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


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.

DamnBamboo Wed 23-Jan-13 22:53:00

You do want to get her into trouble and personally, I don't think you give a shit if it's public money or not.

She is getting a paid day off every two weeks (albeit wrongly) and you don't like it and you want to shop her for it. Nothing actually wrong with that I suppose if you want to tell on her, but just say it like it is, don't dress it up

public money my arse

MrsKeithRichards Wed 23-Jan-13 22:53:16

Is what she is doing affecting your work load?

Icelollycraving Wed 23-Jan-13 22:58:51

Ok,I think her being paid out of the publics money is irrelevant frankly.
Be aware you will probably lose this perk if you highlight it to your manager.
I personally would say that the perk works well for you & you don't want to jeopardise it being in place once she sails off into retirement ( to the colleague) but she is taking the piss & it is building resentment. Perhaps threaten that if she continues you will complain about it to hr.

MrsKeithRichards Wed 23-Jan-13 23:00:37

It's your managers job to make sure it's working.

ClumsyClumberson Wed 23-Jan-13 23:00:51

In my organisation, abuse of the flexi system is treated as fraud and staff who are found to have abused the system are asked to pay back the monetary value of the hours they have 'stolen'. They are also usually dismissed.

As a manager, I would want to know if a staff member is suspected of flexi abuse.

SamSmalaidh Wed 23-Jan-13 23:04:20

If it's not actually effecting you, then you are just being nasty and petty trying to get someone else into trouble.

CalamityJ Wed 23-Jan-13 23:05:19

I'm with you on YANBU by virtue of the bit about fairness. Others are working 10 days in 10 days, you are working 10 days in 9 days and getting 1 day off, she is working 9 days and getting paid 10 days. Sounds unfair to me. Sounds like you've tried raising it a few times with her. You don't want her slackness at not doing her hours potentially reflecting on you and having your arrangement denied because of her abusing the trust. As someone who works in the public sector too I do get more annoyed with people abusing trust because it is public money being wasted. Businesses will make the books balance and if that means getting rid of people who aren't pulling their weight they will eventually get their comeupppance. Sacking someone slack in the public sector seems virtually impossible. These people always seem to justify it as that they're 'owed' something by their employer but TBH that's a load of bull as they also 'owe' it to their colleagues not to be a slacker. Someone will be picking up the work she isn't doing on the day she's not in and hasn't built up the time to take. It's attitudes like that which start the slippery slope of collective decisions not to pull their weight in order to even things out. Then everyone slacks off and the public pays for people to not be working at capacity. Shop her by saying she's abusing her line manager's trust (the other info commute, retirement, voluntary redundancy is I think going to cloud the issue).

13Iggis Wed 23-Jan-13 23:09:42

Maybe she things over the years she's worked there she has worked enough unpaid overtime to deserve the time.
Maybe she has.
I can see why it annoys you, but there will always be people who work harder/less hard than we do. It annoys me when managers get paid twice as much as me for noting doing much, but that's another matter!

Whiteshoes Wed 23-Jan-13 23:11:03

I don't see why a reasonable manager would scrap the scheme if one person said that they weren't sure that x was doing the appropriate hours. I wouldn't. I'd be grateful, and wouldn't punish the whistleblower. But at work we have a handy spreadsheet that allows everyone to record their hours and which can be seen by senior managers. Plus we trust each other too.

hatgirl Wed 23-Jan-13 23:11:06

I really don't want to get her into trouble and I'm fully aware saying something about it will probably affect me also. I'm the only one that is really aware its happening as we are supposed to be in earlier/ later than everyone else so as far as anyone else is concerned she is doing the hours she is supposed to. I'm worried that if she does get found out and i've been keeping schtum that i will get into trouble as well in being complicit in it. I appreciate my bosses trust in us and hate that its being taken advantage of. I have tried to address this with her myself and got nowhere.

It is affecting my workload but only because she is completely hopeless with computers and I have to give her a lot of help with the basics (creating folders/ saving word documents). One of the reasons we are allowed to do the same hours was so that we we would have some peace and quiet for me to go through things with her without distraction and help her get things organised - because that isn't happening she is taking up a lot of my time at other parts of the day instead. I don't mind helping her and she is always lovely to me and grateful for the help.

HollyBerryBush Wed 23-Jan-13 23:11:26

She wants to leave. She applied for VR and was refused. She's had enough. You'd really fuck her pension over for the sake of a long lunch?

it doesn't exactly directly impact on me

I really cant wait till we're all working till we drop with some snippity bitch on our heels.

Report if you will and you'll find your work load goes back 9-5 with clocking in and out.

KatherinaMinola Wed 23-Jan-13 23:13:18

What DamnBamboo and MrsKeithRichards said. Worry about what you're doing, not what everyone else is doing.

deleted203 Wed 23-Jan-13 23:13:47

I don't think YABU to be pissed off that you are working your backside off for the extra day off and she isn't bothering to pull her weight, but is getting the benefits anyway. I think my initial thought would be to speak to her about it. I would be blunt and say to her that you've mentioned it to her a couple of times because you thought she didn't understand how the system worked, but that she hasn't taken the hint. I would tell her now that you are thoroughly pissed off about the fact that you are playing the game and she isn't. Tell her that she piggy backed into this on the back of your request and that you are furious to think that her piss taking may mean that when it comes to light the boss decides that NO ONE is getting to work flexi hours. Tell her that you are not prepared to continue like this and that either she starts doing the extra hours or that you will go to the boss and complain about it. That puts the ball in her court and if she doesn't shape up you have done her the courtesy of warning her that you are going to make a complaint about it.

ceeveebee Wed 23-Jan-13 23:16:41

Unless there is a direct impact on you ie you having to pickup the slack and do her work for her, then its none of your business

mugglebert Wed 23-Jan-13 23:17:17

At my company it would also be treated as fraud and any employees hat were aware fraud was being commited and did not report it would also be disciplined... You should discuss it with your manager, they're unlikely to change your arrangement as there's no reason his affects it.

MikeFlowersPops Wed 23-Jan-13 23:17:17

I don't know the right answer, but I'm in a similar position.

allthegoodnamesweretaken Wed 23-Jan-13 23:17:52

This is a whistleblowing charity, you'd get good advice here

cerealqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 23:19:20

Just don't do it, you will create bad feeling and everybody will suffer and, sorry to say, you will be the bad guy, who snitched to the boss and nobody will like you or trust you again.

hatgirl Wed 23-Jan-13 23:20:41

sorry when I said it doesn't directly impact on me I was meaning in the sense that she isn't affecting my overall working hours/ level of work, I'm just having to break off what I am doing through other times in the day.

I knew I was being petty I suppose which is why i've not said anything about it to anyone yet and using here to vent a bit. Its her problem not mine, It just gets to me that she is so comfortable doing it.

Its hard because I have a good relationship with this woman despite the above and I'm a bit sad that she thinks putting me/her in this position is ok.

DamnBamboo Wed 23-Jan-13 23:22:35

Oh please hatgirl

Worried that keeping schtum will get you in trouble? How old are you?

Are you expected to monitor each others arrival, lunch break, and departure? If not, then why on earth would you get into trouble.

IF she asks for help, say you can't and tell her to ask your manager for some extra support in that area.

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

DamnBamboo Wed 23-Jan-13 23:23:17

What position exactly is she putting you in?

NatashaBee Wed 23-Jan-13 23:26:25

I think if you tell your boss, he will feel obliged to stop flexible working for everyone, not just your colleague, because its something he clearly wasn't able to police sufficiently. If you wait for it to come to his attention at least you won't lose the trust of your co-workers and can continue to make sure you cover your ass and are seen to be doing the correct hours. If you tell on your colleague she'll probably realise its you who told and try and drag you down with her.

mirpuppet Wed 23-Jan-13 23:27:48

you are being petty -- you are not the police

cerealqueen Wed 23-Jan-13 23:30:32

YOur boss should have some sense if what is going on himself. He can't be totally clueless?

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

StrictlySalsaDancingDiva Wed 23-Jan-13 23:57:04

We operate a flexible working policy at work. This would be considered fraud where I work too. The best solution is to implement a clocking in and out system, and have the hours logged. All staff in the dept I work in have to, so we are all treated fairly and this just can't happen!

aufaniae Wed 23-Jan-13 23:58:20

"I don't want to tell tales on someone I get along with"

Then don't.

mirry2 Wed 23-Jan-13 23:58:51

When is she due to retire?

ElectricSheep Wed 23-Jan-13 23:59:52

This is none of your business.

You've told her what you think now it's up to her what she does.

You are not 'complict' - afterall her work hours aren't being noticed by her boss, so why should it be thought they'd be noticed by you?

<glad I don't work with some of the self-righteous snitches above>

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 00:00:04

DamnBamboo you seem to think I just want to get my colleague into trouble... I really don't, if that were the case I would have 'told tales' long ago and I would have highlighted her complete hopelessness with computers (its much much worse than anyone other than me knows about) rather than giving her massive amounts of help informally and eventually she asked to use the time for me to help her fill in the gaps canyons in her IT knowledge in the most unobtrusive way possible. Its waaaay outside my job description but I'm happy to do it because she is an otherwise valued colleague with a lot to give to the team. She just has a penchant for long lunches, late starts and early finishes which doesn't really help the situation she finds herself in with the IT side of things.

Gah... seems MN is as undecided as I am

StuntGirl Thu 24-Jan-13 00:00:30

My work would also discipline a member of staff if they found out you had lied to cover another member of staff, even if it was a lie of omission. For that reason alone I'd have to either tell her she needs to sort it out, or speak to my boss about it. She might have 'paid her dues' but she hasn't retired yet.

solittletimeandsomuchtodo Thu 24-Jan-13 00:05:41

If she screws up the system you would suffer and lose it. I would mention it personally.

MrsMushroom Thu 24-Jan-13 00:05:41

Either you're pissed off about training her or your pissed off about her longer breaks....which is it?

You keep mentioning her computer skills now....

I think you do sound petty. She's close to retirement, leave her be. When you're in your 60s and knackered you might do as she does.

LauraPashley Thu 24-Jan-13 00:06:56

Do you think your boss knows? It is possible for her not to know?

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 00:11:16

if im 60 and knackered - i wont condense my hours if i can't do them or think about MY retirement as i willfully put it in danger

Snazzynewyear Thu 24-Jan-13 00:12:18

Well I wouldn't want to work with people who thought it was morally just fine for people being paid to do a job to loaf around and do nothing while others who've found themselves out of work, who would actually show up and do a proper job, get treated like lazy cheats by the system.

If I were this person's manager, I would not let this slide, but I would speak to her bluntly and you know she's winding down, but she still has to do her hours and get her arse into gear because it is not fair on her colleagues to treat her differently. I would tell her explicitly it was an informal warning and if she continued I would pursue it formally, and ask her if she wanted to risk her pension. <I should run the country emoticon>

lastsplash that analogy doesn't really work because this woman is not 'accidentally' slacking, she's doing so very deliberately. It's not so benign as some of you want to think.

Snazzynewyear Thu 24-Jan-13 00:13:39

custardo agree completely. The woman is choosing to do all this knowing the possible consequences. Her fault if it goes pear shaped, no-one else's.

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 00:15:08

Just to clear a few things up... she is fully aware that I'm annoyed about it and we have had words to that effect - this is what I mean, we have a good enough relationship with her for me to go to her directly about it. On everything else, and about everything else we get on fine.

Her response is basically that she feels the organisation owes her it anyway - which is probably true over the years.

I'm not bitching about her behind her back (other than to you lot) and no one else in the team is aware how I feel as i think its between me/her/our boss. My boss trusts us to get on with it and there is no monitoring/ clocking in system - he is managing 4 teams so is rarely on site.

ShellyBoobs Thu 24-Jan-13 00:19:10

It's fraud. It's taking the piss. It's not on.

Some of my staff work flexibly and if I found one of them was doing this I'd make damn sure it didn't continue. If that resulted in someone losing their job, so be it. I put a lot of emphasis on trusting my team and not checking up on their every move. This would seriously piss me off if it came to light and would probably result in other people's privileges being lost too. How can a manager trust a team who cover up something like this?

