‘Think like an employer’ when requesting flexible working after maternity leave

Mon 31st Oct 2016

The Workingmums.co.uk annual survey suggests that one in five working mothers has been forced to leave her job, because of not getting her flexible working request approved. Philip Sayers, Employment lawyer at Coodes Solicitors, explains how employees who are due to return from maternity leave can put the best case forward for flexible working by approaching it from their employer’s perspective.

“26 per cent of the women surveyed by Workingmums.co.uk had flexible working requests denied, while 12 per cent said they felt their employer failed to properly consider their requests. While the survey results clearly show the need for businesses to examine their own cultures around flexible working, employees can also give themselves the best chance of having their requests approved by putting forward a strong case.

  1. Work out what you want

Before you speak to your employer, decide what your ideal working arrangements would be. Are these arrangements the only option that you are prepared to accept, or is there any flexibility? Make sure you have done your research, on childcare, travel times and finances so you know what you are asking for before you start a conversation with your employer.

  1. Think like an employer

Before making a flexible working request, including changing your working pattern following maternity leave, try to look at it from your employer’s perspective. Is your employer likely to object to any of the arrangements you’re proposing? For example, will shorter hours or working fewer days leave the rest of the team stretched? Will it impact on service delivery?

  1. Suggest solutions

While employers have to consider all flexible working requests, they can refuse for reasons related to the impact on the business. You are required to set out what impact you think changes to your working arrangements will have when making the request. Try to provide some solutions or explain how any impact might be reduced. For example, would a job share be feasible, or would working from home on some days enable you to fulfil the requirements of your job?

“When you have thought through what you want, and worked out any potential issues and solutions, you should be ready to put together your flexible working request. Our previous blog gives some tips on how to present your flexible working request.

“Ultimately all employees have the right to request flexible working, but that does not mean the business has to grant it. In some circumstances, however, refusing the request would amount to sex discrimination, so if you think this might apply to you then it would be worth speaking to a lawyer who can advise you.”

For more information on this or any Employment enquiries contact Philip Sayers, Employment team, Coodes Solicitors on 01872 246200 or philip.sayers@coodes.co.uk


Mon 31st Oct 2016

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