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Part time request - long wait for decision

Discussion in 'Part-time and job share' started by aspera, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. aspera

    aspera New commenter

    I'm a primary school teacher, currently on maternity leave with my first child and I have requested to go back to work 4 days a week when I return (in January next year). My mat leave cover consists of a job share - 4 days for one lady and 1 day for another. I made the request during a face to face meeting before the classes were allocated for the new academic year, so probably about 2 months ago. I said that I would also put the request in writing, but my Head told me there was no need. He also said that he would be in touch during the Autumn term to let me know his decision, but he was quite negative about it, saying there are no part time roles at the moment, and it costs more for a job share than for a full time teacher. I'm 80% sure he will turn my request down. The thing is, I really need to get childcare sorted for my little boy, before there are no spaces left, so I need to know how many days I will need him looking after. I don't want to hassle my Head, I know he's had a stressful year and I'm worried it'll irritate him into saying no! Even if I wait till the Autumn term for a decision, what does that mean? Surely teachers won't be looking for new jobs until the end of October, which is much too late. Bit stuck about what to do! Any advice?
  2. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    With my cynical head on, I am not surprised your HT was quick to assure you than there was no need to put your request in writing! Currently, it only has the status of an informal request and the Head is not bound by statute on how the request should be managed.

    You need to repeat the request in writing, following the guidance from ACAS in making Flexible Working requests. A formal request mandates the Headteacher to respond in accordance with the statutory guidance. There are only eight business reasons why a request may be refused.

    Refusal of a request for flexible working may amount to indirect sex discrimination. This is now well-established in case law.



    Try to get your application in before the end of term. There is a statutory time limit of 3 months for the application to be considered, including any appeal and it takes no account of school summer holidays! If you wait till the autumn term to start the process, you will be hard-pushed to be able to arrange childcare in time. I wonder if that's what he's banking on? :rolleyes:
  3. aspera

    aspera New commenter

    Thanks for your reply! I've been googling, and the NUT seem to discourage making a statutory request unless absolutely necessary...? Will it look like I am trying to force the issue if I now submit a formal request?
  4. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    The employer has no duty to act on the request unless it's a statutory one. The HT can't get out of following the guidance if a formal written request is made.

    Give the ACAS helpline a ring and chat it through with them. (Number on website) Their advisers are very knowledgeable and helpful.

    Statute exists to afford protection to individuals. Why shouldn't you 'force the issue'? To make a request and to have it properly considered is your right - so that women like you, with small children, don't end up being lost to the workforce.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    The disadvantage of a formal request is that you can only make one such request in a year. It doesn't seem likely that a request is any more likely to succeed later on. Given the maternity cover arrangements, it seems that it might be quite difficult for them to argue against a 4:1 split, since that's what's currently in place.
    So I think it makes sense to make the request formal. You can always accompany the formal request with a note explaining that childcare will be booking up, so you need to have the timescale.

    Meanwhile, I'd be talking to childcare providers about places - some might be happy to hold open a place on the basis of it being either 4 or 5 days - it might be rather harder if it were a bigger difference.
  6. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    I have someone returning from maternity in Feb 19. Her flexible working pattern has been agreed - so she could book chidcare. I don't want to cause anxiety, but you should put the formal request in now.

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