance from ACAS very carefully. There are only eight specific business reasons why an employer can refuse the request.

    When you appeal, you need to address the reasons for the refusal and explain why the procedure followed and therefore the refusal are unlawful. I always suggest to people, when they plan their flexible working request, that it helps to anticipate the reasons they might refuse and suggest solutions to how they might be overcome. It may be that you can slip this into the Appeal by saying: "You failed to give due regard to the fact that..."

    The employer's flat 'No' suggests to me that he may not have acted within the guidance of the legislation - but have a look for yourself.

    In respect of your query about sex discrimination - it is the case that a refusal of flexible working has indeed been shown to be indirect sex discrimination. This is the introduction of a 'provision, criterion or practice' that puts women, in particular, at a disadvantage and you, specifically. An employer has a defence, if it can show there was a 'legitimate business reason' for the refusal.

    You know the facts of your case better than anyone. You would need to show why there was no 'legitimate business reason' for the refusal. It may be (of course) that you DO have a unique role which would not be possible to fulfil if you worked part-time. Consider it, at least.

    Read the Guidance; get your ducks in a row and then call your union. The step would be to raise a formal grievance, in the first instance, about a failure to follow the statutory guidance and a complaint of indirect sex discrimination.


    If you want to pick brains over the weekend of how you might anticipate and address reasons for refusal, to put to the HT as things that have not been considered, come back. We have great brains here!

    Reasons for starters:
    1. The school did not appoint temporarily to my role while I was on ML. Please explain why it would be detrimental to the school if I were to return to that role part-time.
    2. Please explain what steps you took, before refusal, to ascertain whether anyone would be available to take on a 0.4 job-share of this role. Did you make any internal enquiries? Did you advertise externally or audit the numbers of vacancies for people who work in my role?
    etc etc...
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
    Piranha and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. Tinycat1234

    Tinycat1234 Established commenter

    Sorry to hear you're in a pickle! It's such a hard situation to be in, especially when you want to just enjoy your last days of Mat leave.

    As other poster has said, be really careful where you take advice from. There are so many presumptions around the right to return part time. And as for the right to return to the same post, this is also slightly complicated. I would ONLY go through your union. I would speak to them at each step of the way. It's always a good idea to 'Informally' request before you put anything in writing.

    There any many rumours around some working right, that are actually quite complicated... I always thought you had the right to have time off if you're child was ill. Again I found it's much more complicated than this....
  18. MissGoodison

    MissGoodison New commenter

    Thank you so much for those ideas, I've been trying to come up with solutions...I just think it odd that they would literally say to me"We can't offer the same quality of intervention as other subjects if your part time" when for a year there has been none at all. Surely it would be better for me to do three days than no days at all?in addition they apparently externally advertised my job while I was off but no one was interested or "we wouldn't put them in a class room and you did such a good job last year"....as for not being able to distribute my work, could I use the fact that there are others who are physically doing the same thing as me in different parts of the school so in essence one of them (there are around 10 people who are free in the mornings) could simply take my groups for the two 20 minute morning sessions as long as I have prepared all materials meaning they would literally just need to deliver the work?
  19. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Another reason to argue in your appeal.
  20. MissGoodison

    MissGoodison New commenter

    "If you want to pick brains over the weekend of how you might anticipate and address reasons for refusal, to put to the HT as things that have not been considered, come back. We have great brains here!"

    Could anyone suggest any thing I might want to anticipate and address for a reason for refusal at all?I'm trying to think of every argument against, no one being there for cover the two days, quality not being the same as a full time member of staff and not being able to distribute work amongst my department?
    GLsghost likes this.

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