And no, you can't hold the manager solely responsible for the piss-taking; if you want to go down that road (as I notice a lot of MNers do - it's either the bosses fault, or the government's fault for every issue in their lives) then you have to accept being baby-sat rather than managed.

There's nothing like this sort of scenario to utterly demoralise a team.

To the poster who said to OP "don't mess up her life by going to a manager with this", that's about the most pathetic thing I've read in this thread. There's ONE person who would be responsible for messing up a life and it's not the fucking OP.

OTTMummA Thu 24-Jan-13 00:20:37

Op I had this, except it was a retail job and he was my assistant manager, superior to me, he felt 'owed' and used to just up and leave hours before his shift ended, or have 2 hour lunches!! It causes resentment and it isn't fair. You don't owe her shit, tell her up front you will be saying something unless she can come in early, oh and stop helping her out unless she comes in at the same time as you as well.

It's fraud, pure and simple.The organisation does not "owe her" FFS! As for all those comments about it being petty and it's not your business; dear god are we still in the playground been warned by the bully not to 'grass them up' angry? Well it's not petty, and it IS your business! I absolutely agree with your comment "I'm worried that if she does get found out and i've been keeping schtum that i will get into trouble as well in being complicit in it." And she has no right to put you in that position, but she's done it anyway by being so blatant.

I would go with sowornout's sugestion (23:13:47). Give her one last chance to get her act together, warn her you'll take it to the manager otherwise to keep yourself in the clear. If she's stupid enough to continue after that, then hell scud it in to her. If she screws her pension up (pointing that out to her might be a big eyeopener for her) it will be her own doing.

Snazzynewyear Thu 24-Jan-13 00:23:42

That's a good point - I would withdraw any help with the computer stuff while this continues. She is not entitled to gave you do her job for her and also to slack off. Tell her that that's how unhappy it's made you and you won't be pitching in anymore, and she will have to explain why she can't do stuff.

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 00:25:24

mrsmushroom i don't think i've said i'm pissed off about the training and if I have it wasn't meant in that way. I don't mind helping her at all (even after the millionth time i've shown her how to create a folder grin). I did this long before we worked the additional hours, the additional hours were just supposed to give us a bit of quiet time to do it in after she identified to our boss in supervision that she was struggling with it and how much help she was needing from me and others.

She is mid 50s and had always thought/hoped she would be able to retire at 55 and this has not happened so understandably she is a bit peeved.

Andro Thu 24-Jan-13 00:25:25

Managing 4 teams and rarely on site would explain why your manager hasn't noticed it.

MidniteScribbler Thu 24-Jan-13 00:31:31

The problem with just ignoring it is that things like this start to fester in an office. I can assure you that it's more than one person noticing. I had a colleague that would call in sick on a Friday whenever there was a public holiday on the Monday. It got so bad that the boss would refuse all legitimate holiday requests for those Fridays because he knew that he'd be up the creek without staff to paddle because this person always called in sick. Instead of disciplining the worker concerned, it festered and festered until it ended up as a screaming match in the middle of the office when another worker couldn't take the day as a leave day to see her son play in a national competition. The boss ended up being sacked by his boss, the worker concerned was sacked and the team never fully regained their mojo and eventually everyone found other jobs within a six month period.

The actions of one person can have a huge demoralising effect on the rest of the team. Behaviour like this needs to be nipped in the bud. People do notice if someone is always coming in late, or taking long lunches, or spending too much time on Facebook in the office. And because most people prefer to be non confrontational in the workplace, it just niggles and niggles and niggles at them until people can't take it any longer. People get snappy with each other, and the standard of work starts slipping because people sulk and say "well if she's not pulling her weight, then I'm not either."

If she feels that she is "owed" time for additional overtime she has done during the years, then she needs to discuss that with her boss and make arrangements accordingly. Otherwise, she needs to work to her contract and employment conditions that she agreed to.

dayshiftdoris Thu 24-Jan-13 00:32:19

If this member of staff abuses a flexible working agreement and it is discovered then you can bet your bottom dollar the organisation will be reluctant to allow similar arrangements again...

So it will affect the OP and potentially many others...

This happened at my work - no one was given flexible working for nearly 10years as they had people who had done something similar to this and the reasoned they couldnt afford to get into the same mess...
When they did agree to flexible working the restrictions were massive and complex.

I would go to your boss and ask for a formal method of signing in - explain it in the manner than you want to prove that this system works for the future and this evidence will provide invaluable information to the company

WilsonFrickett Thu 24-Jan-13 00:36:20

You are not her manager. Presumably her manager knows she's taking the piss. I can't imagine managing a team and not knowing someone is abusing their working patterns. Unless the manager isnt there/doesn't care, in which case a colleague slacking off is the least of your worries.

The one thing I would do is make sure all the time spent 'supporting' this colleagues lack of IT knowledge is logged and referenced at your annual review.

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 00:39:47

i would e-mail boss, tell him you want it treated under the whistleblowers policy - you will have one - read it.

be anonymous

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 00:46:05

WilsonFrickett its public sector and due to various cuts/ sickness/ restructure my manager is now managing quadruple the amount of work he had 18 months ago. He is a fantastic manager doing an impossible job and frankly this will be the least of his worries, however he won't exactly be happy that she is getting a day off 'for free' if he becomes aware of it, which he won't unless I tell him as I am the only person who knows.

My colleague is upfront about her lack of IT skills (but I think underestimates just how much) and both she and I have discussed the amount of support she gets from me in supervision separately. Our job essentially has nothing to do with IT, it is a frontline job but at the end of the day everything is computer based these days and as skilled as she is at the actual job her IT skills are shite (I say that affectionately!) it is very much acknowledged by her and others how much support she gets and she is very grateful towards me for all the help which just makes me feel all the more worse for getting annoyed about her not doing her working hours.

Not grateful enough to not put you in this position though, hatgirl ...

AgnesBligg Thu 24-Jan-13 01:10:57

Is she behind in her work, as a result of her tenth day off?

Bogeyface Thu 24-Jan-13 01:15:33

Havent read the thread but my first instinct was "shop her the freeloading bitch!" and then I thought.....hang on.......if you do then the trust is gone and the next person who wants flexible working may not get it because of her.

If it was impacting on you and the rest of the team then I would say do it, dob her in, but it isnt. So actually I would be inclined to let it go with the manager but make it clear to her that you are pissed off with her taking the piss. The next person that requests flexible working may need it far more than her and may impact them more if it is turned down.

I think in this case, for the greater good, you should let it go. It would piss me off massively though.

Bogeyface Thu 24-Jan-13 01:24:56 I have read about the person who knew being disciplined alongside the pisstaker I have changed my mind. But I would try and make sure I dobbed her in in a way that didnt bugger it up for anyone else. Perhaps in a "I dont think she is coping with compressed hours" kind of way rather than "she is skiving and taking the piss"

thefirstmrsrochester Thu 24-Jan-13 01:47:47

As bogey says. Exactly.

I think you need to act like a responsible adult here. She is abusing her managers trust, putting you in a difficult position and risking the loss of the compressed hours privilege for both of you if she is found out. She has no regard for you or the rest of the team, given the way she is choosing to behave.

I would put this to her very bluntly, even more than you have done already, and tell her I wasn't prepared to collude with her in this anymore.

For those of you telling the OP to stay quiet, this is not the primary school playground, or a communist "them vs us" state. Adults in the workplace have a responsibility to those around them and the OP's workmate is abusing that.

VestaCurry Thu 24-Jan-13 03:31:09

Stop helping her if she is useless at the basics on a computer. IMO that is where she is dumping on you and it should stop. You need to say 'no I am busy', 'no I don't have the time as I have to get my work done in a certain amount of hours'.
Stop carrying her. As for the rest, just ignore and if it happens to come up you didn't notice because you're so bloody busy (unlike her).

MummytoKatie Thu 24-Jan-13 03:46:51

So she is supposed to do 10 mins at the start and end of the day and 30 mins less at lunch?

Doesn't everyone else notice the lunch thing?

Also I'm surprised people aren't noticing the 10 mins thing. If someone is due to start 10 mins before you then I would expect them to always be in the office when I arrived. If they started at the same time as me then I'd expect it to be roughly 50:50.

I work in an office that has completely flexible working but I'd say if I had to I could probably pull together a spreadsheet of who works when as I know who is there when I arrive at various times, who leaves before me and who sends me an email at 8:34pm to say that they've just finished XYZ and what do I think.

Not saying that you should or shouldn't whistleblower - just that I'm surprised it is only you who knows this.

Chottie Thu 24-Jan-13 04:29:14

I don't think this is petty too. She maybe lovely, near retirement etc. etc. but the bottom line is that she is being paid for 10 days work, but only doing 9. That's approx. 2 days a month or 24 days a year.

I would not be happy either. I would be open with her too, she is obviously doing it as she can get away with it. Flexi working is very much built on trust. Fast forward and she will be retired and you maybe reaping the results of her slackness i.e. less flexible working in the future.

I don't understand all the comments about 'public money' either. That is money that is provided by us all from various taxes we pay.

retrocutie Thu 24-Jan-13 05:48:45

She is jeopardising the arrangement for everybody. If she gets caught, they could scrap it. She is being very selfish, IMO. For that reason, I would have a quiet word with your manager and explain that she doesn't really seem to understand the arrangement, and perhaps needs it explaining to her.

It's fraud. It's taking the piss. It's not on.

Some of my staff work flexibly and if I found one of them was doing this I'd make damn sure it didn't continue. If that resulted in someone losing their job, so be it. I put a lot of emphasis on trusting my team and not checking up on their every move. This would seriously piss me off if it came to light and would probably result in other people's privileges being lost too. How can a manager trust a team who cover up something like this?

And no, you can't hold the manager solely responsible for the piss-taking; if you want to go down that road (as I notice a lot of MNers do - it's either the bosses fault, or the government's fault for every issue in their lives) then you have to accept being baby-sat rather than managed.

There's nothing like this sort of scenario to utterly demoralise a team.

To the poster who said to OP "don't mess up her life by going to a manager with this", that's about the most pathetic thing I've read in this thread. There's ONE person who would be responsible for messing up a life and it's not the fucking OP.

What a fascinating insight into people's varying levels of professionalism this has been. wink

TheArbiter Thu 24-Jan-13 06:25:51

Realistically, OP, I would keep schtum, as it may put paid to your own flexible working arrangement. Your colleague will be gone soon enough anyway.

KhallDrogo Thu 24-Jan-13 06:42:23

Oh please......its lovelly that everyone has such loyalty to their employers. It's like Stockholm Syndrome. She think they owe her, and she is almost certainly right.

There is only one reason you want to tell, and that's because she is getting something you arent.

KhallDrogo Thu 24-Jan-13 06:44:37

If you are going to do it, don't do it anonymously. She will know its you anyway

Inertia Thu 24-Jan-13 06:59:12

Of course she is in the wrong. But it's possible that your flexi arrangement will also be cancelled if you make a complaint, so it's a tough call.

I think I would be inclined to tell her that you are only able to help her with IT stuff at the designated quiet times, because you don't want to get into trouble if management are tracking work patterns and you are doing that work in the time allocated to other tasks.

LessMissAbs Thu 24-Jan-13 07:03:03

It sounds like she has lost interest in her job. It is your manager's job to be aware of such things, otherwise how does he manage?

I think id have to say something about it, as its demoralising to work with a shirked. But im not sure it will do you any good. I've been in public sector jobs where worse is tolerated, in one job (ironically a department set up to investigate fraudulent claims for public money), one employee who'd been there for years used to just not come in perhaps 10% of the time, but got neither marked off sick or had to take it as holiday. His manager knew, in fact he was a manager himself...

Anyway, it is your managers job to know, and to manage. Its such a basic duty of managing that saying he is too busy isn't good enough. The trouble is, it probably won't impact on you well. Your morality is being affected by poor management. This is how workplaces lose good members of staff...

janey68 Thu 24-Jan-13 07:09:35

She's obviously taking the piss as you have tried to raise this several times and she's just carrying on.

