to speak to my boss about colleague abusing flexible working

(305 Posts)
hatgirl Wed 23-Jan-13 22:47:59

argh... let me say first of all I am not a clock watcher, I work in a stressful job and people frequently work over their hours and there is a general agreement that a few minutes here or there or a slightly longer lunch occasionally is more than deserved pay back. We are a good, supportive team and there is pretty much no bad feeling other than the occasional niggle which is always resolved openly and professionally (yey for us!)

Essentially we are very much trusted by our manger who knows how hard we all work and various members of staff have different flexible working patterns in place which works well.

Myself and another colleague have recently started working 'compressed hours' essentially we work 10 days worth of hours over 9 days and have the 10th day off. For this to work we take shorter lunches, and work an extra bit at the start and end of each day... or at least I do, my colleague is working normal hours but still taking the 10th day off. At first I thought she didn't understand the system (I requested it first and she piggybacked her own request on the back of mine) so had a chat with her about it explaining the system again.

A few months down the line and she is still basically taking the piss. She is close to retirement and was recently refused voluntary redundancy - she is annoyed with the organisation and when I have reiterated to her the importance of us doing 10 days over 9 (again this is not done in a horrible way just in a general discussion way)she basically laughs at me and says that the organisation owes her after years of service (which is probably a fair point but doesn't change the fact that she is getting a paid day off every 2 weeks).

I'm now in two minds whether or not to now go to my manager as I am getting nowhere discussing with her directly, or if I should just wind my neck in and let her get on with it after all it doesn't exactly directly impact on me.

My boss will come down on her like a ton of bricks as him trusting us not to abuse flexible working is a big thing when he could be a complete arse about it if he wanted to be and he will be really disappointed that she is doing this. I actually really like my colleague and don't want her to get into trouble but a) her wages come out of public money

and

b) I am absolutely shattered doing the longer days (a lot of this is also because I have a longish commute - she lives 10 mins away from work) but value the day off in return and don't feel it fair she is getting the same benefit without putting in the work - also other colleagues not formally doing compressed hours are working the same hours if not more than her and are not getting a day off at all!

As much as I like her I just think her attitude on this issue stinks.

Would I be unreasonable in having a word with my boss and creating bad feeling in the team?

Or am I being petty and it is my bosses job to notice this and sort it out? Its literally as little as coming in 10 mins late, taking an extra 30 mins for lunch and leaving 10 mins early but it all adds up to the extra 50 minutes we work extra each day to get the 10th day off.

MidniteScribbler Wed 23-Jan-13 23:31:30

I'd start sending her appointment requests via email for the times when she should be in to discuss whatever it is you need to go over with her. If she doesn't show up, you can start copying your boss in, then copy him on the emails you send her asking why she didn't attend the meetings.

But I tend to be a bit passive aggressive that way.

cerealqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 23:32:08

Tell her the auditors are coming in and they have some unusual checking systems developed these days.

helenthemadex Wed 23-Jan-13 23:33:38

it is fraud, where do you draw the line between fraud that is acceptable and fraud that isn't acceptable its not right and its not fair.

I think you are perfectly justified to feel really annoyed and it would not be unreasonable to speak with your manager about this, don't feel like you are wrong for doing this, it is your colleague who is in the wrong

cerealqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 23:33:42

Computer log in times can be useful tools......

hatgirl Wed 23-Jan-13 23:35:19

Wind your neck in or tell, but please don't pretend it's for any other reason than you're pig-sick that she's getting an extra day paid

haha i don't think I am pretending that isn't the case, you are right, I am sick of it, Im just wondering if I get on with being sick of it privately or say something to someone else since talking to her hasn't worked. I don't think my boss would take it further than telling her to get her act together.

My boss had reservations (I know this because she told me) about giving this woman this working pattern as she has a bit of a reputation for taking the mick a bit and I think she probably only got it because I was going to be doing it as well and we had an agreement with the manager that I would help her with the techy stuff during the additional hours.

