request to work part-time refused

Hi all,

Hope you have had a good Christmas
To cut a long story short, I applied to change my hours from 7.5 to 6 hours a day. After 4 months off earlier this year I have been struggling with severe fatigue and pain. I’m a manager and the company have said they don’t think I can complete my tasks on reduced hours and there is no-one else to take things over. Then they say they don’t want me going off sick for any length of time as it affects the team and what suggestions do I have to overcome this??? I thought reducing my hours was a commom sense suggestion. I get the feeling they want me to quit but, after 14 years and being the bread winner I’m not going to just walk out. I’ve asked to be re-referred to Occi Health but they are quibbling about that, can I insist they send me to Occi health? As yet I have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and ME and am currently awaiting a neuro follow up in March. Am I covered by the new Disability law? and Do I have any where I can go to for advice? I’m absolutely gutted as I am really not sure I can do full time hours.
any advice would be appreciated.

Since returning to work in September I have worked in the office 8am to 2pm and completed the other 1.5 hours at home after having a rest in the afternoon, (this has helped especially on days when fatigue is really bad). I have however made myself available as and when the need arose, which to be honest was less than a handful of times. Initailly I am going to ask if can carry on with this arrangement but have a feeling they will say no, In which case I really won’t know what to do


I don’t know the answer, sorry. Have you tried the CAB? They should know. Or maybe Access To Work? It’s their job to facilitate things between employers and employees I think. Or you could try an employment lawyer? Most high streets have one now and I don’t think an initial consultation is terribly expensive (although I could be wrong!).

Very concerned about your employer’s attitude to OH. Especially versus them asking you how you can overcome going off sick. Surely OH are the people to help you do this if anyone can???

Whatever you do, DO NOT QUIT.

Just found this: it looks like ME is covered by the Equality Act:

Good luck!

Karen x

Thanks Karen!

I’m certainly not going to quit… I’ll see what response I get to continue working the remaining 1.5 hours of the day at home, if they refuse this I will definitely be seeking professional advice…I’m not sure if my GP will have any clout in getting the OH sorted??? she is really good so I could call her also.

Sorry - it’s all outside my experience. I’d try the GP though, if I were you. Can’t hurt!


Hi Sharon

In addition to the link & suggestions that Karen has made it may be worth you looking at the benefits and work website and if it comes to it contacting Access to Work. I’m not 100% sure but I thought that ME was covered under the act - but don’t quote me - it’s best to get proper advice from those in the know.

One of the first things that came to mind when I read the part about your employer not having anyone to take over if you were to stick to the reduced hours was: Who do they arange to cover for you when you take your annual leave?

I agree totally that you should not quit.

Maybe your consultants could also help?

Good luck - I hope that you find someone to point you in the right direction.

Debbie xx

Hi Sharon

I’m in more or less the same position as you, work-wise. I’m currently a limbo-lander and am experiencing a huge amount of humiliation and belittling by my Line Manager who makes fun of me in front of everyone and points out all my mistakes, which are caused by cognitive impairment problems. He also shouts down the back of my neck when I’m on the phone to humiliate me.

Unfortunately the stress makes me worse! They know I am being investigated for an undiagnosed neurological condition but have insisted that I now work full-time in order to complete all my tasks, as I have slowed down. (I work 9 till 3 every day and have done for last 4 years when symptoms escalated). I get the distinct feeling that they are trying to get rid of me. The company I work for, although a global company with 200 employees in UK, have NO personnel department, and NO Occ Health, so I have no-one in the company to turn to. As I am a limbolander I have no rights under Disablilty Law.

I have not yet returned to work since Christmas as I suffered what I believe to be a really bad relapse of symptoms two days before Christmas and ended up collapsing on Christmas Day. I had unbelievable fatigue, dizziness, numb finger tips, pins and needles in right leg and severe and sudden bowel incontinence. All these things I have had before but this time I also had pain in the back of my right eye and loss of vision. I ended up being taken to casualty and have now been referred to an Opthalmic Consultant next week. I have suffered bowel incontinence since 1996, only two or three times a year but it’s becoming more common and what I am afraid of is losing control at work - the humiliation would be unbearable and would be the end for me. Fortunately I have the opposite problem with my bladder in that I cannot always tell when to open it.