Why not approach your boss, and suggest that as the flexible working is a new system, you feel it would be useful to have a monitoring and review system implemented so that it's effectiveness can be measured. (I'm surprised this isn't standard procedure tbh- your manager sounds very slack). This way you aren't making it a personal issue about the other woman, you are simply asking for a system to be implemented for any flexible workers, which includes you. You can say that as it was you who specifically asked for FW first, it's important that anyone else in the workfforce can see how it works and know that it's a fair and transparent system.

The other thing i would do, given that the arrangment was made partly so you can provide tech support for this woman, is to arrange a set of specific times when you will run through stuff with her. Memo her suggesting 7am or whatever time she should start, or during one of the shortened lunch breaks, saying you will run through X Y Z with her. If she then fails to show up, you have clearer evidence of how the arrangment isn't working.

At the end of the day, if everyone in the workforce did what she's doing there would be uproar. She is basically reducing to a 9 day fortnight while remaining on full time pay and privileges. If she wants to work reduced hours she should be honest and ask for it- not pretend she's working full time hours still.

Flisspaps Thu 24-Jan-13 07:29:08

YY to only offering your IT assistance at the agreed times - before and after the standard hours, and after the shortened lunch break.

Make it clear that you are unavailable to help at any other time. She had been given these hours to enable you to do this, and you don't have time to be stopping and starting all day to play at being Bill Gates.

You can mention that it is possible for your hours to be monitored via the log-in system. You don't need to say that it is actually happening. If she's not IT-savvy, she may not have realised that, but it may put the wind up her enough to get her in - and out - on time.

maddening Thu 24-Jan-13 07:31:04

Well guys - there's a recession on - so if everyone slacks off and steals hours surely you are weakening your company in a time where businesses are failing - grow up - you get paid to do a job and if everyone took that attitude the company fails and hey presto you're all unemployed because some twat likes a free extra month off each year.

I like the idea of asking for a monitoring system.

I also think that your help should only be available during the agreed times.

Gigondas Thu 24-Jan-13 07:51:51

I agree with awesome wellies and shellyboobs - say something. Us I would be direct as custardo suggests.

We had a situation like this with someone who was "working at home " a lot (except she clearly wasn't as it monitoring showed). She wasn't disciplined (mores the pity as had a long history of piss taking of one kind or another but boss was weak which is a side issue). But 1. She upset team morale with people picking up her work - one person left as direct result of working with her 2. Although didn't discipline her, boss was wary enough of flexible working to refuse next request to do it. Ok- this may have happened anyway but the pisstakers behaviour had got in the way of flexible working request for others. That has real consequences for those who appreciate it and need it to fit round family life Etc.

Yes maybe the op does have an element of being narked (she is human) but it does affect her and others indirectly.

pingu2209 Thu 24-Jan-13 08:00:41

This has nothing to do with you. Unless it directly impacts your job then I would leave it alone. Your lovely work place could be put out of balance by your conversation with your boss. Your colleague would know exactly where it has come from if he starts to watch her and other colleagues may not take the same view as you.

Morloth Thu 24-Jan-13 08:03:10

If it is your problem, then it is your business.

If it is NOT your proble, then it isn't your business.

So if it is having an actual effect on your workload then you need to say something. If it just pisses you off then you should not.

If she isn't pulling her weight, surely it will start to show?

ENormaSnob Thu 24-Jan-13 08:06:43

I would tell.

TheFallenNinja Thu 24-Jan-13 08:06:57

You seem mean, what's really bothering you?

hermioneweasley Thu 24-Jan-13 08:07:55

I am shocked at the people saying that the colleagues behaviour is ok, none of OP's business etc. I suddenly feel hugely lucky to have hard working colleagues and team - I didn't realise so many people have an 'us and them' mentality. And the suggestion that you would be messing up her life or pension when she is in total control of this?! I wonder what people would say if you found out she was stealing £100 a week from the organisation - would everyone still say it's none of your business?

And I think it is extra bad that she is wasting public funds.

OP I agree with the suggestions from others that you speak to her one last time about your concerns about how this might impact on you and other flexi workers, as well as not being fair on the team who have more workload to manage. If she says she's owed (not sure how she works that one out - presumably she has been paid a salary all these years!) state you disagree and you are going to raise it.

Morloth Thu 24-Jan-13 08:10:16

Is she getting the work done?

As a manager that is pretty much my main concern. If the work is getting done, I don't mind if my people clock off early or wander in a bit late.

biff23 Thu 24-Jan-13 08:12:36

Don't want to go in to detail but we had similar in our workplace. We were pissed off but sucked it up basically because we didn't think management would do anything about it and we would be left looking like bitches. Sometimes it's just not worth the hassle. I know it's different in your case as your the one most affected, there were a few of us in the same boat.

Personally I'd keep quiet cos in most likelihood you'd end up the baddie.

I've only skim read all the replies to this thread, but am shocked at how many people think this is none of your business.

Being the coward I am and valuing a harmonious working environment I would probably quietly mention that a few questions have been asked about what hours she has been doing, so probably worth her toeing the line. Hopefully she'll start doing her contracted hours and no one else needs to be aware!

She could remain in her job for TEN YEARS! Why does everyone think she's on the verge of retirement when she's 55? It's no excuse to slack off because 'you're owed it' - if she felt she was overworked she should have flagged it at the time and dealt with it accordingly.
Wrt your situation,OP, I'd tell her that I'm not going to help her with IT in core hours any more and I'd have a quiet word with my mgr to suggest that he/she makes themselves visible in person or on email at the times that your colleague is disappearing. Your mgr can't take your word for it and needs to monitor the situation before dealing with it anyway.
I'm flabbergasted at all the posters who think this woman deserves extra holiday for no apparent reason!!

Back2Two Thu 24-Jan-13 08:26:07

Had the same in our office, and still do though I'm not there anymore.

If you actually work with someone who takes the piss then it is incredibly crap for morale and it affects your daily work and the atmosphere in the team.

Of course that is your business. You're quite rightly pissed off and I'm sure everyone else would be if they were actually in the same situation.

It's just weird that people are calling you "mean". I would just say you're being totally normal.

AnneElliott Thu 24-Jan-13 08:31:52

I also can't believe some of these responses! Abuse of flexi time is fraud and that us made clear in public sector contracts.
I would tell her that you are both bring monitored and that she should do the proper hours. Hopefully then she will stop abusing the system.

I some times can't believe the responses you get from MN sometimes. If we all did this then the public sector would meltdown.

BIWI Thu 24-Jan-13 08:44:10

Actually, not only does this impact on you, you are actually enabling her:

"One of the reasons we are allowed to do the same hours was so that we we would have some peace and quiet for me to go through things with her without distraction and help her get things organised - because that isn't happening she is taking up a lot of my time at other parts of the day instead. I don't mind helping her and she is always lovely to me and grateful for the help."

And you also say how poor her IT skills are (how hard can it be to create a new folder?!) and you are spending a lot of time helping and covering this problem up

When she asks for help next, you need to tell her that you can't help her because you are doing your own work. You don't need to point out that she is supposed to be coming in early/staying late for you to help her, simply say "I can't do it now, but how about we do this at 5.30 tonight/8.30 tomorrow, when I will be free?"

Then it's up to her. She can either get on with her job and reveal that she doesn't have the skills everyone else seems to think she has, or she can stay late/come in early to learn it from you.

And keep on doing this.

No need to be unpleasant. No need to report her or get her into trouble.

Just deal with her professionally and stop enabling this behaviour.

PessaryPam Thu 24-Jan-13 08:45:08

Tell her that you had heard that HR are building a case against someone for abusing the flexitime system and that you are worried and scrupulously recording your time as the management would like to get rid of headcount without having to pay out for redundancies and early retirement due to budget cuts. It is very possibly true in fact.

smornintime Thu 24-Jan-13 08:49:32

She could remain in her job for TEN YEARS!
She is taking the piss. Do you want to keep carrying her for this long? She is using you. I agree with others' suggestions re helping her out in the quiet times - after all, you say this was part of the original plan (is this in writing anywhere?)
I would be massively hacked off in your position and would want to do something to try to sort it out although I appreciate that going to the management might have repercussions re your own flexi arrangement or staff morale etc. Youve got to do something though otherwise you are just going to seethe...TEN YEARS remember!?

smornintime Thu 24-Jan-13 08:51:44

And what BIWI said.
If she really needs help EVERY TIME to save work or create a folder and you really can't leave her to it, then write a how-to guide and give her it. Then refer her to it when she asks for that help AGAIN.

nextphase Thu 24-Jan-13 08:52:24

As a manager, I currently have one direct report on a warning for abuse of flexi time. Carding in and out times are being monitored on a monthly basis.

Perviously a collegue has been put on fixed hrs for abuse of flexi, and one shift worker has been dismissed for sleeping through half a night shift regularly.

It would be taken seriously here. Not sure how I'd respond to someone telling me directly what was going on - but then I knew the reputation of warning worker from office gossip, before they reported to me....

Flatbread Thu 24-Jan-13 08:52:59

I am a manager. This would be my reaction:

I would be pissed at you for bringing this up, because it would mean I have to act on it, when I don't have time. You mentioned it has no impact on customer service or any output metrics, so essentially it is just a petty complaint. It also would reflect badly on me as a manager for not having noticed, and I would not like you for that.

Finally, nobody likes a snitch. This is not an Enron or price rigging situation. So let's not pretend that you would be doing anything useful. i would not like or trust you after this...

PessaryPam Thu 24-Jan-13 08:56:48

OP, you wrote there is no monitoring/ clocking in system

You do realise that the computer usage is logged,as is the email system. A pattern will be obvious from looking at the logs.

Back2Two Thu 24-Jan-13 08:57:03

Omg. Hoping flatbread is joking.
If not, how can you call yourself a "manager"? You don't want to have to manage a stiff issue as it takes up your time? I think you need some management skills training ASAP

curiousuze Thu 24-Jan-13 08:57:17

YANBU and thank god there have been some sensible replies to this since last night.

And I for one am unhappy that public money is funding her 24 extra days off! This sort of shit is why councils etc haemorrhage money.

goldiehorn Thu 24-Jan-13 08:57:35

I totally understand how frustrating this is for you OP. Cant believe people are saying its none of your business and you are being petty. Why should you be working your arse off when she just continues as she was and still reaps the benefits?

I used to work (in local government) with a guy just like this. He would blatantly lie on his flexi time sheet and then take the flexi days, did absolutely fuck all work, was always out 'on site', used to spend all his days on the internet and would make me do loads of his work (I was quite young and naive at the time). I didnt get any flexi time because I was just a temp. It was extra annoying because actually he was a very likeable guy and we got on really well, he was just sooooo frustrating!

His behaviour was widely known, but everytime someone (including the woefully weak management) brought it up, he would starting making loud noises about the fact that he was Asian and bringing up words like 'discrimination' and things would quieten down again.

However, he got his comeuppance in the end - not long after I left I heard that he was moved into another section of the department and quite swiftly got suspended and then sacked for gross misuse of the internet and his work phone!

Back2Two Thu 24-Jan-13 08:57:35

A *staff issue (could be a bit stiff too though!)

BIWI Thu 24-Jan-13 08:58:09

Thank fuck I work for myself these days.

AuntieMaggie Thu 24-Jan-13 08:58:26

What BIWI said.

I'd be surprised if others hadn't noticed and weren't quietly seething about it.

Can I just reiterate for those who think you should mind your own business that SHE IS GETTING PAID FOR HOURS SHE'S NOT WORKING OUT OF PUBLIC FUNDS! Ahem! This is what gives us in the public sector a bad name and it pisses me off!

What also pisses me off is that my organisation (public sector) no longer accepts requests for condensed hours and has come down like a sledgehammer on flexible working because of a few abusers of the system. This means people who stuck to the rules have bern penalised and those that have to work extra hours at times to provide public services often lose hours.

We have lots of near retirement people who were turned down for VR - they don't act like this!

Apart from that its fraud.

I would try BIWI's approach and if that doesn't work have a quiet word with your manager.

PessaryPam Thu 24-Jan-13 08:59:43

Flatbread, and that in a nutshell is why the management in the public sector is so, so shite.

