Informal Flexible Working Change

Sorry... another thread about flexible working.

My partner was given informal flexible working due to an episode of illness relating to mental health. An informal change was made to her working arrangement where she would only be required to work in the office two days instead of three. Her manager never reviewed the arrangement, and left it in place for 18 months without any concern.

More recently, her manager has implied it's unfair on other staff who are required to attend the office 3 days per week. My perception is that an adjustment was made, the manager decided not to review it once the phased return was complete. As this was an informal arrangement, put in place as part of a phased return, what are her rights?

There is a lot of information on employers changing formal flexible working arrangements, but I can't find much information on formal arrangements. If anyone could point me in the direction of resources it would be hugely appreciated.

Comments

  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,672 Forumite
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    edited 26 July 2023 at 8:41PM
    Other than personal preference about homeworking is there any reason why she couldn’t go back to the arrangement she had before now that her health has improved? 

    However, I’d expect that after that length of time she has a case for arguing it was a permanent change.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • "More recently, her manager has implied it's unfair on other staff who are required to attend the office 3 days per week"

    Unfair in what sense?

    Do the other staff have to do to more work when your partner works an extra day from home?

    Are the other staff impacting negatively work wise in another way when your partner works an extra day from home?

    If the answer is no to both than manager saying it's unfair is completely irrelevant, any workplace adjustment is confidential between employee and manager not influenced by other colleagues thinking it's unfair because they cannot work an extra day from home 
  • elsien said:
    Other than personal preference about homeworking is there any reason why she couldn’t go back to the arrangement she had before now that her health has improved? 

    However, I’d expect that after that length of time she has a case for arguing it was a permanent change.

    According to her, she finds the office very distracting due to constant non work related conversations and interruptions. One of her big worries as well is IBS flare-ups, and feeling very aware about having to leave the office frequently and finding it embarrassing.

    She didn't make a request for the adjustment, but it was informally put in place by management and left that way for 18 months. She's found it very helpful, and now feels a sense of moral obligation to go in 3 days because of the 'unfair' comments.
  • "More recently, her manager has implied it's unfair on other staff who are required to attend the office 3 days per week"

    Unfair in what sense?

    Do the other staff have to do to more work when your partner works an extra day from home?

    Are the other staff impacting negatively work wise in another way when your partner works an extra day from home?

    If the answer is no to both than manager saying it's unfair is completely irrelevant, any workplace adjustment is confidential between employee and manager not influenced by other colleagues thinking it's unfair because they cannot work an extra day from home 

    I agree and the comments are irrelevant in my mind.

    Her manager has said it's unfair the rest of the team attend 3 days compared to 2, but it doesn't result in anyone picking up extra work, she is available to communicate with the duration of the shift, and arguably gets more work done than she would in the office, due to fewer distractions.

    My interpretation is the manager has decided it's now not convenient and instead of engaging in the matter professionally, she has tried to create a feeling of guilt to reverse the informal arrangement.
  • OrbitHeadache
    OrbitHeadache Posts: 265 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    edited 26 July 2023 at 9:06PM
    "More recently, her manager has implied it's unfair on other staff who are required to attend the office 3 days per week"

    Unfair in what sense?

    Do the other staff have to do to more work when your partner works an extra day from home?

    Are the other staff impacting negatively work wise in another way when your partner works an extra day from home?

    If the answer is no to both than manager saying it's unfair is completely irrelevant, any workplace adjustment is confidential between employee and manager not influenced by other colleagues thinking it's unfair because they cannot work an extra day from home 

    I agree and the comments are irrelevant in my mind.

    Her manager has said it's unfair the rest of the team attend 3 days compared to 2, but it doesn't result in anyone picking up extra work, she is available to communicate with the duration of the shift, and arguably gets more work done than she would in the office, due to fewer distractions.

    My interpretation is the manager has decided it's now not convenient and instead of engaging in the matter professionally, she has tried to create a feeling of guilt to reverse the informal arrangement.
    Has your partner got a union?

    Contact them.

    His manager is not being impartial and seems rather ignorant on flexible working.
  • "More recently, her manager has implied it's unfair on other staff who are required to attend the office 3 days per week"

    Unfair in what sense?

    Do the other staff have to do to more work when your partner works an extra day from home?

    Are the other staff impacting negatively work wise in another way when your partner works an extra day from home?

