Time off work at Christmas

(126 Posts)
Weeantwee Thu 10-Oct-13 11:44:26

DH has had to work every Christmas Eve and Boxing day for the past 6 years (he works in retail) and on most of these occasions he has either been happy to do so (he's a 'yes' person) or been told that there is no one else and he has to work.

This year we want to spend Christmas with my family who live nearly 300 miles away. DH has never spent Christmas away from his family and this is the first Christmas since we've been married. But he has been told yet again that he needs to work. This time the reason he has been given, by the new boss is 'priority has to be given to students whose family homes are far away and staff who have children.'

AIBU to think that DH is being unfairly treated because he is a full time employee and hasn't impregnated his wife yet?!

Maybe that's going a bit far, but I'm upset that as our first Christmas as a married couple I'm having to choose between staying with DH or going down to my mum who I don't see often and who also turns 60 on Boxing day sad

ilovesooty Thu 10-Oct-13 11:47:14

I think that's absolutely shocking. YANBU. If I were him I'd be pursuing this with HR.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 10-Oct-13 11:49:31

I can see why you're upset, but the up-side is that when/if you do have dc, your dh will be more of a priority for time off. This year, snuggle up with dh on the day, and go visit your mum on your own on Boxing Day.

scurryfunge Thu 10-Oct-13 11:49:54

Could he take leave after boxing day so you just shift Christmas a bit and can still go away? It does seem a bit unfair but he needs to be assertive.

No, that's not right.
I used to work all over Christmas and new year, the hours where always shared fairly for everyone if they had dc or not.

and yes definitely contact hr.

pinkdelight Thu 10-Oct-13 11:52:30

YANBU to be upset but I can see why those rules are there and Christmas wasn't that big a deal to me when I was grown up without kids. I can see you feel it's more romantic to spend your first Christmas Day together but it's just a day (quite a boring one tbh) and you can have you Christmas another day. Go see your mum and have a fabulous New Year, which is far more fun for grown ups without kids!

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 10-Oct-13 11:55:32

No matter how it is decided, it's 'not fair' on someone, though given he's done the past 6 Christmases, I'd have thought it would be 'his turn' to have the time off this year. BUT you don't have children yet and if you intend to, then he should never have to work Christmas again smile

Christmas - really, without kids, is it that big a deal? I personally don't think so, so I wouldn't be that bothered.

Could you go down to your Mum's on Boxing Day or you could have your Mum to stay with you for Christmas?

It seems a bit miserable to leave DH on his own for Christmas just so you can go to your Mum's.

alltoomuchrightnow Thu 10-Oct-13 11:55:56

ive had to do this every year in retail and it is horribly unfair. I can't have children and it just rubs it in more....treated as second class. And it is every year..that is how it is in retail. Hours should be shared equally without outside circumstances coming into it..never works that way though, at least never has for me

Might be better to check on the legal page, but certainly where I work (retail) the rules are clear. If Christmas Eve is your contracted shift then you have to work it. (Unless your DH works more than a 5 day contracted shift he should have had at least one off in the last 6 years). Boxing Day is a legal bank holiday and certainly in our contractual handbook, it is stated that you cannot be forced to work on this day. He needs to check his legal status and contract carefully. I would be very surprised if he was required to do this every year. He just might need to fight it a bit harder.

Pootles2010 Thu 10-Oct-13 11:59:18

They used to do this at my old place, yet no provision for students, so I never saw my family at Christmas. It should be shared out equally, otherwise its totally unfair.

I loved Christmas before I had the dc grin love getting together as a family, it's just not the same doing it a different day.
Dp has to work over the Christmas period, there is no way this company would let him have more time off just because we have dc, he knew when he went for the job he would have to work unsociable hours and over Christmas so he accepts it.
They can't discriminate people, just because they haven't got dc.

Weeantwee Thu 10-Oct-13 12:01:54

Unfortunately it's a 5 hour train journey to get to my mum's and there are no trains on Boxing day. DH has been told he can't take any time off over Christmas and New Year and as he never has 2 days off together (like a weekend) he can't travel far in that time.