AuntieMaggie Thu 24-Jan-13 09:00:54

I seriously hope flatbread doesn't work in the public sector..

angeltulips Thu 24-Jan-13 09:04:53

Can't believe some of the comments here - you sound 12 years old with all this "you're mean", "dibber dobber" stuff

I manage about 350 people (across multiple countries) - I have no idea if staff are clocking in on time. If someone was taking the piss & another staff member let me know, I'd have a quiet word to the piss-taker - not launch some kind of formal process. And, unless you have a particularly incompetent boss, I'd think most managers would do the same.

Incidentally, how long has your de facto IT trainer role been going on? It's a really bad use of your time. If this woman is really that hopeless (and they want to keep her) then your organisation should be sending her on some sort of formal training. I'd never put a staff member of mine in that kind of position long term - that strikes me as the most "unfair" part of this arrangement.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Thu 24-Jan-13 09:10:33

She think they owe her, and she is almost certainly right.

Cognitive Dissonance - the feeling of discomfort associated with holding two conflicting cognitions - 'I am a decent, honest, hard working person' but 'I am ripping my employers off by having every 10th day off despite not working the additional hours to accommodate it.' Therefore in order to reduce the negative feelings this creates in me = "well I've worked loads of overtime throughout the years, they owe me." She then convinces herself that this is right, she is owed this time which justifies in herself what she knows is wrong.

Your colleague is taking the piss! If it was a one off where she hadn't quite worked enough hours over the fortnight because something had cropped up in her personal life then I would certainly say let it go but she is consistently and deliberately abusing the flexible working scheme and in effect having an extra 26 days holiday a year. Why shouldn't the OP be seriously annoyed at this colleague for getting every 10th day off for nothing when she, the OP, is having to work additional hours to achieve that.

Those of you saying that it is none of the OP's business, most crimes which are committed, in which you are not the victim, are none of our business but I bet you would still report a person who had committed a burglary or assaulted someone even though it hasn't affected us, or anyone we care about, directly.

MrsWobble Thu 24-Jan-13 09:11:15

this type of situation is exactly why I will never agree to compressed hours arrangements. Even where people are scrupulous about their time and not abusing the system there is enormous potential for resentment - because in any organisation where overtime is unpaid people with compressed hours do have an advantage as they, in practice, and in my experience, do not necessarily work longer hours when everyone is working more than contractual hours.

If I were the manager and this was reported to me I would stop allowing it. That might not affect the OP or her colleague since they might by now have the contractual right to their new working hours - depending on the exact detail of the arrangements made. But I wouldn't allow any more compressed hours arrangements. So whilst I have every sympathy with the OP, and share her views on the unfairness of it all, her own best interests both directly for her own work pattern and with other colleagues who might want flexible working, would be to keep quiet unless she can find a way to raise it as a legitimate problem for her. So the suggestion to withdraw IT support outside the designated quiet times is an excellent one - that might highlight the issue without being a direct complaint about the hours and reduce the risk of the flexible working arrangement being seen as the cause of the problem.

Midgetm Thu 24-Jan-13 09:11:50

If you have noticed this I am sure your manager has too. Perhaps they think it's not worth raising due to her circumstances and forthcoming retirement. YANBU to be irked but I think you would be totally unreasonable to raise it. For me loyalty to someone I like would outweigh a petty annoyance.

OmgATalkingOnion Thu 24-Jan-13 09:12:37

Wow Flatbread fantastic management strategy you use therehmm

I am amazed that hatgirl is being told by some she's being pettyshock It wouldn't half irk me too. Saying it's ok is like saying you wouldn't mind somone paying less for their shopping than you have to when you stand behind them in the supermarket.

I would say more to the colleague and I'd be quite blunt about it. But I know I'd stop short of shopping her to the manager. She deserves it but I couldn't do it.

TandB Thu 24-Jan-13 09:13:31

She is systematically and quite deliberately defrauding your employer.

If everyone decided to do this, simply because she is doing it and getting away with it, presumably it would impact massively on the company's efficiency.

On a personal level, I would be extremely concerned about losing my manager's trust as, if she gets caught out, it will be completely obvious that you must have known what was going on and chosen to say nothing. At the very least, your standing in the company might slip a little, and at worst, the scheme may be scrapped for both of you as the manager may lose faith in its workability.

I would be inclined to speak to her one more time about two key issues:

1) She is taking up your core work-time by not being available, as agreed, for the IT assistance during the "extra" time.

2) She is putting you at risk of being found complicit in her misconduct and of losing your flexible working.

I would be clear that neither of these things are acceptable, and ask her if she intends to stop what she is doing or if you are going to have to speak to the manager about better monitoring of the working hours.

The firm may already have picked up on this through computer activity and may well be building a case against her and/or re-considering the arrangement. You need to put yourself before this dishonest woman.

IDontDoIroning Thu 24-Jan-13 09:34:01

If you worked my standard week you would have to do about an hour and a quarter a day extra. So that's not 10 minutes at the start and end of the day plus a short lunch. If you cut your lunch by 30 minutes you've still got to make up a further 45 minutes over the rest of the day.

I work in public sector and people have been sacked for this. We have a card swipe machine and software to book in/out on our computers. In ours employe handbook abuse of flexitime is considered gross misconduct. If someone posted that a colleague was stealing £x a day every day would the OP be called mean nasty and told to mind her own business ? She's getting paid to go a job she should do it. If she wanted to go part time she should cut her hours legitimately

I think the OP needs to speak to her manager and say that the IT support she is giving her is excessive this is a genuine concern and adversely impacts on the OP.

Also then mention her timekeeping say we are supposed to start earlier/finish later to do x and y when it's quiet but I don't seem to be able to do this as colleague seems to not be around at those times. I'm ending up doing it at other times when it distracts from my other work. I'm not sure what's going on but I feel I will have to stop doing x and y in the middle of the day and only do it between 8.15 to 9 or whatever and if she isn't around it won't get done.

I do understand that the Op may feel than she is risking her flexible arrangement by raising this but surely if its been done above board her employees wouldn't be able to withdraw it from her due to another persons's abusing it.

Yes the manager has got bigger problems than her timekeeping, but her timekeeping is indicative of her general inability to do her job, or the fact she doesn't really want or need to learn as Op will keep helping her out. This is the managers real problem the timekeeping is just a symptom.

I'm not much younger than this lady, it's not like she's in her sixties and has less than a year in work she could be there for another 10 years - OP do your really want this for the long term foreseeable future? It's not going to get any better either, what happens when you have the next newest software upgrade or some other changes in systems or hardware.

You also need a better way of recording your booking in / out times.

fromparistoberlin Thu 24-Jan-13 09:37:23

you are being petty, at all

its not a level playing field

now what you do..tough one

but YANBU to be annoyed

Bogeyface Thu 24-Jan-13 09:37:43

Further to my post above, my mum is 62, so a damn sight closer to retirement than this woman and she wouldnt dream of taking the piss with her flexi time!

DorisIsWaiting Thu 24-Jan-13 09:44:30

I don't think it is petty.

I have to say having tried to address it yourself already and get now where the only option really is to go to your manager. I think you are reasonable to assume that you are colluding with your colleague and ultimately putting yourself in a difficult position.

Maybe you could try on more time with your colleague - ultimately it would be a come in on time or I will be making the management aware as I have no wish to put my own job at risk by colluding with you.

For team harmony you coud ask your manager to come in early one morning?

Mumsyblouse Thu 24-Jan-13 09:44:44

I really disagree with everyone this is the OP's business or a matter of fraud. Firstly, why assume that working 8 hours a day instead of 7 necessarily makes someone a better employee? Lots of studies have shown that most workers do four, possibly five hours of really good concentrated work and the rest of the time, faff around, go for a coffee with a colleague, do admin, go on Mumsnet, do something less taxing, filing, no-one can work to their optimum all of the time.

Secondly, why is everyone outraged that someone is stealing money from the taxpayer? I'm more outraged that the public sector that the OP works for are such clock-watchers that if they do an extra hour like working through lunch (which most of us do as pretty standard in the middle of a recession, I work in a different public sector job), they expect to get a day's holiday in lieu! The clock-watching mentality is quite weird here.

Finally, everyone has to live with their own conscience and telling tales on colleagues is petty in the extreme. As a manager, I would hope I would be aware of this, and if someone came telling tales about this, I would not be interested or happy, because if it was my key priority to deal with it, I already would have done so, obviously monitoring every second of peoples' days isn't a priority or a system would be put in place.

The only bit of the complaint I am sympathetic to is to that the OP is covering up the colleague's incompetence with IT. I would stop this now, let her know and let your manager know.

catinboots Thu 24-Jan-13 09:46:41

Petty and jealous

WilsonFrickett Thu 24-Jan-13 09:46:46

I get that your boss is stretched, but essentially I see this as a management failing - particularly the IT stuff. That would really boil my piss actually. Nothing you are doing for this woman (on the IT side) is complex, she needs formal training and a formal development plan and if she can't find the skills then she needs to be moved on or out. I can't imagine a situation anywhere I've worked where someone not having the necessary skills to do their job would be met with a pat on the head and a suggestion to 'go and see X about it' because X also has a job to do.

I think you should do as pp suggested and only 'help' her within your extended hours. And I think you should speak to your boss about the amount of help you're expected to give.

OmgATalkingOnion Thu 24-Jan-13 09:55:47

Jealous how?confused Jealous because hatgirl's not the type of person to pull a fast one?

Alarielle Thu 24-Jan-13 09:58:26

yanbu she doesn' t want to work anymore and instead of looking for somewhere else or getting on with it she' s taking the piss. The place owes her nothing thats just her way of justifying doing this and if not reported it could in time when it is found out lead to a blanket ban on all flexi working because the trust isn' t there.

wibblyjelly Thu 24-Jan-13 09:59:15

I really don't understand some of the responses here's. The woman is committing fraud, but its OK as she is close to retirement?
Also, in my job, if you are aware of fraud, if you don't report it, then you will get in trouble for it.

DoodlesNoodles Thu 24-Jan-13 09:59:19

It is amazing how diffently people see the same situation! shock

DoodlesNoodles Thu 24-Jan-13 10:00:38

I would report it without a second thought.

I can't stand that type of behaviour.

Mumsyblouse Thu 24-Jan-13 10:04:11

But, everywhere I've ever worked, there's always one or two people who are pulling a fast one. It might be they say they are going on a visit and go home early, or claim a bit extra on expenses, or take lots from the stationary cupboard, or have a hangover every Monday so really are useless for that day, work-wise. Sometimes this has been at managerial level, I had a manager that never came in on Thursdays because they were out sailing. I have no idea if they made up the time on Thursday evening.

What I fail to understand is why this is the business of the OP. Sure, it is annoying when a few people aren't as conscientious as the rest, but in my experience, these people are usually found out, or are caught out, or don't progress that well because eventually it is noticed. The idea of having a formal meeting to let your boss know your colleague didn't come back from their lunch 20 minutes early is just laughable. I don't see it as my business to monitor my colleagues unless their crapness affects me, in which case if my workload was heavier, I would mention this which is why I would discuss the IT support situation.

badguider Thu 24-Jan-13 10:05:13

To be honest I am not sure if i'd report it, but I certainly wouldn't assist it - so if she needed my help with something i'd say 'sure, no problem, let's go over it after 5 tonight?' or 'lets go through it again tomorrow before everybody else comes in'.

Also, do you have timesheets? We did in the big public sector place I used to work where we had flexi time. Somehow lying on a flexisheet in writing seems more 'wrong' and so as far as i'm aware nobody did it, everybody was kept honest by the paperwork. I'd suggest this if you don't already.

Hullygully Thu 24-Jan-13 10:05:40

The only reason you would be reporting her is becasue you think it's "not fair" and she is getting one over on you.

Just so long as you are clear on that.

Hullygully Thu 24-Jan-13 10:06:54

All your other stuff, yeah but I have to break off and help her etc is just you making up stuff to dress up your motive.

badguider Thu 24-Jan-13 10:08:48

I disagree that it doesn't affect the OP - I think the whole idea of 'compressed hours' is under trial and that both staff on the system need to prove it can work or it could be withdrawn for both people. I would be worried that the untrustworthy behaviour of the other person would jeapordise an arrangement that the OP clearly CAN be trusted with.

