My new boss

(46 Posts)
nellyjelly Thu 29-Nov-12 09:27:03

I work for a small company which is part of a bigger organisation. We have a new boss. So far I am unimpressed with his approach and methods but my main issue at the moment is his lack of flexibility.

I have 2 children, 1 in nursery and 1 in reception. I work 4 days pw, my contracted hours. I work hard, produce what is expected and hardly ever have time off for illness, either mine or the kids. DH has 7am starts so can't assist in the mornings. Kids go to nursery and breakfast club at 7.45. I have no family or anyone near to help with childcare.

The bigger organisation that we belong to has a commitment to 'family friendly' policies; career breaks, decent mat leave, parental leave etc. however the new boss seems totally unconcerned with 'family friendly'. In his first month he has;

a) moved the weekly managers meeting to my non working day, no consultation, just expected me to rearrange my child care permanently.

B) He has arranged 2 days away at a hotel for an away day, 45 miles away from where I live but expects me to be there for 8am every morning (or stay over). Again no planning,just an instruction. Gave 2 weeks notice for this so no time to try and plan for it in terms of childcare.

C) Also has asked us all to submit our leave from Jan onwards but won't come back with an answer as is awaiting requirements from our customers so he can see who is needed. Fair enough but I need to know as I have to take school holidays and if I can't need time to organise some childcare. This takes time. The Feb half term is not that far away and holiday clubs round where I live get pretty full. Also afaik only 2 of us want that week, so why no response?

I don't expect special treatment as a parent but some level of what is reasonable. I cannot leave for work before 8 am due to childcare but given that means I always start before 9 and work my core hours, that should not be a problem. Unless he thinks 8 am starts are appropriate. Actually I don't. I need a quick turnaround on leave requests, surely asking anyone to wait weeks for an answer is unreasonable. We can't drop everything for the business.

I am the only one with small children and I am starting to feel discriminated against tbh. I get a real sense that he thinks I am a pain. AIBU? What should I do?

nellyjelly Thu 29-Nov-12 09:41:32


Hmm. Can you get hold of the bigger company's policies and leave them lying around?

Cheddars Thu 29-Nov-12 09:48:23

Does he have children himself? What would happen if you explained all this to him?

ChunkyPickle Thu 29-Nov-12 09:52:50

Can you talk to the higher company's HR confidentially - this isn't wanting special treatment because you're a parent, but just wanting reasonable treatment as an employee!

Even if I didn't have kids I would need more notice for away days, booked meetings on my non-working day, and some kind of confirmation of leave so I can book/confirm things.

This kind of behaviour from managers will increase staff turnover.

nellyjelly Thu 29-Nov-12 10:02:51

Thanks. I think I will need to speak to him but I know he will not care. He is not in breach of policy just acting unreasonably I think. His motivation is that our funding might be pulled so he is scaring us all with ideas of redundancy etc. however we still have function in our lives outside of work which clearly isn't an issue for him.

He made a point of saying that when his kids were small his wife was back at work after 3 months full time. Well good for her but that isn't for everyone!

2 people have aleady left, 3 are on long term sick and a few of us are looking for new jobs. We were a settled functioning team until this man arrived.

Definitely speak to someone higher up. and start looking for a new job. What a nob.

kelpeed Thu 29-Nov-12 13:46:48


despite being made to do management courses, workshops and , prsumably, to demonstrate actual management skills to secure a management job, some people think they manage robots , that is, Everyone Is the Same and Just Like Them. In effect, this means that some managers have zero clue about what motivates people to work part time as they have never walked in your shoes.

This is what worked for me
(1) write to HR and ask for a copy of their human resources manual, asking them to quotes the refernces to the sections covering their family friendly policies, their workplace diversity policies, equal opportunity AND all the other antidiscrimination policies.
(2)read them
(3) write back to them asking what the policies in mean in practice

step 3 in important - then you could say how you have been flexible in juggling work (eg through working the odd hour etc ) but flexibilty works both ways and the company isnt reciprocating on a regular basis. You could ask your HR people why your boss is claiming the norm is that everyone returns to work after 3 months of mat leave, when the workplace diversity policy spells out that the workplace celebrates differences.

