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taratill
taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6307
Experience:  15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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Hi. My wife has been working part time for the same employer

Resolved Question:

Hi. My wife has been working part time for the same employer for a number of years and has always had a flexible arrangement to cover child care. She works in a Childcare Nursery. Her employer has completely changed her working hours. She used to work mornings only from Tue to Fri, with a Monday off. Her employer has changed this to working afternoons only Mon to Fri. My wife has tried to re-arrange childcare etc to cope with these changes and has managed to arrange so that she can do the Tue to Fri afternoons. But we have been unable to arrange anything for the Mon. My wife has also managed to have a colleague agree to carry out the Mon afternoon hours (in addition to her own Mon morning hours, so this colleague works all day Mon). However, the employer is insisting that my wife works the Mon afternoon. Does my wife have any rights?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  taratill replied 2 years ago.
taratill :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. How long has she worked there for?

Customer:

She has worked there for over 5 years, basically ever since she went back to work once our 8 year old started nursery at 3.

Customer:

I am not able to chat as I work in an open plan office, let me know if you would like more information

taratill :

Before the change in hours has she always had the same hours of work and are these set out in her contract? Was she given any formal notice of a change in her hours?

Customer:

yes, she has always worked the same hours and from time to time when asked to she has worked the odd extra couple of hours here and there. Her contract of employment is very standard and does not actually state that she has a certain number of contracted hours. Because it is a nursery (privately owned) that is only open in school term time, the change in hours was communicated to my wife by letter after the school summer holidays started. Once this was communicated she entered into dialogue with the employer about the changes and the fact these had a significant impact on child care for our children (I work full time). My wife was able to make arrangements with her mother (she is our child care helper), so that she is (with considerable unheaval) able to adhere to the imposed changes for the days of Tue , Wed, Thu and Fri. There is nothing at all we can do about the Monday though. My wife spoke to a colleague who has been given Mon morning hours whether she would be able to work the Mon afternoon too, and as she wants more hours than she was given, she is more than happy to work both Mon morning and afternoon. Yet the employer is still saying my wife has to work Mon to Fri. as far as I can see we have done all we can to comply and ensure those shifts can be adhered to . it seems the employer is possibly trying to "show Who's boss".

taratill :

How long ago was she asked to change her hours.

Customer:

she wasn't asked, there was no negoation, she was simply told here's your hours starting September. Her last day at work was Fri 19 July, so she received her letter during the following week and in the days that followed entered into dialogue about the letter. Incidentally, as far as my wife was concerned, getting her colleague to do the Mon afternoon shift was actually agreed by her employer. but the employer is now saying she has to work Mon to Fri.

Customer:

That agreement by the way was conducted through the exchange of text messages.

Customer:

My wife did not keep the texts since she naively assumed all was agreed.

taratill :

Has the employer said they will dismiss her if she refuses?

Customer:

No mention of being dismissed. The employer is simply saying these are you hours and ignoring my wife's comments about not having childcare for Mondays.

Customer:

By the way, this whole episode is causing my wife a lot of anxiety and she is getting more and more worried about it.

taratill :

Ok your employer cannot enforce an unreasonable change of terms upon your wife. They would need to demonstrate sound business reasons a ) for the change in hours in the first place and b) for insisting she works the monday particularly given that she seems to have found a reasonable solution,. I would suggest that she submits a formal written grievance to the emloyer to states that this amounts to a unilateral variation in terms as she has not been consulted with or given proper written notice and is unlawful. She should also state that the change is also potentially indirectly sex discrimination as it is more likely to effect badly working women with young children than men.

taratill :

She should state that she cannot work the monday and ask what the employer proposes to do if she does not. She should state that if she ends up being dismissed or forced to resign she will have no alternative but to claim in the employment tribunal.

taratill :

Hopefullly this will concentrate the employers mind and they will realise she can't be strong armed and change their minds.

taratill :

If you have any further questions please do ask.

Customer:

I thought that would be the case. Thanks for your help. If I need to come back to you do I come back to this website and specifically ask for you?

taratill :

Yes please , ask for me by name and I will pick it up.

taratill :

I would be grateful if you would also take the time to rate my answer so that I can be credited for my time.

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