Crinkle77 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:13:34

I agree with sowornout. I would have a word with her and say that although she feels the organisation owes her that it is not fair on her colleagues and try and make her feel guilty by emphasising that side of it. I would not go running to the boss and you will just look like a snitch. Besides she is close to retirement so will be gone soon anyway. I would be more pissed off with having to help her with the computer. Why does she not even know the basics like creating folders and saving files. If she does not know she should learn.

Mumsyblouse Thu 24-Jan-13 10:14:07

But badguider, this would be a very strange organization if it hadn't considered that compressed hours requires trust and monitoring and hadn't worked out a way to monitor that themselves. It's not up to the OP to be the office monitor unless that's explicitly her responsibility, nor can she ensure everyone for evermore won't abuse the system, some will, that's why they have managers.

AhhYouWillYouWill Thu 24-Jan-13 10:14:14

I think you should tell your boss

1) It's fraud and not really much difference in result to stealing cash from a till.

2) For your own careers sake.. If your boss only agreed to her flexible time because you were getting it and so you can help her, you'll lose your bosses trust when it comes all comes out (she's never going to get away with it for another 5-10 years).

I think you should decide who deserves your loyalty more, your employer or your co-worker. In your situation I'd go to my boss.

Waspie Thu 24-Jan-13 10:14:19

If this were me, I would refuse to help her with her IT needs at times other than in the additional time at the beginning or end of the day. I'd tell her this.

If she still comes to me with problems during core hours then I would raise it at my annual review, or if I couldn't wait that long, I'd ask for a meeting with my manager and say that providing all the additional help during core hours is adversely affecting my work and that I think this is unfair and reflects badly on me.

This is one of the reasons I left local government - there is always a minority who take the piss and let everyone else pick up their workload, knowing that it's almost impossible to get the sack from the public sector.

Corygal Thu 24-Jan-13 10:15:14

I was in this position once - as the other woman. But I wasn't abusing the system - I did a lot of work at home. My a-hole colleague shopped me to get a promotion.

Didn't work on me - the mgt could see what I'd been doing had been productive. Trust, however, was destroyed. A-hole got promoted eventually, went peculiar, threw shampoo round the office, and left forever.

RosyRoo Thu 24-Jan-13 10:16:34

There is nothing to be gained by reporting it. Focus on your own job and career. In my dp's team there is a person who comes in late, leaves early and does no work whatsoever. It is their life they are wasting, and in the long run they will lose out.

OmgATalkingOnion Thu 24-Jan-13 10:16:45

I think hatgirls job does sound more difficult though as a result. The 'helping' aspect is now done around the hours the colleague keeps and not the hours they're both supposed to be keeping. So yes I think it does impact. Especially as the help she's giving is rather above the call of duty in itself anyhow.

Also the woman has seen an opportunity and gone straight in and asked to be piggybacked onto someone else's arrangement and systematically abused the trust she has been given from day one. Bit cynical no?

She may very well feel to company 'owes' her in some way. If she felt aggrieved in the past over not being paid/rewarded sufficiently, then was the time to mention it, not later at her convenience.

It's like saying this shop short changed me three years ago, so today to make up for it I'm helping myself to this bottle of gin. I doesn't work that way.

Also, seeing 'the company' as the thing she's treating this way is shortsighted. The actions impact more directly on the team you work with.

TimberTot Thu 24-Jan-13 10:17:43

If the agreement was that you would help her with her IT skill deficiancies in the early and late "extended" working hours then I'd stick to that and make it her problem.

What's she going to do go running to the boss ?

She would either have to shape up with finally acquiring the skills she needs or come in early /stay late to have your assistance.

specialsubject Thu 24-Jan-13 10:20:06

awful lot of 'don't sneak' here; people need to get out of the playground. She is a fraudster and a thief and it is NOT petty to be annoyed.

you have a crap manager as he has not noticed. (most managers are crap, that's why they are managers...) Eventually he will notice, and you will lose the perk too.

tell her that you have a problem with doing her job for her helping when she is stealing hours. That then puts the ball in her court.

To be clear, the op isn't complaining that this woman comes back from lunch 20 minutes early, she is fraudulently taking 24 extra days holiday every year?? Why wouldn't this piss all of you off??

OmgATalkingOnion Thu 24-Jan-13 10:22:41

Exactly so. I'm astonished at some of the resposes saying it's no big deal.

poshfrock Thu 24-Jan-13 10:25:21

OP how about suggesting a booking in and out system to your manager ( maybe as part of your appraisal ?). We used to have this where I worked for those who used flexi-time. You simply sent an email to your manager on arrival with the word "IN" in the subject line and the "OUT" when you left. The manager could see from the time on the emails that you had been there when you were supposed to be.
It's more difficult to monitor the lunchtime situation as presumably she could send the IN/OUT emails at say 12pm and then 12.30pm when in actual fact she is taking lunch between 12.30pm and 1.30pm ( depends whether you have a fixed or flexible lunchtime).
This worked really well at my office and revealed that one person was not only abusing the flexi system but was also claiming overtime payments for hours every evening when they said they were in the office, but in fact they were leaving only about 15 mins after everyone else and not 3/4 hours as they had put on their timesheets.

DeepRedBetty Thu 24-Jan-13 10:30:59

Corygal you weren't in that position, as you WERE pulling your weight. This lady isn't. She's nicking 24 days leave a year and impacting on her colleague's work and peace of mind.

OP here's a whistle. Suggest you blow on it.

poshfrock Thu 24-Jan-13 10:31:47

And if you need a reason to suggest it just say that you have heard on the grapevine that some staff are uncomfortable that you and your colleague have these compressed hours and that it could be open to abuse. You want to assuage any fears up front so suggest a booking in/out system for you both will act as "proof" in case of queries by his own management or HR further down the line. Sell it to him that he's covering his own position in case anyone ever questions his decision to allow the compressed hours system in future.

Flatbread Thu 24-Jan-13 10:32:09

Oh no, I don't work for the public sector. I work in a highly completive, high remuneration private sector.

Where the work delivered is key, not face time.

I couldn't give a shit about petty jealousies or whining that 'she has it better than me'. If the work is done to satisfaction, then she could spend an hour on lunch for all I care.

This is the problem with petty people. They jealously notice the unimportant stuff. OP mentioned the woman is very good at her actual job, which I assume is client facing. If she makes rhe customers happy even though she comes in 10 minutes late, what is the actual issue?

My job is to meet sales figures, get customer satisfaction on target. Not sit with a clock seeing who leaves 10 minutes early. That is is what petty functionaries do.

ExpatAl Thu 24-Jan-13 10:33:27

OP, if the woman is very close to retirement - ie a couple of months then I would let it go because you'll change nothing and just have a big headache.
I don't agree with those who say it's no big deal. It's fraud - you are not complying with the terms of your contract.

ExpatAl Thu 24-Jan-13 10:37:46

Yes but you work in that environment Flatbread. My working hours are not monitored - they probably wouldn't want to as my busiest time is usually 10pm with mind numbingly tedious conf calls.
But the OP doesn't work in that kind of situation. Hours are monitored and if everyone has to follow that rule then they should. The woman obv isn't doing over and above if she needs the OP's help.

Flatbread your attitude for a manager is disgraceful. A member of your team highlights some irregularity within your team and you would get cross at them for inconveniencing you, creating work for you and basically lose all respect for them when it's actually another team member who's behaviour is causing disharmony in the team?

The business is basically giving money away to one particular employee for nothing and that employee has already made her contempt clear for her employee by her attitude of 'they are due me' but you would appear to ignore that fact as long as you weren't inconvenienced and the sales targets were being hit...

A good business is more than hitting sales targets.


Waspie Thu 24-Jan-13 11:00:30

My job (private sector) is work and completion driven now and I am far happier than I ever was in the public sector.

During my time in LA management I lost great staff to the private sector, a lot of them citing better job opportunities, being able to run their own work schedules and own their own work and (importantly) feeling that they were unfairly being expected to carry poorly performing staff.

In the end I was left with a department with a lot of people with attitudes and competancies as poor as the OP's colleague. Very frustrating. If I was OP's manager, I'd want to know because this issue is clearly affecting team morale, and potentially, [good] staff retention.

Hammy02 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:22:19

I can't believe the attitude of some people on this thread. People like OP's piss-taking colleague are the reason why so many businesses are reluctant to offer flexible working. If this carries on without being addressed, when it is found out, the employer could just cancel flexible working for all. She is committing fraud. If I was her employer I'd consider sacking her.

Callthemidlife Thu 24-Jan-13 11:27:12

OP - there is a MN board called 'employment issues' where I think you should re-post/link this because there are many of us on that board who are qualified HR practitioners who can give more focused advice.

Saying that the responses have (from a professional point of view) been absolutely fascinating to read. But I'm sure have brought you no further forward in deciding how to address this. Some of the posts have been brilliant.

FWIW, your kind of moral dilemma is not a simple one at all for shed loads of reasons. It would make a good a very good case study grin

Some of the issues:-
1) the better managers judge people in terms of the quality of their output (work produced) and not in terms of the quality and quantity of their input (being measured by things such as being on time). We have no way of knowing if OP's manager is one of these people. If she is then she should have signalled her expectations as such, as it impacts point 2 below, I suspect this is not the case here. If it is then let me know as lots of the following doesn't apply.
2) every individual in an organisation cuts their own 'deal' with their relationship in the firm, in their head. The technical term if you want to google it is 'psychological contract'. This woman has cut a very different one from the OP. which is normally fine (especially where you think you are rewarded for your efforts, and are recognised for what you do yourself). Everyone's deal is different (some work for money, some for love, some for the free coffee). The reason for the conflict is that OP is upset that someone's deal is very different from her own, and she thinks hers is the right deal to have (and in fact it marries not just with unwritten expectations but also with explicit procedural requirements, so OP is clearly 'in the right')
3) usually the advice would be to butt out. But you can't do that when you have team working. With team working everyone in the team has to meet the 'team' expectations. If they don't then the whole team working thing breaks down, irritation grows, morale falls and it goes tits up. We can all remember that inner rage when we were at school when the teacher teamed us up with the lazy person to do a 'joint project'. Same thing here. So. it really needs addressing, and butting out will only create more tension.
4) someone mentioned that boss would think worse of them for being a sneak. Unfortunately true with some managers. Happens because managers expect people to look after themselves and leave the managing to the managers (bit old fashioned, but it is what it is). OP will have to manage it sensitively to avoid this.
5) OP is concerned that effect of punishment (on pension etc) might be disproportionate to the crime. True, but OP is the colleague, not the judge, so punishment is between colleague and manager and she should rightly ignore this.
6) effect on public purse? Whatever. That bit doesn't interest me in the slightest personally, but we all have different moral weather vanes I guess.
7) one of the minor points raised is I think actually quite fundamental to the issue:- that the OP does loads of stuff outside her job description to help her colleague and none of this is known to others. This really affects the 'deal' thing I mentioned in point 2 and will eat up the OP up if not also addressed.

I think even the HR experts may disagree on what to do next.

If I were your mentor my advice would be to go to the manager to discuss, but make it a discussion about you and not about her. That gives your manager far more options so leaves the 'mgmt' side to her, exactly where it should be.

I would ask your manager for a meeting to discuss the following:-
1) that you have for the past 'x' years been training staff with whom you work as an equal, and that although you do not expect this to result in a Change in job description or a payrise, or anything, you most definitely want it to be officially documented, mostly because it might help you in terms of presenting your skills better should there be any re-orgs or re-grades in the future. You should list out specifically all the things you have provided assistance to your colleague on.
2) you should also state that now the flexi working is in place, could you have a quick review of it so that you can satisfy yourself that he is happy with your performance in the light of the new arrangements and has no issues with it. State that you think it's important for your continued progress with the org that all parties are comfortable that all is working ok.