Hit the company in their hip pocket. They won't change their practices if the budget/ accounting lines dont really show who is actually paying. The 2-day trip also gives you an opportunity to ask the company reconciles its family friendly policies when the workers are asked to be away from their families for two days. Ask how much overtime the company will be paying YOU given you only work x hours on those days. Ask for petrol expenses and wear and tear on the car. i once asked if my BF baby could come along on an overnighter at company expense - and got funding for babyto join me, with a babysitter, and flights. That was the last time the company arranged what used to be totally unecessary overnight trips. the BF was key in that case - the company would have been in breach of the antidiscrimination Act if they were not demonstrating they could provide equal opportunities to BF mothers to attend these activities, effectively excluding mothers.

part time is good stuff for families but not if the flexibilty is all on your side.

NewNames Thu 29-Nov-12 14:01:31

Talk to him about the meeting on your off day - maybe he hasn't noticed. And if he has, still raise it and explain why you think it'a important you are there but you can not change your days bearing in mind you are now contracted to them.

I think two weeks in long enough to arrange childcare for two early mornings. Why can't your partner ask for some flexibility at his work for those two days? As an employer myself it is infuriating when mum says, 'oh DP's employer won't be flexible!' Oh but you always expect me to, every time? This is why employers discriminate against women. If a few men made demands on their employers once in a blue moon things could actually change.

MaxPepsi Thu 29-Nov-12 14:12:16

Having read your post about 2 people leaving, 3 being on sick and several more of you looking.
It sounds like he's been brought in to disband the company so they can close it and not pay you redundancy!

I worked with someone who was pretty bad at their job. The managers should have sacked her she was so crap but chose to make her life at work so bad she'd leave. She did just that.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 29-Nov-12 14:20:43

Hi, long term lurker but rarely post. However, I was so annoyed on your behalf! Firstly, does your contract state eg Mon-Thurs and he has moved the team meeting to eg Friday? If your contract states set days, he CAN'T make you change to come in for the team meeting.
Secondly, just tell him you can't make the team away days due to childcare issues. He can't (actively at least) do much about that. I would definitely keep a log of everything said and done on the off chance that you need it. If he isn't following company procedure, you're in a very strong position with regard to constructive dismissal if you were to end up leaving because of his discriminatory attitude. As soon as anything like this goes to a tribunal, the first thing checked is if internal processes were followed correctly. Good luck!

kelpeed Thu 29-Nov-12 14:21:00

*newnames *- who will be paying for this extra childcare? why should the OP have to pay fo something that could be done with less burden on household incomes?

Is the two days away absolutely vital? why can't the company hold these days away closer to work to allow for daily routine and no added cost to the employer?

Managers get paid to manage all of their work staff, not just the full timers. This is what their job description is, to manage. If he'sjust forgotten about the part timers then he's not doing his job. OP you could ask him to write up his meetings he had on your day off. Or ask him to give you a run down on what was discussed, soon enough he might start thinking he's having two meetings when he should have only had one. how efficient is he then?

The costs associated with recruiting and retraining new staff addds up in the longer term, and people also aremore producitve if they feel they are valued and respected members of a team.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 29-Nov-12 14:21:45

Ps, that would obviously be a worst case scenario outcome and I'd hope you could resolve everything before it got that serious. But, you never know.

kelpeed Thu 29-Nov-12 14:22:32


...cost to the employee...

WilsonFrickett Thu 29-Nov-12 14:27:16

Arranging your management meeting for your day off is serious and I would see that as an attempt to undermine me. You need to request a meeting with him to discuss this formally, asking him to state the business reasons why the meeting has to be on that specific day. If he's doing it to be a PITA then you need to go to HR and take it from there.

The awayday I think you have to suck up, to be honest. New Brooms like to do things like that when they arrive in new teams, personally I would show willing and make it happen. Can't your DH go in later for two days or can you drop the DCs with friends? I just don't see this one as important in the scheme of things and think you should keep your powder dry for the fights that matter.

The holidays thing - can you see what everyone else thinks of that and get more than one person to raise it with him? Or simply ask when he can let you know?

WilsonFrickett Thu 29-Nov-12 14:28:48

And sorry to be going against the tide here, but I think two weeks is plenty notice for a manager to plan extra childcare for a one-off event. Clearly I have spent time in some unreasonable organisations!

