The United Kingdom government passed the Employment Rights Act in 1996. The act contains provisions outlining the rights of employees and includes sections dealing with the contents of a contract of employment, the protection of wages and the right to time off work. Part VIII of the act covers employee rights to family leave, and Section 80F in this part of the act deals specifically with the right to apply for a change to the employment terms and conditions set out in a contract of employment when an employee needs to care for a dependent child.
Contract Variation Request
You can apply to your employer for a change in the terms and conditions of employment, according to Section 80F of the act. You may only request changes to certain aspects of your contract of employment, and these are specified in Section 80F. You may request a change to the number of hours that you work. For example, if you work a 40-hour week, you may request a reduction in the number of hours you work. You may request to work different hours, so that if you currently work between during normal business hours, and your company works a shift system, you may request that you work an evening or overnight shift. You also may make a request to be allowed to work from home for all or part of your contracted employment, if this is practicable.
Reason for Change
You can only apply for a change to your contract of employment if you have a specific reason for applying for the change, and the reasons for applying are listed in Part 1(b) of Section 80F in the act. You may apply for changes to your contracted terms and conditions to help you care for a child under the age of 18. You must be related to the child, and regulations issued by the secretary of state list the relationships allowed under this section of the act. You must be the child's father, mother, adoptive parent, or guardian, or the partner of a person with such a relationship to the child. You may apply for a variation in terms and conditions to care for a person over the age of 18 if that person is in need of special care because of a medical condition.
When you apply for a contract of employment variation, you must make your application in writing. An application transmitted by e-mail counts as a written application. You must state that you are making an application in accordance with Section 80F of the Employment Rights Act of 1996, and you must include the nature of the change you wish to make to your conditions of employment, such as a change in your working hours. You must state how you believe the change will affect your employer and suggest a method of dealing with any adverse effect. You also must include information showing that you have a relationship with the child in your care that meets the requirements of the act.
You may only apply for a change in your working conditions if you meet certain requirements. You must have worked continuously for your employer for at least 26 weeks. If you make an application under the rights granted by Section 80F of the act, you may not make a further application prior to 12 months from the date of your application. If you make your application electronically, such as by e-mail, the date of transmission is the date of the application. If you make your application by post or deliver it by hand, the date of the application is the date of delivery.