Advice on Negotiating Flexible Hours With Your Boss

By Karren Brady

Here she gives a reader advice on how to negotiate a more flexible contract with management.

Q) I’m a mental health support worker and have been accepted to do my mental health nurse training in September, which I’m thrilled about.

However, to pay the bills while I train, I need to carry on working, but I’m finding it difficult to get my manager to agree on a reduced-hours, more flexible contract.

They say that because I don’t have children to care for, they can’t help me as it doesn’t suit the needs of the service, because colleagues who need childcare have hugely utilized this option already. What should I do?

A) Not every request for flexible working can be granted, but your employer should consider yours fairly and reasonably, and if it is refused they should be able to give you a clear business case as to why.

It sounds like your request has not been fairly considered and you are being discriminated against for not having caring responsibilities.

Speak to your employer first to try to resolve things informally, keeping communications friendly and solution-focused.

Check the company’s flexible working policy (it’s a legal requirement to have one) to ensure you’ve followed the steps for a formal request for flexible working, and ask for a written response.

You could also ask what the next steps would be should you wish to appeal the decision.

If they say it would negatively impact the business to have more employees on reduced/flexible hours, that is a considered response.

However, as they’ve explicitly said because you don’t have children you are not eligible for reduced or flexible hours, that’s not fair or reasonable.


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