Viviennemary Thu 29-Nov-12 14:33:35

It does seem these days that people are expected to attend meetings on days they don't work and sometimes unpaid. This to me is very unfair indeed. Part-time workers always seem to come of worse in these situations. It is assumed that as they don't work that day they are able to come in for meetings. I think you will have to take it higher and ask for company policy on attending meetings when they are on a day you don't work.

MontBlanc Thu 29-Nov-12 14:42:11

I agree with wilson the management meeting is the big thing here and really undermining you. You need to state that you absolutely need to be at the meeting but you cannot attend on your day off, so it needs to fit in with everyone who attends the meeting.

It sounds from your post you have just attended it on your day off regardless, is that right? You shouldn't just drop everything and work your days off, you need to kick up a fuss up to HR level.

nellyjelly Thu 29-Nov-12 15:08:10

Thanks for all of the ideas. No not attending the meeting as can't change my nursery days as they are full plus I don't want to.

Two weeks may seem reasonable to arrange childcare but tbh I don't really have any. It is nigh on impossible for DH to cover for me and there is no one else I can ask. Nursery doesn't open til 7.30. It will take me 60 mins to get to the meeting. He has chosen a venue around the corner from his home, I have an hours drive. I think maybe as a one off I will have to suck it up but it worries me that this is his approach. Expecting people to attend 8am meetings, outside their core hous, with no thought of what arrangements they have. Why is 9am not doable? It is ridiculous. One hour wont make a difference.

Re the leave. He won't give us an answer until he knows our customers needs from January. When they will let us know is anyones guess.

JessieMcJessie Thu 29-Nov-12 15:25:26

Go to the away day but arrive late, having explained why this is unavoidable. Stop thinking of the management meeting as being on your "day off" and ask him why it is on a day when one of the managers is not contracted to work. He wouldn't make it on a Saturday, would he?

Let us know how you get on.

nellyjelly Thu 29-Nov-12 15:37:24

Thanks I will.

ethelb Thu 29-Nov-12 15:42:08

I don;t think this is about havign children, I think they are just treating you badly tbh.

However, one big problem with having flexible workers is finding a time to meet up. I mean that in the nicest possible way. Are there other flexible workers who need to attend? is it possible that the meeting can't be held at antoher time.

If it can be contact HR.

nellyjelly Thu 29-Nov-12 16:54:59

Well his argument is we need to meet weekly to plan for the week ahead on a Monday. My day off. I suppose there is sense in that though why not Friday for the following week?

ethelb Thu 29-Nov-12 17:48:47

Hmm. Our management and planning meetings are all on Mondays tbf. Though my employers do offer lots of flexible working but strongly discourage staff not being in on Mondays.

I would have a sensible chat with hr and see what they think. They might be on your side, they may offer to negotiate other contract terms on which case you could argue something more beneficial for you.

MontBlanc Thu 29-Nov-12 17:59:56

That is a ridiculous argument that you need to plan the week ahead on a Monday, you can plan the following week any day! I really would push on this point.

ilovesooty Thu 29-Nov-12 18:34:18

I agree with Wilson

The meeting on your day off needs tackling: we have two part timers in our team and the team meeting was moved to a day they both work.

The rest of the stuff is, in my view, not unreasonable. And if you lose your funding you will all presumably lose your jobs. I think YABU in refusing to expect your partner to be flexible.

kdiddy Thu 29-Nov-12 18:41:53

Whilst I think he needs a reality check, I also think it is reasonable for a business to expect a couple to share childcare, rather than it fall on one person only. He might be a bit more reasonable with you if you can make some obvious gesture, by getting your DH to cover one of the days. People like your boss often need to see some visible reminder you are committed - even if you know you are.

kelpeed Fri 30-Nov-12 00:21:00

There is no hard and fast rule for the best time for weekly meetings. We have had our weekly meetings on Fridays. We also had them on Tuesdays, as Monday would be devoted to deadling with the weekend rush of new requests.

I've had 2 bosses who didn't want to change the weekly meeting. But i've also 4 bosses that said when I started "we can change the meeting to a day when everyone is here" . The latter were bosses who had kids and /or their wives/partners had kids and were working part time. The former were bosses who were single/no kids, no outside life, and/or their partners did most of the childcare.

