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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49773
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I would like advice in relation to an issue with my team

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I would like advice in relation to an issue with my team leader. I approached her with a request to reduce my full time 37 hour contract on the basis of me completing my CIPD qualification through one day a week masters course. They have been aware of my wanting to pursue this through my personal PDR's which i have monthly and on my interview for the position this was mentioned to them. Initially they had a course through the organisation on a Level 3 which i coukd not apply for as was unsuitable for me due to holding a higher academic certificate. I sought other ways to fund myself to complete the course ie through University. I approached my team leader on 2/9 and told her i had enrolled at a course and would she consider reducing my hours for me to pursue this, (bearing in mind there are 3 of my work collegues who have been granted this opportunity in the last year including my supervisor currently on a similar course) i was told to put this in an email as it will require a meeting to properly discuss this which i did on 5/9 and got an email on 20/9 for a one to one meeting where i was told due to business needs and demands they will not be supporting me in this as they need people at work full time, and not enough notice for them to plan on how to cover the gap for a course due to start in October and my approach just speaking to her and not having dicussed this with her the moment i thought of going to university or was looking for other ways to fund myself. I was then told thats how it is, the line manager has agreed with this and you will need to honour your contract. I was then told to think about it and another option will be to go in the afternoon or morning then come back to work or work early and leave late as long as I am still doing the full time hours but I am a mother also with a child who is less than 2 years old that I have to find worklife and mentioned to my team leader that if im unable to do my 37 hours then that leaves me with no option but to consider resigning in order to pursue this. I feel the decision was unfair and unethical and have been left with no room to challenge this even with my own line manager as i do not know how to approach and respond.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

How long have you been working there for please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have been working there for 10months

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Many thanks for your patience. What you have done is tried to apply for flexible working. The right to make a flexible working request applies to any employee who has been employed by the employer for at least 26 weeks.

When a formal request is made, an employer can only reject it on a limited number of grounds. These are:

· Planned structural changes

· The burden of additional costs

· A detrimental impact on quality

· The inability to recruit additional staff

· A detrimental impact on performance

· The inability to reorganise work among existing staff

· A detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand

· Lack of work during the periods the employee proposes to work

In addition, the employer has a duty to explain their rejection in writing. They must state why the specific business ground applies in the circumstances and include the key facts about their decision. These should be accurate and relevant to the reason used.

However, when selecting the ground for refusal the test is a subjective one on the part of the employer. If the employer considers that one of the grounds applies, then the test is satisfied. The test does not create any requirement of reasonableness into the employer's judgment. It would appear that only if the employer's view is based on incorrect facts, could the decision actually be challenged.

The other issue is that your main option of challenging this would have been through constructive dismissal which is where you are forced to resigns as a result of the employer’s unreasonable behaviour. However, you need more than 2 years’ service to be able to claim that and as you do not have it you cannot pursue such a claim. So your options on challenging this are really limited to an appeal of their decision or a formal grievance – both internal processes.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.

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