The charity runs a legal helpline for working parents. In 2013 it recorded an increasing problem with employers unilaterally changing hours or work patterns. It today published its annual helpline review and said the increase in tribunal fees is exacerbating the problem.
Working Families Chief Executive, Sarah Jackson said: “A growing number of callers to the helpline are reporting the family-friendly working pattern they have had in place for years being changed or withdrawn virtually overnight, with no opportunity for them to express their views and negotiate either retention of the existing pattern or, failing that, a mutually agreeable compromise.”
Jackson added that the introduction of upfront employment tribunal fees last year means many are unable to challenge these decisions.
“If vulnerable workers cannot access the tribunal system, then unlawful practice by less scrupulous employers – whether inadvertent or deliberately exploitative – will go unchecked, and more employers will be tempted to similarly disregard the rights of their workers when seeking to make organisational changes,” she said.
The report uses case studies to demonstrate the value of the tribunal process when supporting vulnerable employees dealing with intransigent bosses. Working Families said it is joining others, including the CBI and TUC, in calling for an urgent review and reform of tribunal fees.
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