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Flexible Working Request Likely to be refused - entitlement to Voluntary Redundancy?

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by willvandom, May 20, 2011.

  1. Hi

    I am really hoping someone can help me out and would be grateful for any advice.

    I am currently on Maternity Leave until September and made a Flexible Working Request to return at 0.5. My school seem to be trying to avoid making a formal refusal but have made it clear that they want me back in my previous post on my previous terms, or not at all. I believe an appeal would be unlikely to succeed and would likely unnecessarily sour relations with my school which I am keen to avoid for the sake of references. I am not adding more details here as I don't want to identify myself.

    My school are currently seeking applications for voluntary redundancies (although they would certainly have to hire someone to replace me as no-one in the school has the appropriate skill-set) - am I entitled to apply for this, rather than to resign? I will not go back on my current terms but I would like, of course, if possible, to avoid having to pay back my extra maternity allowance.

    Thanks again for any help anyone can offer - I will be contacting my union on Monday but it can take them a while to get back to me and I am bound (as far as my union have already advised) to resign by 31st May.

  2. I'm sorry - paragraphing does not seem to have worked on my Mac - 'Will' is me signing off, not the start of an abortive sentence!
  3. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    So to avoid paying back your enhanced maternity you would have to return full time ( I presume you were full time before leave) for 13 weeks.... or IF your 0.5 request was accepted for 26 weeks. There has to be a valid business reason given for their refusal, and that should be given formally - seek that. If your school is seeking redundancies then unless their requests are ring fenced to certain levels of staff there is no reason why you couldn't apply - You would still have to return for your 13 week period to retain your mat pay though.
  4. Thanks DaisysLot - I know they are looking for these redundancies to start from September so I wondered if I could avoid going back and paying back the money. I will certainly not return on my current contract (0.8) and it was made clear to me (informally) that they won't consider 0.5. I will make sure they formally turn the request down before resigning - do you happen to know why they might be trying to avoid turning it down? Just so I don't waster their time in appeals, maybe? Thanks very much for your reply.
  5. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    While you have the right to apply for flexible working when you have a child under 5, the school legally only has to consider it - but like I said they cannot just turn around and say 'No' - They have to give a good business reason for turning down the request. I can't predict what they might draw on as a reason to do that - Arguments that get upheld are typically to do with the teachers specialist area not being able to be covered by others, or disruption to the curriculum etc. I trust you have put your request in formally in a letter to the head and governors? Obviously I don't know what stage your school is at with their redundancy proposals - but typically staff are informed 6 months in advance of their contracts being terminated for redundancy - So I doubt anyone will be leaving September unless they have already been informed. My guess is that the school are hoping to avoid as many redundancies as possible and in publicisiing their intention hope for natural wastage through movement to other jobs and retirement.
  6. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    If you are considering applying for the voluntary redundancy, you don't want to be downgraded to 0.5!
    perhaps someone else can confirm this but I don't think that standard notice periods have to be observed for those who decide not to return after Maternity Leave.
    You might want to speak to someone at HR at the LA about your eligibility to be considered for voluntary redundancy whilston ML and how that affects the 13 week return qualifier for retaining maternity pay.
    If you can apply for VR, you could nominate the first day of the summer break as your return to work and will go back on 0.8 pay (or go back for the last week or so on 0.8). You'd already know by then if you'd been accepted for VR.

  7. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    They do unless you are not returning at all, or ONLY returning for the 13 week post leave period you are obliged to.
  8. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I suspect that they want you to find the 0.8 return unacceptable, causing you to resign and saving them redundancy pay for at least one member of staff.
  9. Thank you very much for your responses. DaisysLot, I have applied formally and I will make sure they refuse formally - I have been trying to work out their motives for avoiding this. So if I am not going to return at all, would I only have to give 8 weeks notice? I thought it was different for not returning after ML too, but my union said it was still May 31st. I think the VRs are being looked for from September due to over-staffing, but will check.

    Thanks for the advice, jubilee. I will call the LA on Monday too to try to find out more about VR entitlements. While I wish my school no ill-will, I don't feel they have tried particularly hard to accommodate me (I was very flexible about what basis and time I would return on) and I would like to know that I have looked into all options.
  10. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    With maternity you have 3 choices.... 1. Resign before taking leave with no intention of returning and no enhanced maternity pay, or similarly decide while on leave not to return at all. 2. Resign while on leave observing resignation deadlines and pay back any enhanced pay. 3. Return to work for 13 weeks and resign to retain your enhanced mat.

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