Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Advice needed on employment/maternity rights

(10 Posts)
JessM Sat 13-Feb-16 07:31:41

Line managers should not say such things! They are the voice of the company when talking about such matters.
Glad she has got in touch with lots of agencies as that is the best way to find work.

Indinana Fri 12-Feb-16 23:45:32

Thanks Jess and Iam for your input. To be fair, the company has not said she would be unable to cope with the role as it is now. That was something her line manager said to her on a very informal basis. He was simply saying how much he understood why she didn't want to return full time, and added something like, 'to be honest, the role has changed a lot and now you'd be expected to be available to take calls at evenings and weekends in addition to being in the office full-time". As she is a single mum, that would clearly be extremely difficult.
But anyway she made it clear from the start that she would not want return to work full-time. In her words, 'I didn't go through all this to have a child for someone else to bring her up'. So she will be looking for other, part-time, employment. She has had lots of help and suggestions now from several agencies and I think she feels calmer about her situation.
Fingers crossed that she finds work sooner rather than later.

Iam64 Fri 12-Feb-16 18:47:29

I is unreasonable and discriminatory to say she wouldn't be able to manage the job. It feels like constructive dismissal because as JessM said, if she wasn't on mat leave they couldn't re-write her job description without negotiating the changed job description. I'd suggest she gives up her request for part time, finds a way of making it work in the short term, whilst looking for part time/job share elsewhere.

I am both disappointed and a bit surprised that flexible working seems more difficult to obtain now than it was 30 years ago. I understand that job share can create difficulties for employers but its sad so many young women find themselves discriminated against after/around maternity leave.

JessM Thu 11-Feb-16 19:22:06

Employers are allowed to turn down requests for flexible working - if business needs do not make it possible.
So they are within their right to turn this down.

However if she says she wants to come back and they are saying "you wouldn't be able to manage this job any more dear, what with being a single parent, because everyone knows single parents can't do calls in the evenings" is completely unreasonable and discriminatory.
In fact it might be a perfect job for a mum - suitable for some home working time.
In reality nobody is on the end of a phone 24/7 or even continuously during a normal working week. They are in meetings, talking to other clients, on holiday, on lunch etc etc

If they are saying the job has just got more demanding - what is the evidence? Are there other people doing the exact same job? Who has been doing the work while she has been on leave? How much are they being paid?

If she was in work they would not be able to suddenly significantly raise the requirements of the job without a negotiated change in job description and
possibly pay.
So I think appealing the thing about flexible working is not worth the struggle.
I think she should try to find a way to go back to work full time and then start looking for another job with nicer people. Look on the Mumsnet job site where people are deliberately thinking "flexible".

Indinana Thu 11-Feb-16 10:47:57

Yes, that is what I thought Nonnie. The problem would be proving that the job has changed - she only had that in an informal telephone conversation and her line manager would very likely deny he'd said that. And the job title and JD are very likely still the same - they've just increased targets dramatically which, let's face it, employers do all the time. It doesn't mean it's a 'new role'. The expectation of employees having to take calls during evenings and weekends is probably not detailed in the JD, so that would be hard to cite as grounds for constructive dismissal. They are very careful these days, as you say.

Nonnie Thu 11-Feb-16 10:39:41

Sorry, there should be a 'not' before 'sure'

Nonnie Thu 11-Feb-16 10:15:04

I am sure she has a case on anything apart from Constructive Dismissal because the role has changed making it impossible for her to do the job. Sounds possible to me but I would suggest she calls ACAS again and asks them if that is a possible way forward.

Apart from that her employer seems to have done everything correctly and followed the process exactly. Employers are generally very, very careful with women on maternity leave and will do everything to protect themselves.

I don't know about the extension to maternity leave but this is another question she could ask ACAS.

Very difficult situation all round.

Indinana Thu 11-Feb-16 10:12:26

Thank you ann. Yes she does feel let down. She is not, in all honesty, surprised that this has happened, but of course she just kept hoping against hope that things would work out. It's that horrible realisation that she has to start job hunting all over again - not an easy task in the current climate, and especially not easy in our neck of the woods.

annsixty Thu 11-Feb-16 09:54:32

Oh how upsetting for you all. Sadly she is not the first and she won't be the last this has happened to. I think these very long maternity leaves can be a poisoned chalice in that things change within the company and also someone else comes in to do it and the company are then reluctant to go back. This happened to the daughter of a friend and she was able to set up her own business working from home but this is a long and expensive process. Your D must feel she has been let down and possibly even deceived by her company. I cannot offer practical help just sympathy.

Indinana Thu 11-Feb-16 09:40:28

My DD's maternity leave is nearly at an end. Before her leave started she spoke with HR and said she would be looking for part-time hours when she returned. They intimated that there would probably be a PT admin post available for her, but that she should speak to them about it in October.
So in October she submitted her request for flexible working, and subsequently had a meeting with HR in early November. At the end of November she received a letter saying they had considered all options etc. etc. but had to turn down her request. They added, however, that the company would be restructuring in the New Year, and that they would therefore revisit her request in early February.
She received a letter yesterday saying that unfortunately they are still unable to offer her a part time post.
The reasons are valid. Her original role was as Business Development Manager and she had a portfolio of clients. It is not the sort of role that can be split as a job share and she understands this.
She spoke informally with her line manager a few days ago and he said that her role has changed significantly since she went on leave and that he completely understood it would be impossible for her to fulfill the role even if she went back full-time, because now she would be expected to take calls from clients and deal with their problems at any time, including outside of working hours. Impossible as a single mother of a young baby.
So their decision to not grant part-time hours is effectively terminating her employment. She has two weeks to appeal their decision.
A friend of hers, who is an employer, said she should request to extend her maternity leave to the full 12 months, which would mean she would continue to get WTC and give her a little more time to find another job.
She has also spoken to ACAS and CAB for advice, but it's not looking hopeful on the Appeal front. She has to give grounds for her appeal and, of course, these have to be 'new' grounds, as they have already responded to her original reasons.
So, what should she do? Should she request an extension of maternity leave now? I don't even know if it is too late for her to do that, whether it is something that should have been requested some time ago. Could she appeal, citing the informal telephone conversation she had with her line manager as grounds, i.e. that her original role has significantly changed and therefore it is impossible for her to return to that?
Sorry for the long post. Any help/suggestions would be very much appreciated.