I'm fully prepared to accept that its her problem and I should just go and seethe quietly about it into my hot chocolate. That was the decision I have come to, but just wanted the view over whether this was the 'right' thing to do.

drownangels Wed 23-Jan-13 23:36:06

TBH I'd leave it alone. You have got the system you wanted. Ok she is taking advantage but she is close to leaving anyway.

louschmoo Wed 23-Jan-13 23:37:05

Wow! I'm really shocked that people seem to think it's none of your business. I think YANBU at all, at my company this would be regarded as a real breach of trust and would be disciplined. And yes, colleagues who were complicit by virtue of keeping schtum would probably get in trouble too. Where I work there is lots of flexible working and we are trusted to do it because no one takes the piss. If it was found that people weren't doing the hours they were paid to do, it would probably make my boss rethink his attitude to flexible working full stop. I'd therefore be really pissed off if one of my colleagues did this. You should think about speaking to your manager about it.

Bilbobagginstummy Wed 23-Jan-13 23:37:07

Yanbu. I am staggered at some of these responses. She is taking the piss and it needs to stop.

As for how to approach it, far harder, but how about suggesting she look at partial retirement? Lightly at first but the people who do that where I am can end up taking home the same money but only have to work half the hours as they are taking their pension. Encourage her that way maybe?

Otherwise, you're going to have to bring it up with your manager, as its their responsibility not yours to ensure the arrangement is being kept to.
I don't see why they would take your arrangement away if it is being stuck to, just because someone else is taking the piss. It's just the same as if someone skived off once a fortnight: it needs tackling, and it's your manager's job to do so.

Good luck!

Snazzynewyear Wed 23-Jan-13 23:37:47

I'm amazed people feel this is 'petty'. Sorry, it's just not fair that people take advantage like this at work. If this has been a bloke swanning off early all the time I bet the replies would have been different. And if the OP had found out this woman was getting paid more than her for the same job, that would also have got different replies - but that's actually what's happening.

OP, trouble is people do have a point that your boss may pull the flexible working if he finds out. It would be unfair of him but doesn't mean it wouldn't happen. I would ring the whistleblowing line someone suggested further up. I also like sowornout 's advice above - you say you have a good relationship with the woman so try the direct appeal (though then you have blown your cover good and proper if you do decide to tell the boss).

Snazzynewyear Wed 23-Jan-13 23:38:37

Thank goodness for these last few posts! I couldn't believe what I was reading...

lastSplash Wed 23-Jan-13 23:40:23

You could go for the passive-aggressive approach and when she asks for PC help etc, say you'll be happy to help her with it when it's quiet (i.e. in the extra time before everyone else arrives / after they've left).

Actually I agree with previous posters: she's about to retire, she's worked a long time - don't mess up her life by going to a manager with this.

It's all very well saying you get on with her, but you're actually so down on her you're thinking of getting her done for fraud. At least stop being two-faced about it and let her know you are pissed off directly.

Think of all the people you don't see every day who are getting paid huge salaries for little work, or people who work much harder than you for minimum wage or less - it isn't fair, and doing something horrible to this woman isn't going to make things more fair.

hatgirl Wed 23-Jan-13 23:41:07

see both sides of this argument are exactly the problem I have. One the one had I don't want to tell tales on someone I get along with, on the other what she is doing isn't right and trying to sort it out with her directly hasn't worked.

YANBU to be pissed off.

Organisations I have worked for would treat this as fraud. You would not be morally responsible for her losing her pension etc if she was sacked because she is the person making the choice to skim time from her employer therefore any fallout is her own fault. She is essentially being paid quite a number of days on an annual basis that she hasn't actually worked. Employees make an agreement with their employer and if the employer started cutting corners on the agreed contract the employee would soon start shouting and it is no different when the employee is not meeting their end of the agreement.

I wouldn't get involved by making a complaint but I know it would probably change my opinion of that person on a professional and personal basis.

Bringbring Wed 23-Jan-13 23:42:36

Tell your boss. Stuff like this undermines teams and affects individual motivation. She's taking the piss and others will follow suit if not dealt with.