At the moment I do not know how to cope with the problems at work and know that I will be made to suffer next week when I return. There is no system in place for covering my work when I am off. I always take my annual leave as half days throughout the year in order to cover as much of the school holidays as possible to be with my son (I am divorced with no family here). Therefore, for me to be off sick for a week will have really caused upset as I have always struggled on in the past.

I feel that I shouldn’t just pack it in as I actually love what I do (fleet management). Also, as I am single with no family here the job is everything to my life and if it was right it could really enhance my life, but as it is it is causing more stress and unhappiness.

I am hopeful for a diagnosis this year which may make my employers have a bit more tolerance and understanding but it’s possibly not going to happen.

Also, how do we go about moving jobs within this scenario? I asked my GP - when going for interviews do I confess to an undiagnosed neuro condition and then I wouldn’t get the job, or keep quiet and if I get the job and then when symptoms begin to manifest themselves get accused of deceit and probably sacked? My GP did not have an answer!

The situation is intolerable and I can totally empathise with you. I hope your situation improves soon.

Kind regards

(Huge apologies for long text)


Hi Dianne.

I am absolutely disgusted at your boss and employer! I hope that you are able, somehow, to make them pay for this appalling treatment. Are you sure you need a diagnosis to be covered by the Equality Act? Could you consult with an employment lawyer (or someone else in the know) to check your rights? It seems so WRONG that being undiagnosed means that people can treat you any way they choose, especially when so many things are so hard to diagnose.

I thought that the Equality Act rule about employers not being allowed to ask potential employees about their health (and people not having to disclose health conditions) applied to everyone, but I could be wrong. The CAB should know I would think?

I probably shouldn’t, but I sincerely hope that your boss has to experience what you’re going through one day (or worse). Ideally profound bowel incontinence in a very public place (giving a presentation to the board???)!

I hope you get a diagnosis very soon and that things get loads better.

Karen x

Awww Diane I’m so sorry your manager is such an a*se. At least we have an HR function and procedures / appeals systems and so have to follow the law. With nothing like this in situ for you it must be a nightmare. I would seek legal advice from an employment lawyer, most lawyers do give ‘free’ initial sessions. I’m also lucky to have a family to support me, it must be so tough alone.

Don’t take his crap and don’t feel guilty for being ill. I really hope things get sorted for you soon it’s bad enough going to work ill without having to put up with a moron as well!!!

You take care

Sharon x

I would have to say Is dont quit hun… Its hard to get jobs these days so if you quite and then ready to work again you will find it hard to find another job… I know the feeling iv done it myself, in Jan 2011 I was into my 3rd year of working at mcdonalds and because i was really ill i was on sick for 5 months so I thought to myself I didn’t know when I was going to feel well enought to work again and without going to get advice i took things into my own hands and quit, now I regret it coz I live in Kendal and Iv been into shops and asked for jobs 2 different types of jobs the first one was pound world and at this time i was told I may have MS and they gave me an interview and they upset me when I told them that I may have MS because they said because of your illness we cant take you on as we do have stronger applicants who have applied, the second one was in november and it was at subway and they made me do a 4 hour trial and then told me coz i suffer with incontinence dat he cant accept me due to health and hygiene so now it has made me so emotional bout it and iv stopped looking x

Hello; welcome to the site

Quick word of advice on job hunting: do NOT tell them about your MS! You don’t have to and they aren’t allowed to ask. You are protected by the Equality Act - the law that protects disabled people. Poundworld and Subway have both broken the law by citing your disabilities as a reason for refusing you a job!

Karen x

Hi Ellie,

I’m not sure that I can refer myself, I have asked HR and still waiting for them to come back.To be quite honest they are next to useless If they say no, I will ask my GP if they can refer me, anythings worth a try.

Sharon x x

I have a very similar issue i have just requested a reduction in work to make it 3 days not 5 to help with my fatigue and mistakes im making. they refused stating it was a full time position - trying to get advice to see if they can do this as it is a small company


Its really disappointing to read about your employment issues.

I have already responded to you anonymous, and I could offer advice to Sharon and Dianne but I would prefer to talk more privately.

Please PM me if you would like some support, I have experience in this field.