I'm in a job that sometimes requires me to work Christmas Day but we all take it in turns, regardless of our family situations. If my boss told me that I have to work because I don't have children then I'd have him for breakfast!

DH is not the assertive type. It makes me wonder how hard he's trying to get the time off sometimes.

flowery Thu 10-Oct-13 12:03:43

"They can't discriminate people, just because they haven't got dc"

People who don't have children are not a protected group, so although this policy doesn't seem fair, there is nothing discriminatory/unlawful about it.

PeppiNephrine Thu 10-Oct-13 12:09:00

not true, letting one set of people have special privileges for an arbitrary reason that makes another set of people work harder or longer is discriminatory. It doesn't need to tick a particular box, if this went to an employment tribunal it would be a clear win for the employee.

OP, he needs to tell his boss straight: you can't do that, it is not fair, and I am having the days off at christmas. Unless the boss is a fool who wants a constructive dismissal case against him, which he would lose, he will back down.

Weeantwee Thu 10-Oct-13 12:09:49

Also if I do go down to my mum's DH won't be alone, I couldn't do that! He will spend the day with his family who are about an hours drive away.

My mum can't come up to us as she too works in retail but is only part time.

My brother works in retail too, same company as DH.

flowery Thu 10-Oct-13 12:12:11

You can't be serious?! What claim would the OPs DH make for a "clear win" discrimination claim? Which section of the Equality Act is relevant here?

Or is it just constructive dismissal you are talking about? Seriously, because holiday allocation is not fair you think he will successfully claim constructive dismissal?

I'm back off to the safety of Employment, forgot temporarily why employment threads on AIBU wind me up, because you get clueless people giving legal advice.

squoosh Thu 10-Oct-13 12:12:11

Why on earth has he tolerated this for so long? It's outrageous that people with kids get preferential treatment 6 years in a row.

He needs to make it clear to them that he will not be working this Christmas. And they need to accept this.

Weeantwee Thu 10-Oct-13 12:12:31

And DH's boss is a woman with no children but she won't be working as she already had a holiday abroad booked before she took the job. I know there's nothing the company can do about that.

phantomhairpuller Thu 10-Oct-13 12:13:24

It's the risk you take when you choose to work in an industry which doesn't stop for Christmas, IMO.

I work in care. Before I had children, I always used to put myself down for Christmas Day shifts so as people with children could have the day off. I stupidly thought people would be that considerate to me once I'd had children. It didn't work out like that hmm

This year will be ds2 1st Christmas. I'm working Christmas Day!

It sucks. But it's just one of those things.

PeppiNephrine Thu 10-Oct-13 12:13:32

Ok <shrug>. I know of someone who won a case for this precise reason, but maybe you're right.

Weeantwee Thu 10-Oct-13 12:15:59

I wasn't really looking for legal advice flowery, just having a moan smile
It's the world of retail and it is what it is. The problem is as much DH's lack of assertiveness as it is the boss's way of 'prioritising staff'.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 10-Oct-13 12:16:58

Peppi, even if he did have acase for constructive dismissal (which, as flowery has said, he doesn't) he's have to lose his job over this first. Not a smart idea at all.

The fact is that in retail, Xmas and the surrounding period is busy. That's why they take on extra staff. Holidays are not available. If he wants that time off next year, he'll have to find a job where the office closes for a week, or whatever.

PeppiNephrine Thu 10-Oct-13 12:20:42

Its not the point though that holiday isn't available, its that its available to some people and not to others, because of things that have nothing to do with work. If he got fired for refusing to accept unfair work practices then he would be able to take a case, if he wished. If it was the reverse: that woman with babies had to work while those without could have the time off, wouldn't you say that would be discriminatory? Whats the difference here?

Don't you read threads fully in Employment then?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 10-Oct-13 12:24:42

Getting fired is not the same as having a case for constructive dismissal. For the latter, he'd have to jack his job in and then claim at tribunal that his employer had made it impossible for him to continue working. That's a massive amount of upheaval and distress, all for the sake of Xmas?

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