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Flexible Working Affected My Job: A Case Study

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Flexible Working Job Company Employer

Christine Stammers, 29, was overjoyed when her request for flexible working was granted. With two young children, one with special educational needs, she had found working full-time too difficult to juggle with family life and so made the request using her statutory right.

Term Time Working

"My husband works away a lot and so the majority of the childcare was my responsibility, even though he helps out as much as possible when he’s at home. I was finding working full-time especially hard during school holidays because my two children were a bit too much of a handful for my mother or mother-in-law for whole days at a time," Christine explained.

"I looked into using a childminder during the school holidays, but I would have needed to pay them all through term too, which was not practical. My husband tried to see if he could arrange his work trips around the school holidays, but his employers were not flexible and, as he is the main breadwinner, we decided that I should be the one to ask for flexible working.”

Christine, an accounts assistant for an electronics company, looked into her legal rights to request flexible working and knew that, as she had children under 6, she was entitled to apply, even though there is no guarantee it will be approved. (Since April 2009, any parent with dependent children (biological or not) under 16 are entitled to apply for flexible working under their statutory rights.)

Request Accepted

Christine continued, “I put forward my case and was very pleased that it was accepted. I had requested working compressed hours with the time off to be taken in school holidays, as long as I had cleared it with my line manager and worked any time I was able to outside of that. Initially, it worked brilliantly. The nature of my job means that it is clear when I have ‘finished my work’, so my boss could see that I was still getting everything done.”

This situation continued for over a year, with Christine able to take off the majority of half terms and school holidays, although not the entire school summer holiday. She would often take work home if needed and was able to access her work computer from home using a remote access code, allowing her to make any last minute changes if needed and saving her from travelling to the office for one small task.

Situation Changed

Christine explained how the situation changed, leading her to leaving the company. “The problem came when a new accounts package was introduced that could not be updated remotely which, while I didn’t need to do this very often, when I did it was very important. About three months after this package was introduced my boss called me in to say that the current arrangement was no longer practical. I already realised that so I had to hand in my notice as I was not prepared to go back to the previous arrangement. I am now working my notice and plan to do some contract work for the company, which I hope will be mutually acceptable.”

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