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Reduced hours without reduced pay as a reasonable adjustment - any advice or experiences?

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Danesfield
Danesfield Community member Posts: 4 Listener
Hello

I have some queries about getting agreement for reduced hours without reduced pay as a reasonable adjustment for disability. I would welcome advice. (I tried the helpline but couldn't get through.)


Background:

I work for a large employer (10,000 employees) on a full-time, permanent basis. For the last 3 years of my 10 years with my current employer, reasonable adjustments that were in place and effective have been removed for lengthy periods, promised to be reinstated but not delivered. The pandemic brought home-working which allowed my employer to avoid the issue for a while, as I was able to provide for my own needs at home. However, return to work is due in the coming months and I am now facing a move to a newly constructed building. I have been told by HR (unofficially, but with a Union rep for a witness) that they will not be able to provide the reasonable adjustments I need in the new building and I am facing the 'worst conflict with management I have ever known' about it.

Back in February I asked HR to redeploy me to a role where I can work in a different building (where my adjustments can be provided), and in early July I made this request formally (based on the Scope template). They did not respond within the 2 weeks I requested and when I chased them they asked for more information and more time. I have suggested a revised deadline of 20 August (originally 19 July). I am trying to progress this with my Union and anticipate potential grievance / legal action over this. I am aware of the time limit for legal action but not sure at what point the 'clock starts' when an employer has not given a substantive response.


My current issue:

Understandably, my health has been damaged by this lengthy period of work stress regarding failure to provide/sustain reasonable adjustments to the point where I am not able to work full time hours at present due to worsening of my underlying disability and worsening mental health due directly to this which now meets the definition of disability too.  I am currently managing working reduced hours with annual leave (until the end of September).

Occupational Health have said it is 'medically supportable' for me to work 0.8FTE (which I would want to do over 5 days). I want to ask for this as a reasonable adjustment, and I understand the Equality Act makes provision for me to still be paid full pay as a reasonable adjustment for disability. Failing this, I understand it can also be a reasonable adjustment for my occupational pension employer and employee contributions to be credited as if I were working full time hours.

HR have told me I must ask for a reduction in hours via Flexible Working - something I am loathed to do as they have twice refused reasonable adjustments me via this route in 2019 and 2020 - I lost the appeals and later had to drop an employment tribunal case when they belatedly agreed to some of my request. I have learnt a lot about Flexible Working through this and I am now aware of many reasons why I do not believe it is appropriate to use Flexible Working for changes that are required exclusively on the grounds of disability.



My questions:

As I wait for the next step in my the request to be redeployed to an alternative role, I want to prepare my request for reduced hours without reduced pay as a reasonable adjustments for disability. If this is ultimately refused, I wish to pursue no detriment to my occupational pension contributions as a reasonable adjustment.

1. Has anyone got this kind of reasonable adjustment - reduced hours for the same pay - agreed? Can you share some details about the process and how the agreement works?

2. Does anyone have specific advice on the best way to frame a request for retaining full pay for reduced hours due to disability in terms of legal rights/duties?

3.  Does anyone have specific advice on the best way to frame a request for retaining full occupational pension 'credits' for reduced hours due to disability in terms of legal rights/duties?

4. Is there any legal or other guidance I can point to that confirms I do not have to use Flexible Working to request a change in hours as a reasonable adjustment for disability?

5. If reduced hours as a reasonable adjustment for disability are agreed, does this become a permanent contractual change? Is there any provision for increasing hours in future if/when my health allows? (Our employer has form, for example, in pushing people who want temporary hours reductions - new mothers in particular - into permanent changes and then refusing any requests they make to increase hours again at a later date.)

6. When does the 'clock start' for legal claims if you've requested a reasonable adjustment for disability and the employer fails to provide a substantive response?


Well done if you've made it this far!

Huge thanks in advance for any advice you might be able to share.

Comments

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 12,012 Disability Gamechanger
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    I could imagine reduced hours for reduced pay being a RA but i'm afraid I don't see it happening for full time pay, IMHO I see R.A needing to be fair and reasonable to both employer and employee.
    Others may have different ideas on this one.
    2024 The year of the general election...the time for change is coming 💡

  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi there 

    I have worked in hr for 25 plus years and never come across reduced hours with no reduction in pay , usually short fall is deducted from sick entitlement or holiday or through a work placed insurance or pension scheme 

    You need expert legal advice on all this not just advice from a forum 

    You should get the support of your union and I would recommend acas if you haven't already 

    This is too complex to deal with without legal guidance 
  • Sandy_123
    Sandy_123 Scope Member Posts: 54,845 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi @Danesfield I'm pleased you have a union representative involved in this, they are the best people to liase with your workplace and achieve outcomes. Hopefully you get goals that you require.
  • Danesfield
    Danesfield Community member Posts: 4 Listener
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    Thank you all for your responses - much appreciated.

    My Union rep doesn't appear to understand disability matters very well (they're very good at problems like bullying and harassment though), and so I have been trying to do as much research myself as possible. I can see now this a stage where legal advice would be appropriate, and so I will ask my Union rep to refer me on.

    For information - the links below outline pension and pay protections as reasonable adjustments - the case for pension protection appears more straightforward than for pay based solely on what I have read in these links... but this area of reasonable adjustments is beyond my experience, which is why I'm trying to find out more.

    Hope this information is helpful to others.

    Reasonable adjustments and Pensions: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/multipage-guide/specific-situations

    Reasonable adjustments, reduced hours and Pay: https://www.workingmums.co.uk/disability-and-reducing-hours-and-salary/
  • Jean Eveleigh
    Jean Eveleigh Scope Member Posts: 185 Pioneering
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    if you feel your union rep isn't helping enough due to a lack of training on disability issues then the union should have a dedicated disability officer they can deploy to support your rep to be able to advocate for you better 
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