When you get to that meeting try to make it all about you but don't try to protect your colleague if it comes up. When you get to point 2, a good manager will ask you how you feel it is going yourself and if he doesn't then ask if you can put across your views on it all. That's your opportunity to say that although you are really pleased that the company trusts you enough to perform your role, you do have a lingering worry that some people might think that compressed hours is 'taking the mick' and you are concerned that the mgmt have not put in place steps to monitor your timeliness, which means that you would have no defence if someone accused you of not pulling your weight. Boss will either try to reassure or ask if you have suggestions. If he tries just to reassure then you will need to then come back and ask him what he thinks his own staff should do, should they ever feel that someone else is abusing systems such as flexi working. That will give him enough info to act on should he choose. If he asks you for suggestions on how to prove your timeliness then you should suggest that you have an IT logging on/off policy, so that the IT guys can pull off the stats every month to prove you are all keeping up with your side of the bargain. It would take a reasonable IT analyst about 15 minutes to program such a report.

Mammoth post. Sorry.

ByTheWay1 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:31:49

In my previous life (before kids) I ran a small public sector computer support office and had a member of staff who took absolute liberties with the flexi system.

I started varying my hours daily to do some checking - the work that was being done was just not enough - nowhere near that done by other staff - either he was ill, lying about his hours or incompetent - in any of those scenarios something had to be done. Turned out he was overclaiming about 7 hours a week.

Our department had fixed rules - abuse of flexi, first time offence puts you back on standard hours. I had an official talk with him, he had no explanation, he thumped the table, threw a chair across the room and went straight to HR accusing me of bullying him. They spoke to my boss and colleagues, finding that I am soooooo not like he was making me out to be, and moved him to a HIGHER PAYING JOB in the department.

This was 10 years ago and I am still bitter when I think of it...

Doesn't help you much OP - but thought I'd let you know that even when the boss does notice, sometimes it still sucks!! I'd keep quiet, but make sure your boss knows when you are there doing the extra hours.

Flatbread Thu 24-Jan-13 11:38:49

Flatbread your attitude for a manager is disgraceful

Er, no. It is based on performance, not face time. And we have lots of metrics monitored on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly basis to evaluate the output/performance metrics of each member of the team.

If face time was important, there would be a system monitoring that, but there isn't so I assume it is not a key performance metric in OP's workplace either.

As I understand from OP

1) colleague X is good at her client-facing job
2) colleague X knows she needs to upgrade skills and is proactively managing it by pointing it out to her managers and coming up with a satisfactory solution to learn IT processes from her colleagues
3) most of her colleagues like her and except for OP, no one else finds it 'demoralising' that she takes 30 minutes lunch or works 10 minutes less than others. Probably because she gets her job done as she has in-depth knowledge and can solve things quickly

So what exactly is the issue? If she finishes her job and instead of 10 minutes browsing on mnet, goes home instead, that is worthy of managerial attention? Because a petty colleague was clock-watching instead of focusing on her own job?

Flatbread Thu 24-Jan-13 11:42:25

Callthemidlife has some excellent advice

Mumsyblouse Thu 24-Jan-13 11:48:17

Bytheway1 illustrates an important point, I think. I have had to learn this the hard way. I assumed if you worked really hard at work, and were always on time, did extra hours, always gave 100% you would a) be rewarded and b) rewarded more than those who didn't do those things.

It has taken me years to realise that there is usually a much more political situation going on, in which there isn't a linear relationship between effort/diligence as an employee and success. In other words, in this situation it may be that the manager is a bit incompetent and doesn't want this pointed out, perhaps the manager really likes the other colleague and values her way of interacting with the public over and above any slightly slackness in her flexible working hours, or perhaps the manager is on JobSite searching for a new job every lunchhour as she hates hers and so isn't likely to pull up this colleague anyway.

Who knows? But this is why I have found it best not to interfere with other people's relationships with their managers/company unless directly affected. I have a colleague who has, by all common agreement, not met her goals for year and years, yet, because of her personality and sheer cheek still seems to be rewarded and promoted.

Mumsyblouse Thu 24-Jan-13 11:49:40

And I do agree with Callthemidlife if you were to do anything, then going to have a review meeting about yourself, your goals and your responsibilities (including not having to help colleagues who can't use the IT systems properly) would be the best way forward.

DeepRedBetty Thu 24-Jan-13 11:51:48


1) Okay colleague x is good at that bit.

2) It isn't a satisfactory solution. She's not managed to learn IT processes, all she's doing is make OP do it for her.

3) Yes they like her. But they don't know she's leaving early and coming in late, and OP is doing some of her work for her.

And 'the 'petty colleague' isn't clockwatching. She's busy catching up with all the crap she's having to do that colleague x has left her with because colleague x has been cutting into her working day asking for yet more help with her IT, that should have been done first thing in the morning.

OmgATalkingOnion Thu 24-Jan-13 12:06:22

Flatbread If you work in a company/dept that only focuses on performance and not hours worked then it would be pointless to bring it up.

But hatgirl's workplace has clearly taken the trouble to come up with working times for the staff. Why would they bother to do that if it was an irrelevance to the way they work or the expectations they have of the staff?confused

Good advice and interesting post from Callthemidlife.

TheCraicDealer Thu 24-Jan-13 12:15:45

OP, if you've had words with her and she's still doing the same shirking shit she's sticking two fingers up to you as well as the company. Can't believe the amount of people that think it's less acceptable to "dob" or "tout" when someone is doing something wrong than cheating your employer in the first place.

What I'd do, is next time she asks you for help simply say, "I'm busy right now; how about we go over it tomorrow morning when we're in by ourselves, like we talked about?".

If she still doesn't get the hint after repeated instances of the above, then go to your manager. She's had enough warning, and frankly I can't wait to see how the "but they owe me " argument flies in that tribunal.

SolomanDaisy Thu 24-Jan-13 12:17:04

It's gross misconduct and therefore likely to be a dismissal offence. Surely your manager will notice? She can't be getting the work done that she should. Is he a good manager who trusts his staff and gets the best out of them? Or is he just not monitoring the flexi because he is lazy?

ExpatAl Thu 24-Jan-13 12:29:49

The manager will know that she wanted to retire and my guess is that he knows she's less than perfect but there's no point in disciplining her. She's fed up and I see no point in keeping her on - should have just let her retire. However, if it's brought to his attention he will have to take action and would this be catastrophic for her pension?

Chunderella Thu 24-Jan-13 13:50:44

Great post Callthemidlife, as a non HR person I found that very interesting.

OP, nothing good is going to come out of this for you if you report her. I'm not saying that means you shouldn't do it, but it does conflict with your stated reasons which are selfish rather than selfless. I don't mean that as an insult, just that you've clarified you're annoyed because you feel it isn't fair to you rather than because of public money. Which is fair enough. Now, if you report your colleague she'll be pissed off with you and the work environment will be difficult. There's also a chance your manager will be pissed off and take the view that Flatbread outlined. After all he's overworked, things are chugging along fine as far as he's concerned and you'll have effectively forced his hand. It doesn't actually matter whether either of them would be justified in this approach, my point is that if they behave like this you'll have to put up with it. Additionally, your own flexible working arrangements may be reviewed.

With that in mind, it would be illogical for you to report her unless the anger you feel at her taking the piss outweighs bothers you more than losing your flexitime and having a worse work atmosphere would do. Obviously if you change your mind and decide it's a matter of principle, that alters everything. But if you're only annoyed because of the impact on you, it doesn't make sense to take action that will probably worsen your situation. If you need something to reconcile the unfairness in your mind, perhaps tot up all the unpaid overtime she's done in her decades working there- it might well add up to an extra day off every fortnight, who knows?

Having said that, stop enabling. Like Flatbread I also get pissed off with the putting in the hours regardless of whether the job needs it culture. There are lots of jobs where you get paid for the role not the hours, and it sounds like this is one of them. It also sounds like your colleague is doing a good job even in the shorter hours. But she needs your assistance to achieve this. You're not obliged to help her in any way other than that outlined in your contract. If it's more convenient for you to do it at 8.30am and that was what's agreed, stick to that.

boredSAHMof4 Thu 24-Jan-13 14:07:03

I would be very surprised if the manager doesn't already know, or at least suspect.IME lots of people Approaching retirement take the piss and it is just not worth the hassle of opening a can of worms.Dismissing her would likely give rise to an employment tribunal which costs thousands before it even gets to court.
The thing that is much more likely to happen if you make a fuss, is withdrawal of this arrangement for both of you.

PessaryPam Thu 24-Jan-13 19:35:03

I am sure that Flatbread works for some organisation that is a as close as possible to public sector without actually being it, if she is t5elling the truth.

I have seen so many times good people carrying total shite colleagues in the public sector. I feel so sorry for those that are trying to deliver a good service under those circumstances.

I have actually been part of a process that got rid of one of these bad people as we logged his criminal computer use, and yes the manager was flatbreadish and did not want to act. The rest of the staff were really pleased the arsehole had gone though.

Wereonourway Thu 24-Jan-13 19:39:17

I'd be concerned that if one person was found to be abusing flexibility it may be stopped??
This risking op not being able to continue the working pattern?

ceeveebee Thu 24-Jan-13 19:40:25

I don't think posters understand what flatbread is trying to say

It really shouldn't matter exactly how many minutes you spend at your desk as long as you get the job done and deliver results. I personally pretty much come and go as I please - as long as I deliver, management don't care.

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 19:41:13

Hi everyone, thanks for all your suggestions. There have been some really helpful posts.

Ok I will clear a few things up

I'm not talking about the occasional long lunch or late start/ early finish. It is daily and if she wasn't being given the day off in return for supposedly working extra hours I don't think I would have been bothered at all - we are not a team that counts the minutes, providing the work gets done no one really bothers what people's working hours are... to an extent! There are others who work ordinary core hours who may work a bit over/ under each day and no one cares as we know it all balances itself out in the end. However, at the end of the day this colleague is getting a whole day off in return for extra hours that have not actually been worked.

If you look at it in terms of lieu time, if someone was claiming that they had worked extra hours that they actually hadn't done but were still getting time off in lieu people would look at it very differently.

For various very valid reasons my colleague has a long standing reduced workload in comparison to other full time workers in the team - which does mean she perhaps isn't as overloaded as the rest of us and therefore her workload is not impacted by her working fewer hours than she is meant to. This was the case before her new working pattern as well and again is not a problem for anyone in the team - it just explains why she is managing to not get into trouble for not getting stuff done whereas with others it would show up pretty quickly.

We don't have a clocking in/out system and one will not be implemented. The public sector organisation I work for is on a bit of a 'trust' drive and all clocking in systems have been removed. My manager is expected to trust us and he does, although I understand from the colleague herself that he had been a bit reticent about giving her this working pattern. He has no reason to believe that she isn't doing her hours as he also isn't a clock watcher and our work involves being in and out of the office all the time. The only reason I know it happens is because I am the only person who works the same hours as her so therefore am the only person who would know if she was coming in late/ leaving early. We are a professional team expected to work autonomously and professionally so there is not really anyone checking up on the output of the work we do, which would be very hard to measure anyway.

I'm still not sure she has entirely grasped that what she sees as a 'few minutes' adds up as much as it does under the way we work.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Thu 24-Jan-13 19:45:28

Sooooooo, what are you planning to do????

KenLeeeeeee Thu 24-Jan-13 19:50:36

I am shocked that there have been so many posts saying YABU! Her actions are tantamount to fraud and in my last job would have been grounds for dismissal for gross misconduct (I worked with a girl who was fired for something similar).

I think you need to put aside your friendship with this woman and find a way to bring this to your manager's attention. It does not benefit the company or the other employees to have someone manipulating their working arrangement like this.

tittytittyhanghang Thu 24-Jan-13 19:53:45

or a slightly longer lunch occasionally is more than deserved pay back.

I don't see how this attitude (being the op's) is any differing from op's work colleague.

Pot kettle black springs to mind.

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 20:05:33

DontEvenThinkAboutIt i'm going to speak to her again about it and make it clear again that the day off we get is actually in return for something and isn't just a day off for free (was planning to speak to her this evening but she left 45 mins early - thats pushing it even for her and was noticed by others) and she is working from home tomorrow as she is going away for the weekend and wants to get away on time confused. My boss is away for a couple of weeks so theres not much I could do about it for the time being anyway. I'm not someone who beats around the bush and have no problem addressing it with her. If I still don't get anywhere I think I am going to ask my boss to sort out some proper training for her as clearly me helping her hasn't solved the problem she is having with IT and leave it up to him to determine whether or not she is sticking to her agreed working pattern.