Compressed hours are a privilege. If you can't behave professionally you shouldn't be given the flexibility. I don't give a shit about voluntary redundancy, I've managed teams where this attitude was endemic and it doesn't help anyone.

It is for your boss to sort though, don't become a martyr to your workload/unfairness of situation.

freemanbatch Wed 23-Jan-13 23:43:04

if its public funds and she's taking money she's not earning its no different to someone claiming benefits they aren't entitled to and people would be telling you you should report a benefits fraudster.

BrittaPerry Wed 23-Jan-13 23:45:35

The thing that would worry me is whether you will get n trouble - if you are the ly person that knows, if it comes out the boss will assume you are involved, and I presume that is gross misconduct...

louschmoo Wed 23-Jan-13 23:47:45

She's basically getting 24 more days annual leave for the same job, pr thereabouts. Mmmm, I would find this pretty galling.

Snazzynewyear Wed 23-Jan-13 23:48:10

I'd disagree that it doesn't make things fairer. She's getting paid for work she's not doing at the moment, and as freemanbatch says that is no different to any other kind of fraud that gets people frothing at the mouth, including benefit fraud or MPs expenses. It may not stop other bad things from happening but it stops an unfair thing continuing.

And as for 'getting her done for fraud', she couldn't BE done for fraud if she wasn't behaving fraudulently. So let's not put the agency on the OP here. It's this woman's actions of her own. If I speed and get caught by a camera, then all the moaning about how I've 'been done, it's all to meet targets' doesn't change the fact that I was breaking the law and have to take my lumps. same for colleague.

lastSplash Wed 23-Jan-13 23:49:38

But nicely trying to explain the system to her in case she didn't understand, isn't doing all you can to sort the situation out directly.

If you have to escalate it, then escalate it with her. Say bluntly that you think what she is doing is fraud and she could get the sack, lose her pension and have to pay a load of money back. Say you think people have noticed and she better start sticking to her contract.

But I don't think you will. You'd rather she went on thinking that you both get on, and that you have friendly feelings towards her.

DoodlesNoodles Wed 23-Jan-13 23:51:29

I would speak to your manager. You have a vested interest in making 'compressed hours' working as, I imagine, you will won't to carry on doing it for as long as you are able. Having other people abuse the arrangement puts it at risk.

I used to work for a council and i couldn't stand it when members of staff took the piss, especially when it was the well paid ones. It is theft.

lastSplash Wed 23-Jan-13 23:52:20

What if you don't get caught for speeding Snazzywear but you mention to a friend that you accidentally found yourself speeding on the way to meet them. And they promptly marched you down to the police station and did a witness statement to that effect.

Andro Wed 23-Jan-13 23:52:56

I'm surprised your manager hasn't picked up on it in truth - asleep at the wheel perhaps?

Personally I'd be livid, both with the person who was defrauding the company and the person who knew about it yet took no action to bring it to my attention. I would never base my response on a member of staff alerting to their concerns, but it would prompt me to monitor the situation.

Anything which undermines morale is a significant problem.

DoodlesNoodles Wed 23-Jan-13 23:55:38

How about telling her that you have heard a rumour that you and her are being monitored and that you thought you had better warn her. Look nervous and frown a lot. wink

just an idea, I haven't thought it through

how do you get in and out the building? Are your times logged? Do you use electronic passes?

lastSplash Wed 23-Jan-13 23:55:42

Maybe the manager has picked up on it but is turning a blind eye as she is aware that the employee is near retirement and has put in more than her fair share of hours in the past.

Of course the manager wouldn't be able to continue turning a blind eye if it was formally brought to them by the OP.

Tortington Wed 23-Jan-13 23:56:47

i dont think your being petty - she is being paid for a job she isn't doing at all

and when she is doing it - she isn't doing it very well.

She should worry about fucking up her pension, not you dear. not you.

I would tell her that you don't think its fair, that she doesn't come in early as you do - it would give her time to learn, make YOUR day earlier.

if she laughs it off say " well i'm going to have to have a word with Gary" or whatever the boss is called.

what i dont like is snipey bitching behind backs - i think this way is fair

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