Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

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Returning to STEM

2.3 Making a flexible working request

Since 30 June 2014 every employee in the UK has the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks of employment service. This will not only help those already working to manage life changes and challenges (such as childcare, health or other family commitments), but also encourage those who are returning to work to find a working structure that suits their lifestyle. It is worth knowing about your flexible working rights, even though employees with less than 26 weeks service do not have a statutory right to request flexible working, as some employers may allow all staff to make a request. These are the steps required to make a flexible working request if you are already in work.

To make a request for flexible working employees must:

  • make their request in writing, state the date the request is made, the change to working conditions they are seeking, and the date they would like the change to take effect
  • state whether they have made a previous application for flexible work and the date of that application
  • outline what change to working conditions they are seeking and how they think this may affect the business, for example, cost saving to the business
  • state if they are making their request in relation to the Equality Act 2010, for example, as a reasonable adjustment for a disabled employee.

If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland you may well find there are subtle differences to the legislation in operation, so do be aware of this. There are also European directives regarding employment that are worth researching, as these will have implications if you are considering working elsewhere in the European Union.

Now listen to Azu talk about how she negotiated part time working arrangements with her employers.

Download this video clip.Video player: 38657_return_to_stem_week4vid9_512x256.mp4
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So I realised as soon as I'd had my children, both times, that I really didn't want to be doing full time work. The first time around, I negotiated it. I just broached the subject. But it was a very-- the company was very open about part-time workers. There were other people, especially in that department, that had paved the way, if you like.
I took advice from friends and from people in the company about what you can do and what really effectively works. And three days seemed to be the sort of minimum, if you like. I know friends that have two days, and then three days or five days with the children. But that doesn't quite work, I think.
And other times, I've gone back in, I've gone for full-time work. But I've said pretty much at the interview, I'd like to come in for three days. They'd say, we'd like you to come in for four days. And you end up ending up with three and a half days.
And then it's just really weighing things up, and for them to understand what you're doing with those other days, rather than sitting on a sofa watching Netflix and eating chocolates or things. As soon as people realise-- and I was doing quite a lot of STEM ambassador at that point, going into schools and helping out at clubs and things like that. So I think that then convinces companies that actually you are doing good, as well as looking after your children and your family.
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