I do know he has had to correct her leave a few times as she keeps asking for leave based on her old pattern of work rather than the new one so he is perhaps more aware than I think that she may not quite 'get' what she is supposed to be doing.

SugarPasteSnowflake Thu 24-Jan-13 20:22:38

Sorry haven't ploughed through whole thread, but I had the exact same problem in my last job. Working 10 days in 9, manager off site, colleague taking piss. Rest of team agonised for months about whether to say anything to boss.

We did in the end and nothing happened. I left in the end as the concept of someone else getting the day for free really got me down- not to mention having to pick up her work when she was off.

Report it. The organisation does not owe her a free day off- she's been paid for her work and if she had an issue with being hard done by, then she should have found another job.

It is fraud. And if anyone is fucking her pension it's her. Nobody is forcing her to defraud her employer.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Thu 24-Jan-13 22:09:26

Sounds like a good plan. Hope it goes well.

sukysue Thu 24-Jan-13 22:20:56

don't tell ur boss she is getting on and when u r older your performance may suffer yet others still expect you to work the same pace as the much younger staff, If you report her they will watch her and sack her do u really want that on your conscience be the bigger person,she will be going shortly cut her some slack and hope someone will do the same for you when you are her age.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Thu 24-Jan-13 22:30:59

sukysue. I think a lot of older workers may not agree with you that they are not capable of working as hard as their younger colleagues confused

Greenkit Thu 24-Jan-13 22:36:12

Hat grild I cant believe the slack your getting for wanting to shop her, I would.

I wonder if it was happening to some of these other posters, i.e their company and staff they would have a different view??

She is taking the piss, no two ways about it..

Greenkit Thu 24-Jan-13 22:36:41

Hatgirl Even!! Doh

HollaAtMeBaby Thu 24-Jan-13 22:45:27

Sorry if this has already been suggested but I think in your position I would email her, CCing your manager, and say that while you want to ensure she has enough of your time for technical help she needs, you need to be able to focus on other things during the work day. So, from now on, you will block 15 or 30 minutes for her at the start and end of each working day e.g. 9.00-9.15 and 4.45-5.00.

This will effectively force her to put the full day in if she relies on your help with incredibly basic technical things that she should be able to do by herself and will also get your manager into the habit of noticing if she's arriving late/leaving early. And it will minimise the impact her behaviour has on your workload because if she isn't there for your IT office hours, you are free to ignore her requests for help the rest of the time.


Joiningthegang Thu 24-Jan-13 22:52:56

Yabu - i am manager to 10 staff who all work flexibly, ii am not actually in the ofice much and dont tend to check up on anyone - they are adults and need to be treated as such.

Your boss will know what she is like regardless of whether she dies every single minute.

I can see how you might feel this is unfair on you
From a managers perspective you will be seen as a petty tell tale and create stress for your manager, which they wont thank you for. They will need to act in it, you will create a hideous atmosphere to work in.

Your boss might be counting down the days / weeks/ years for her to leave, they dont need this.

As a manager working in a public sector role i would imagine there are better things for your boss to be spending time on..

Easy solution, flexible working seen as abused so withdrawn for all -

Still thinking about telling tales?

ImperialBlether Thu 24-Jan-13 22:58:44

Will you all stop talking about this woman as though she's old! I'm her age and I will be working for another ten years. Nobody my age will get a state pension until the age of 66 now.

Get your boss to sort out the IT training; it's a very poor use of your time and clearly isn't working, otherwise she'd be able to use the system by now.

She sounds like she's really taking the piss. Are you working on reception by any chance? Are you both meant to be on duty together? Do you have to do more of the job if she's not there?

It's hard to say what you should do. If you speak to your boss she will know you have and the atmosphere at work could be awful afterwards. I think I would just be blunt with her and ask her why she's taking the 10th day off, when she hasn't worked the extra hours. Does she arrive before the others in the morning? If not, do they notice? Surely they'd be annoyed if they're working the same hours and don't get the day off?

drownangels Thu 24-Jan-13 23:00:59

If she is struggling with basic I.t. skills can she ask for training.
I work for the public sector and in November we all got a letter asking us to do an I.t audit on ourselves. Any areas we had problems with we were given one to one training. Even basic skills like making folders or sending emails were covered if people wanted it.

sukysue Thu 24-Jan-13 23:05:30

I said MAY if you read my msg correctly not are or all of them just MAY.

cumfy Thu 24-Jan-13 23:44:16

Well as you can now tell the Civil Service Slackers Club is a biiiiig organisation.grin

The only question is do you really want to be waggling your righteous stick around in its oh so publicly-funded and hornety nest.wink

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 23:57:44

ImperialBlether nooo give my organisation some credit they wouldn't put someone with IT skills as dire as hers on reception! What we do is a qualified role and has a 'professional' status (where clearly IT illiteracy is absolutely fine! hmm) but i don't really want to specify what.

Training is available to her and a list of IT training was sent round recently to the whole team by my manager but with a jokey message underneath saying 'or you could just ask hatgirl' its a running joke for the whole team that I am the IT support and even my manager comes to me first to fix stuff rather than calling the actual IT department. Its a distraction from what I am supposed to be doing regarding my own workload but ultimately probably saves the team as a whole a significant amount of time/work.

I've had to explain how to save word documents to this colleague within the last week... I know she has saved word documents a million times before without help, she just forgets every now and then and panics. Other than the IT stuff she is brilliant at her job and has so much valuable experience which is the reason she was turned down for VR.

all the IT stuff is a bit of a red herring really, it would still be an issue there no matter what hours we were working.

I've had a further thought, a few people has suggested dropping hints that we may be being monitored, I think I might try that first as well as part of talking to her again about it. I don't think they are as it would cause 'them' work but theres no reason why they couldn't be and she is actually a little bit paranoid about it for other reasons. But its more underhand I suppose than I would prefer.

Greenkit - I quite like hat grild!

MrsPoglesWood Thu 24-Jan-13 23:59:48

Oh do fuck off cumfy. The OP said it was public sector not civil service. I'm a senior manager in the civil service and no way would this kind of behaviour be ignored. Certainly not in my department anyway.

cumfy Fri 25-Jan-13 00:24:09

Oh MrsPogles what a stylish way to begin your civil service weekend.

MrsPoglesWood Fri 25-Jan-13 00:44:19

Very funny! 36 hours a week gets us 3 days extra holidays?? Ha ha! Every civil servant's working week is far more than 36 hours. Unless you're Lord Coe or some hot shot mandarin. Oh but then again we work flexitime which means if we put in those extra hours we can also take them as leave! Same as my other half who works in the private sector. I'm far more senior and qualified than he is but his private sector co offers better pay and conditions than my employer. Why should I continue to work to help the government for crap pay? The banks that are screwing our economy over offer lots more!

MrsPoglesWood Fri 25-Jan-13 01:11:22

And have you actually read and interpreted that crappy article? I worked at home due to the snow here on Monday and Tuesday. I was logged on and working from 7am to 6pm both days. Had I struggled out to travel it would've been 10.30am before I reached my office. What a waste of time and money that would've been. Yup us civil servants are such lazy bastards.

Yfronts Fri 25-Jan-13 06:57:04

The problem is that she may mess it up for you and anyone else who want to work 10 days compressed into 9.

Her behavior is unacceptable - in many ways she is stealing unearned money from the company and lying to them.

By saying nothing you are silently supporting her and saying it's OK.

Tell her you see it as fraud and that you will have to let boss know if it continues. Tell her you are not happy about it. Then give it a week and report her if needs be.

Yfronts Fri 25-Jan-13 07:07:32

Is there anyway of highlighting the general issue without being direct and pointing the finger? Can you just make little comments where appropriate? To both boss and her.

Joiningthegang Fri 25-Jan-13 07:13:09

There appear to be 2 camps here -

One who like rules and think you should sit at your desk to the required hours regardless

The other who trust people to do what they are paid for well and the hours not so important.

However this woman sounss lile a pain who is neither amazingly efficient nor doing her hours. People lile that are irritating but there is little you can do without making it worse for yourself - you need to get over it for your own sake or it will drive you potty.

Flatbread Fri 25-Jan-13 07:35:33

Other than the IT stuff she is brilliant at her job and has so much valuable experience which is the reason she was turned down for VR

Frankly, OP, just roll your neck in. Your manager knows what she is doing and values your colleague's experience. (it might also have been cheaper to keep her on than give VR)

He probably knows that she is working fewer hours, but the main thing is, she is getting her work done and gets along well with her colleagues (except you). There is probably an unspoken understanding that she will get one day off every two weeks as she was denied VR, as long as she completes her weekly workload. It is none of your business.

If you want to do anything regarding 'protecting yourself' follow the advice of the HR person who made a brilliant post.

SorrelForbes Fri 25-Jan-13 07:49:52

Surely if you sign a contract to work a minimum number of weeks over a specified timespan, then that's the minimum that you work?

I once to had to sack a whole Out of Hours shift (well, they resigned the day if their disciplinary hearing to try and avoid actually being sacked) for clocking off early each shift. The evidence (CCTV) clearly showed them finishing early (about an hour) each shift.

Their colleagues working other shifts were furious and no one thought it was acceptable behaviour. They were trusted to work out of hours unsupervised and they abused that trust.

OP, your colleague is taking the piss. Please report as eventually someone else will and you will find it very hard to explain why you hadn't raised the issue beforehand.

The IT stuff is another issue. Despite being good at other aspects of her role, she is not capable of carrying out some vital components of her JD. She needs to be properly trained and performance managed.

When people are being made redundant because of reductions in staffing due to drastic cost saving programmes, this type of situation is galling.

Flatbread Fri 25-Jan-13 07:51:41

And tbh, if I had a choice between someone like her or you on my team, I would probably chose her.

Sorry to say this, but your posts come across as petty and clock-watching. And if the biggest skill you bring is your IT knowledge, it is quite honestly replaceable as people who know a bit of IT are not hard to find (and most organisations have an IT department anyway)

But someone like your colleague X, who is presumably brilliant at customer service is much harder to replace and worth their salt

So be prepared that if you continue down your righteous/petty path and create discord, you may have to find a new workplace.

ImperialBlether Fri 25-Jan-13 07:59:36

You'd really rather have someone who took every opportunity to take time off, Flatbread? Do you really think that woman is working from home today, too?

Flatbread Fri 25-Jan-13 08:00:46

Please report as eventually someone else will and you will find it very hard to explain why you hadn't raised the issue beforehand

No manager will expect OP to monitor her colleagues working hours. This is nonsense.

The only thing OP should do, is make sure her own hours are recorded and work deliverables signed off, in case anyone examines all flex staff.

She seems to have an unhealthy interest in her colleagues and I am just shock at the pettiness of some public sector employees. Maybe if these people actually had a demanding job, they wouldn't have time to jealously watch over others.

Bilbobagginstummy Fri 25-Jan-13 08:04:05

Flatbread, you're an idiot.

Flatbread Fri 25-Jan-13 08:07:39

You'd really rather have someone who took every opportunity to take time off, Flatbread? Do you really think that woman is working from home today, too?

No, in my industry you have to be available 24/7. But we have created 'support roles' for some women with young children or for other valued employees who want to work limited hours or off-site for personal reasons.

It is ultimately a cost-benefit calculation of what skills/experience they bring vs. what they would cost to replace. As long as the work output is agreed-upon and delivered with high quality, the rest can be ignored to an extent.

SorrelForbes Fri 25-Jan-13 08:20:48

I'm not sure I see it as being petty. Many types of work involve working to certain targets which are calculated and set to an achievable level person (e.g. filing 100 sets of records per hour to equal 750 sets over a 7.5 hr day).

If everyone working in the above way took an unpaid day off every fortnight, the productivity and targets would be skewed.

Surely, in the OP's scenario it's about everyone pulling their weight. Te Public Sector is becoming even more heavily scrutinised. Departments are frequently reviewed in order to attempt to reduce staffing levels. Behavious like that of the OP's colleague can lead to serious questions being asked about whether staffing levels are set too high.

Managers don't require people to monitor each other. What they do require is honesty. The colleague has specifically asked to work 10 days worth of hours over 9 days. She is not doing that and therefore is being dishonest.