The company I worked for had the top executive repeatedly used to say "all the positions here are part time unless otherwise negotiated". (lucky). So I hope you do work something out. It would be sad if you couldn't, why should parttimers be hounded out because of your bosses inability to work around what should be little stuff like this.

There is lots of good advice here. But let us know how you go, so us mostly lurkers can put your experience into our toolkit for managing bosses like this.

youngermother1 Fri 30-Nov-12 00:58:45

Agree he is being difficult and feel sorry for you, but would like to ask why it is nearly impossible for your DH employers to be flexible occasionally?

nellyjelly Fri 30-Nov-12 19:47:34

DH teaches in a college. He has teaching from 9 am most days, has a long commute so has to leave at 7.30 to get there on time. There is no flexibility as has to be there in front of the class. Doesn't get half terms as is adult education.

Will report back when I have tried to address problems with boss.

ilovesooty Fri 30-Nov-12 20:12:08

Sorry, but I don't think your employer should be expected to see the work arrangements of your husband as a justification for you to be the only part of the partnership wanting flexibility, and your employer shouldn't have to shoulder all the implications posed by your childcare needs. IMO your husband needs to speak to his employers are offer some support regarding covering childcare.

ilovesooty Fri 30-Nov-12 20:12:42

and offer some support - sorry.

nellyjelly Fri 30-Nov-12 20:28:29

He is a teacher. He has to be in front of the class at 9 am. How can there be any flexibility? In any event I am not asking to start work late, I am saying that I can't be expected to start a meeting at 8am 45 mls from home. Kids or not I believe that is unreasonable. I don't mind the odd early start but my core hours are 9 to 5.

MontBlanc Fri 30-Nov-12 20:36:42

I agree, expecting an 8 am start at an offsite some distance away from the normal office is unreasonable for everyone!

plutocrap Fri 30-Nov-12 21:35:16

Don't refer to your "day off". You are still working, just for someone else!

nellyjelly Fri 30-Nov-12 21:35:54

True! It is tougher at home with a 2 yr old tbh!

plutocrap Fri 30-Nov-12 21:57:15

Most unreasonable clients I know, children are! grin

plutocrap Fri 30-Nov-12 21:58:26

I meant that funny syntax to evoke Paul Merton rather than Yoda, by the way!

ilovesooty Fri 30-Nov-12 22:16:21

He is a teacher. He has to be in front of the class at 9 am. How can there be any flexibility?

There is surely the possibility of cover - what happens if he is ill? I don't think what your husband does for a living should mean that your employer has to take all the implications of your childcare needs.

Is there anything in your contract about the expectation that you will work flexibly when required? We sometimes have to attend meetings and training starting at 9am nearly 100 miles from the office. We sometimes have to do prison pick ups some way from home/the office base and be there for 8am. Our core hours are 9-5 but it would not be acceptable to cite childcare as a justification for not performing your duties. And in this day and age refusing to deviate from your core hours, especially if you have management responsibility, is likely to put you at risk of redundancy if your funding is lost.

I maintain that expecting you to be at meetings on a day you don't work is absolutely unreasonable,and this needs to be tachled, but I don't think the other expectations necessarily are.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 30-Nov-12 22:38:41

I don't think you are wrong OP I think your boss is a complete arse, but I would be careful about how you tackle it.

Regarding the meet up, I guess I would want to have my team meeting on a Monday if I were the boss as it sets priorities for the week, but I know when I didn't work a Monday my boss made it first thing on a Tuesday. Can you suggest to him that he makes it on a Friday - offer to set up the meetings and book the room if it will soften the blow.

As for the 8am start - I would struggle with this as I'm in a similar position to you DH works further away so I do all pick ups and drop offs, but he has a wee bit of flexibility for the odd occasion.

For the course I would say to him that you will drop off DCs and get there as soon as you absolutely can, but cannot be there for 8am as it is a one hour drive away. I wouldn't be defensive or abrasive about it, just state it as a fact and see what he does with it. If he then starts saying you absolutely have to be there thats the point at which I would think about discussing with HR.

