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flexible working hours? turned down :( can they?

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ringo110879 | 14:38 Fri 10th Feb 2006 | Jobs & Education
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Hi. My fiancee gave birth to our first child 4 weeks ago and i'm due to return to work next week. 2 weeks ago i made an application for flexible working under the flexible working act . I was previously working a tues-sat shift pattern with a 8am start time, it's worth pointing out that i am a hgv driver for exel which is a massive company. We have a 24hr a day 7 day a week transport operation. I requested that my hours be changed to a mon-fri basis starting any time between 21:00hr and 06:30hr. I gave my reason which was that my fiancee is returning to work at weekends so i needed to care for our child during this time. I had a meeting yesterday with the transport manager who denied my request on the basis that there isn't currently an available shift for the hours i requested and have therefore been placed back onto my original shift, bummer! I'm no expert with flexible workin requests but i would have thought that as there IS loads going out throughout the day that I would be given the shift. His reason was based on the fact that other drivers are already doing these loads. Do i have a right to appeal and do I have a legal right to be given first choice with these hours over other drivers without young children? Can i also point out that on his transport plan which he used to demonstrate that he had no available shift i wasn't planned in on any shift whatsoever and yet he said he could still offer me my previous hours, i thought if he could squeeze me in at 8am then why not any other time. Sorry that it is long winded but hopefully somebody can help as it is putting myself and my fiancee under a lot of pressure.

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The Employment Relations Act 2002 gives you the right to request flexible working hours but there is no automatic right for the request to be granted. An employer can refuse the request based on specific criteria which are explained in the following links, along with other information you may find useful in regard of pursuing any complaint etc.

http://workingfamilies.org.uk/asp/family_zone/fs_fw1_flexwork.asp
http://www.wmin.ac.uk/page-481
You can appeal against your employer�s decision, but you must do so within 14 days of the decision and in the prescribed format (there is a standard form to use, which your employer should have provided you with when they advised you of the decision). There are a number of grounds on which an employer can legitimately refuse a request for flexible working hours, such as if the employer cannot re-organise work among current staff, if it would result in additional costs to the employer or if there is not enough work during the hours the employee proposes to work. Employees with young children do not have a right to more flexible hours at the expense of employees who do not have (young) children, so your employer is not obliged to give you �first choice� of shifts over other employees. If, on appeal, your employer still refuses your request, you should seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau to see whether you have grounds for pursuing the matter in an Employment Tribunal (but this is only really possible where the employer has not followed proper procedure or has based their decision on incorrect facts) or a claim under the Sex Discrimination Act.

perhaps you could approach some of the people who are currently working the shift you want and ask if they would consider swapping - some of them probably just work those hours because they were given them not through any preference.


if they won't give you the names of these people, you could put a notice up in the staff room or some thing.

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The biggest problem i'm going to have is the fact that i've been offered a tues-sat shift which anybody working monday to friday wouldn't want to swop. To make matters worse i spoke to the manager again yesterday to discuss a temporary position within the warehouse until a suitable driving slot becomes available. Even in there they are not willing to offer me a monday-friday shift, i know full well that they are busy every day. Appears they just don't wanna play ball. If things don't imporove i'll be left with no choice but to leave :(

Perhaps you could contact the maternity alliance who should be abnle to give you some support (sorry i don't have their contact details!)

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flexible working hours? turned down :( can they?

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