    If the answer is no to both than manager saying it's unfair is completely irrelevant, any workplace adjustment is confidential between employee and manager not influenced by other colleagues thinking it's unfair because they cannot work an extra day from home 

    I agree and the comments are irrelevant in my mind.

    Her manager has said it's unfair the rest of the team attend 3 days compared to 2, but it doesn't result in anyone picking up extra work, she is available to communicate with the duration of the shift, and arguably gets more work done than she would in the office, due to fewer distractions.

    My interpretation is the manager has decided it's now not convenient and instead of engaging in the matter professionally, she has tried to create a feeling of guilt to reverse the informal arrangement.
    Has your partner got a union?

    Contact them.

    His manager is not being impartial and seems rather ignorant on flexible working.

    She has joined a union and been assigned a caseworker who is looking into it.

    My main issue is being able to find anything relevant to informal flexible working, but it's obviously a bit limited.
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,448 Forumite
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    Even formal arrangements will normally have a clause in there to the effect that the changed working pattern can be reviewed and changed if it no longer meets business needs.
  • Cromwell77
    Cromwell77 Posts: 23 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    Surely if other colleagues find it unfair it is. What I don’t get is that is she is able to come into the office for two days without these issues why not three ? Does she only worry about IBS flair ups and allow herself to be distracted with conversations on the third day and not the other two ? Seems to that the manger tried to do something to help unofficially as perhaps it would not have been possible formally and now it needs to change your partner is looking to punish him for his kindness
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 10,594 Forumite
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    edited 6 August 2023 at 4:17PM
    Surely if other colleagues find it unfair it is. What I don’t get is that is she is able to come into the office for two days without these issues why not three ? Does she only worry about IBS flair ups and allow herself to be distracted with conversations on the third day and not the other two ? Seems to that the manger tried to do something to help unofficially as perhaps it would not have been possible formally and now it needs to change your partner is looking to punish him for his kindness
    It's a workplace, not a playground, so squawks of 'not fair' need to be rather more objective than squabbling about whose turn it is in the sandpit!

    That said, if it is causing a genuine business issue in terms of staff unrest, then the employer is perfectly entitled to review any working arrangements and if necessary change them.

    throughtheblue said:
    "More recently, her manager has implied it's unfair on other staff who are required to attend the office 3 days per week"

    Unfair in what sense?

    Do the other staff have to do to more work when your partner works an extra day from home?

    Are the other staff impacting negatively work wise in another way when your partner works an extra day from home?

    If the answer is no to both than manager saying it's unfair is completely irrelevant, any workplace adjustment is confidential between employee and manager not influenced by other colleagues thinking it's unfair because they cannot work an extra day from home 

    I agree and the comments are irrelevant in my mind.

    Her manager has said it's unfair the rest of the team attend 3 days compared to 2, but it doesn't result in anyone picking up extra work, she is available to communicate with the duration of the shift, and arguably gets more work done than she would in the office, due to fewer distractions.

    My interpretation is the manager has decided it's now not convenient and instead of engaging in the matter professionally, she has tried to create a feeling of guilt to reverse the informal arrangement.
    Has your partner got a union?

    Contact them.

    His manager is not being impartial and seems rather ignorant on flexible working.

    She has joined a union and been assigned a caseworker who is looking into it.

    My main issue is being able to find anything relevant to informal flexible working, but it's obviously a bit limited.
    There won't be much to find, so not sure what you're looking for. The return to work process has been successfully accomplished and she has no 'rights' to expect special treatment on an ongoing basis.

    From this and your other thread, both you and your partner are keen to keep the status quo (understandably) but worry about rocking the boat by raising it with your respective employers in a way which would give both sides longer-term certainty. Repeated anxious enquiries on a public forum will do nothing to help; talking to your employers is the only logical thing to do if you want certainty, even if that certainty doesn't turn out to be what you hoped for.

    Looked at objectively, how valuable are you to your employers? If you are easy to replace and in fairly junior jobs, then the answer is unlikely to be 'very', so your negotiating clout is limited. On the other hand, if you are longstanding and highly valued employees who would be difficult to replace, then you're going to get much more employer co-operation. 

    From your perspective, how important is the WFH aspect? If your employers no longer want that from a commercial perspective, then possibly moving on is your next step.


    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • WYSPECIAL
    WYSPECIAL Posts: 645 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
     One of her big worries as well is IBS flare-ups, and feeling very aware about having to leave the office frequently and finding it embarrassing.


    How does she cope with this on the two days she is in the office?
    Why can't she manage it in the same way on the third day?
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