Don't over worry yourself with the 8am meetings becoming the norm. Even if they do then you just continue to get there as early as you can and be pleasant but not apologetic about it.

On the holidays - maybe don't tackle that at the same meeting grin but for this I see absolutely nothing wrong with emailing to say "Please can you confirm if I can have the holidays requested in Feb - I need to know by xx date so that if they are not accepted I can ensure that I can book DCs into holiday club as spaces run out. Thanks " I'd keep it friendly at this stage, and I would keep emailing him on a weekly basis until you get an answer.

Good luck.

MontBlanc Sat 01-Dec-12 10:24:57

Good advice from theoriginal - bosses like people who present solutions rather than being the whining employee that is always moaning about something. So offering to reorganise the meeting etc. will make you look like you can fix problems rather than create additional ones.

Also agree you should tackle the most important thing first and perhaps leave the holiday a week or two.

Good luck!

ilovesooty Sat 01-Dec-12 12:49:38

bosses like people who present solutions rather than being the whining employee that is always moaning about something. So offering to reorganise the meeting etc. will make you look like you can fix problems rather than create additional ones

While I agree with the main thrust of this, I don't think the OP should have to sort out the situation of the meeting on a day she doesn't work. What her boss is doing there is discriminatory and I think that's the issue that needs to be addressed. I think she'd be far better off trying to find a way of dealing with the away day problem.

And whatever the client demand, I think if only she and one other person want the Feb half term week off, she should really be given an answer on that so that she knows what arrangements she needs to make.

Sallyingforth Sat 01-Dec-12 13:18:02

I think two weeks in long enough to arrange childcare for two early mornings.

That's all very well but this is how the new manager intends to work and it will happen again and again. The OP needs to make clear that it is not acceptable to change her established working hours like this.

ilovesooty Sat 01-Dec-12 14:15:42

I think I'd agree if she didn't have a management role. I think management responsibility usually comes with the expectation that you'll work flexibly. In any event I don't think it's reasonable for one parent and not the other to make any different arrangements, and she will certainly not be making a good impression when or if redundancy comes into play.

kickassangel Sat 01-Dec-12 15:02:05

I'm a teacher and if something meant I had to be away from the class I set cover and requested a sub. I think your do needs to accept that the children are his as well as yours and be prepared to do this. Even if his college won't get cover just for one hour then he can set work. You say it's adult education so it won't have the same concerns about kids misbehaving.

If the new boss keeps trying to shift things close to his home then it would be worth raising as unfair to effectively move where you're working, but just for two days try to find a way.

The weekly meetings are a big no. He is effectively changing your contract. Check your contract to see how thus is covered.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sat 01-Dec-12 15:22:50

ilovesooty - I think it also depends on the salary. Management could mean anything from being a retail manager with a salary not much higher than minimum wage up to 40% tax rate roles and above. If its the latter then yup a bit of flexibility and proactivity is required, if its the former then not so much.

It's all very well saying oh DH has to do his share, but for example in my situation my DH is a contractor and earns 5 x as much as I do per day and as a contractor has much less job security than myself. I have deliberately gone down a grade so that I can feasibly work reduced hours ( was on my way to a nervous brakedown at the higher grade as taking work home all the time, didn't feel I could say no if meetings outside my scheduled hours etc)

Therefore in our situation, I am and always will be the primary go to for child care arrangements. I make sure that I don't take the mickey and as DS is a bit older (6) am lucky enough to know other parents that could potentially do drop offs and pick ups on an ad hoc basis as required with me obviously returning the favour when I can.

Like the OP I have no family near by so if I had been requested to get into work when DS was younger for 8.00am then it would have been very difficult for me. DH could perhaps have done it for one day, but like I say he is a contractor and works further away so could not rock up at 10.00am two days running just because my manager is on a power trip.

Also re redundancy. Having been through a massive redundancy exercise last year, the one and only thing that is usually taken into consideration is finance. Regardless of how good you are etc etc, those who are on a final salary pension and/or are considered expensive are the ones who will go,it's highly unlikely a relatively junior manager will be asked to input into the process.

So OP I wouldn't at this stage make it into a personal crusade or mention to your manager that you feel discriminated against. I would state and restate what you can and can't do - probably by email at this stage so you have a trail if required for HR and take it from there.

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