Sorry if that seems petty or clock watching.

SminkoPinko Fri 25-Jan-13 08:22:28

Whenever people have made complaints about colleagues in my experience it has been a total disaster. Management either bemused and took it out on the complainant or lunged in clumsily making things far worse. The best outcome I have seen has been where they did nothing and "lost" the complaint. No one was satisfied but things didn't get worse, which was a pleasant surprise. If they do investigate there's never any useful conclusion or result, just endless layers of kafkaesque bureaucratic fact finding whilst everyone involved gets more and more stressed. People get semi-suspended but refuse to leave and can't be made to go. The non-suspended get more worried and paranoid about how they are viewed.

I've never understood this faith in management/HR to sort these situations out! There must be some good ones out there (Callthemidlife sounds brilliant) but I have never met any in real life. (I have had a couple of immediate managers who are excellent and in this situation would probably do everything possible to avoid the complaint going any further up as they know what a disaster that would be for all concerned.) I would therefore avoid telling at all costs unless it really is a matter of life or death.

I do think you should have a really honest think about whether your office is broadly a flatbread get the job done well and screw the minor details (mine is totally like this and you would be seen as a nitpicking meanie if you complained about anyone as all team members are long-term, celebrated, highly valued, their flaws affectionately discussed and forgiven) or whether others work as you do. Maybe as callthemidlife suggests there are a mixture of expectations within the team?

Pan Fri 25-Jan-13 08:24:09

I'm a trusting, easy-going manager with a flexi-system for people. I'd like to know if it's being abused.

Flatbread, you are ignorant, and ill-informed regarding work in the public sector.

KhallDrogo Fri 25-Jan-13 08:35:15

I'm with smink its about getting the work done, and well, not how many hours you sit at tour desk

Plenty of people put in lazy, wasteful hours...those are the people that coat the company

Katisha Fri 25-Jan-13 08:44:08

Hatgirl unfortunately ultimately I think you have to take a zen approach and try to stop letting it rile you. This is very hard and not fair, but in my long experience of a situation like this, you just end up getting very stressed about the "unfairness" and it eats away at you. Management are aware of the person's habits but there is nothing bad anough to cause a disciplinary, and in fact in my experience the person doing the complaining somehow ends up in the wrong. Also management would probably just blanket remove everyone's compressed hours.

It's difficult because you work next to this person, but really I think you just have to decide not to let it get to you UNLESS it really affects your own workload. In which case you need to talk to her straight, without dropping hints or making up stuff about fictitious monitoring.

But if she is not really affecting your workload, apart from the extent to which other colleagues do when they ask you for IT help, then try to let it go.

Muminwestlondon Fri 25-Jan-13 08:46:10

Several years ago there was a colleague in the team I worked in who was abusing the flexi system - coming in late and leaving fairly early. We told her that we had heard that management were going to start comparing our flexi sheets with the actual time we swiped through the electronic barriers at the entrance (this was a lie). She did start coming in earlier for a time, but didn't work any harder.

Generally I think it is up to the company to have a robust system. In my own organisation (civil service), managers are supposed to do spot checks and staff also submit their forms to their managers every four weeks. Frankly it is up to the line manager to keep a check on matters, not other staff.

atthewelles Fri 25-Jan-13 11:29:24

I would just keep out of it. Its her manager's job, not your's, to keep an eye on her working hours.
Maybe the manager has actually decided to give her a bit of leeway because she's nearing retirement and has worked hard for the company for years.
Or maybe he's not that bothered by the actual 'hours' people put in and is more interested in their output and is happy with the work this woman is producing.
I think you could find yourself very unpopular with colleagues if they get the impression that you go running to the boss to report your peers for things.

ExpatAl Fri 25-Jan-13 11:35:08

I have sympathy for the OP and have myself been annoyed with shirkers. But that's usually been a reflection of my own disatisfaction with my role. I have also been a skiver myself. It's never caused me any guilt. I'm good and quick and don't impact anyone else. I also now in a different job work huge hours and work well into the night on calls and follow up emails/docs etc.

Generally in public service it is a big deal if skiving is spotted by your manager because it is failing to fulfil the terms of your contract. However, it is much much healthier to focus on your own career track rather than reporting colleagues. Work is a long term game. The woman is pissed off with not getting her retirement and I can see how that would affect her 'couldn't give a stuff' approach. If she has valuable experience it would have been more sensible to give her the retirement and hire her as a consultant for a certain amount of time to document her knowledge. Nobody should be so indispensible that they can't leave. The manager should make sure that knowledge is shared.

atthewelles Fri 25-Jan-13 11:44:33

I'm good and quick and don't impact anyone else. (Quote)

I think that's a good point and is one of the reasons I'm a bit dubious about flexi time. Some people work better in short, concentrated bursts than by trying to drag their workload out over a standard set of hours. In an ideal world I think people would be expected to get through a set amount of work per week as opposed to simply working a set amount of hours. I know that wouldn't be practical to implement, but some people get through a lot more work in an hour than others, but flexi time doesn't take this into account.

cuillereasoupe Fri 25-Jan-13 11:47:22

A colleague of mine, due to retire in July, has worked out that if all his unpaid overtime over the last thirty or so years was taken into account he'd be able to retire now. Maybe your colleague feels something similar.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 25-Jan-13 11:49:46

OP... if it's true that your manager talked to YOU about her reservations about your colleague working with the flexi system then SHE is very unprofessional. Did she realyl voice her concerns to you?

I can't imagine that a manager, having such reservations, wouldn't have the system in place to monitor the new scheme.

The only thing you can do is to ask how the scheme is monitored - mention nobody else. That is your 'due dilligence' and you can use it as your defence if you need to in future.

Now... get on with your work (assuming that you're working today). wink

Chunderella Fri 25-Jan-13 12:47:06

I can't imagine OP is going to be in any kind of trouble for not having reported her colleague if the behaviour comes to light. She doesn't mention having any kind of supervisory role over her, so it just plain isn't her responsibility. If her manager did try and shift blame onto her, OP could deny all knowledge.

Imperial obviously she won't get the state pension for a good while yet, but there are some people in the public sector with quite superb pensions who can still afford to retire pretty early, aren't there? The colleague may well be one of them, especially if she's quite well paid and been there donkey's years. I know it's increasingly unusual but it does happen.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 25-Jan-13 13:19:25

Pan... I think you're the one who is wrong, rather than Flatbread. I got out of local government after 20 years in several different councils and ALL of them had issues with abuse of the flexi scheme and lazy employees... and perhaps even lazier managers. The managers often didn't react in what would be the obvious way and that is for the reasons that Flatbread has described. It doesn't mean it's the right way to run a business but then the public sector ISN'T a business and never will be.

I still work with local authorities now - across the UK and am stupefied at the level of lethargy and williness to make the systems fit their own lazy working practices. I have about 30% of the UK's public sector as clients. Nothing would ever induce me to return to it.

Pan Fri 25-Jan-13 14:27:17

Lying - your misunderstanding 'the public sector' - this isn't the same as 'local authorities'. Flatbread's slur was on public sector workers. I know and work with and along side lots of PS employees and none of them fit your or flat's comments.

Pan Fri 25-Jan-13 14:27:39

or you're even...

LittleChimneyDroppings Fri 25-Jan-13 14:38:31

I'd say something. Its public sector money and it all adds up. If shes not doing the hours shes supposed to be doing, then that makes things run even more inefficiently. Public sector workers need to be accountable for what they do and she is taking the piss. I say that as a public sector worker myself.

I am amazed how many people think that the OP is being unreasonable.

I would confront the woman and say that you know people have been expressing concerns about how the new 9/10 day system is do you because she is not pulling her weight. If there is no change, I would report to the boss...but with an expectation that you might also lose the perk.

A further my company you would be expected to report this to the Ethics Hotline. It is fraud of a sort which is costing the company money. I doubt you would be disciplined for not reporting it, but it would certainly have the potential to impact badly on you if it came to the manager's attention via another avenue.

Mumsyblouse Fri 25-Jan-13 15:11:19

I'm sorry, I disagree it would have a negative impact on the OP if she didn't report it, she is not the manager, nor is there a clocking in system, moreover, the OP has clarified that they are in professional roles (i.e. not in a more time-based clock in/out role such as on reception or custumer services). Usually people in professional roles have considerable autonomy including the ability to work flexibly (who knows if this lady catches up in her spare time).

If this colleague's experience is so valued they didn't want to make her redundant, then the chances of them wanting to take this forward formally is nil. I think the OP is right in her approach to focus on sorting out the IT help, and then leave her colleague to her conscience and her manager. I bet hardly anyone who is shouting 'report her' has really reported anyone in their working life, and abuses of this nature happen everywhere, so there would be plenty to report (e.g. taking things from stationary cupboard, we even had a spate of missing toilet rolls recently, being less than fit for work, underperformance, not keeping to set hours).

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 25-Jan-13 15:19:30

Pan... I've worked in and alongside local authorties, LEAs, civil service, environment agency and a bewildering assortment of Quangos... What am I misunderstanding exactly?

ExpatAl Fri 25-Jan-13 15:38:50

Ethics hotline? Does that really exist?

Touchmybum Fri 25-Jan-13 15:42:53

The simplest thing to do would be to talk to her straight, tell her you know she isn't doing her hours, tell her you are worried about getting into trouble because you know and have done nothing about it, and that if she makes a point of doing her full hours from now on you will say nothing about it.

hatgirl Fri 25-Jan-13 18:37:57

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe my manager didn't tell me he had reservations my colleague told me that herself, my manager would never be that indiscrete about his opinions of anyone in his own team.

Don't know why I feel the need to leap to the defence of someone none of you will ever meet in RL... probably because he is about the only person that is stopping the entire team from being absolutely on its knees by taking a lot of the pressure himself. I think thats another reason why it annoys me she is abusing his trust.

I know... a hard-working, flexible, public sector manager! They really do exist!

OmgATalkingOnion Fri 25-Jan-13 18:42:48

Who are these 'managers' who must never be disturbed or confronted with a situation like this anyway?<rhetorical question I guess>

A manager who doesn't want to know about an abuse of company time or any problem with staff; who would see it as 'telling tales'; who would inwardly sigh at having to do something about it..?hmm If all that is too much trouble for such managers, then what do they see their role as if they have staff to er...manage?confused

In truth I have worked for a couple of people who would probably fit this description and they were terrible managers, because they weren't managing anything other than their own self importance. The door was firmly shut, they were unapproachable and because people were not expected to bother them 'trivial' problems could become bigger problems. Ultimately an ineffective way to manage anything.

But yes they are out there. How they get to be a manager is a mystery.

WidowWadman Fri 25-Jan-13 18:46:07

"If shes not doing the hours shes supposed to be doing, then that makes things run even more inefficiently."

If she is getting the work done in less hours than contracted, than that's efficient. There's no value in her staying longer to warm her seat just so that the contracted hours are fulfilled.

But for the same reason I don't think flexitime, or compressed hours make much sense, certainly not in a job which is about results rather than really having to be present.

Presenteeism does not improve results and worked hours are not a good measure for somebody's efficiency.

DizzyZebra Fri 25-Jan-13 19:36:07

If her actions aren't meaning you are doing extra work i wouldn't say anything for a few reasons;

It's not really your business

Boss might decide none of you can be trusted at all.

Boss might take away the option for everyone.

LittleChimneyDroppings Fri 25-Jan-13 19:45:18

If she is getting the work done in less hours than contracted, than that's efficient. There's no value in her staying longer to warm her seat just so that the contracted hours are fulfilled.

Sure, a fair point. It depends what her work is really.

Is she getting all her work done op?

hatgirl Fri 25-Jan-13 20:37:19

LittleChimneyDroppings its hard to say, as we work on a caseload basis - there are certain things that 'have' to be done, and she isn't getting them done, but neither are the rest of us as we are chronically understaffed and it is an impossible task. There are things that technically we don't need to do but we do because that is what we came into the job to do and wouldn't be doing the job properly if we didn't, and she does them absolutely fine. I have in the past taken some of the 'have' to be done tasks from her if it is a piece of work we are both involved with as I can do them in a quarter of the time and depend on them being completed to meet deadlines of my own.

SugarPasteSnowflake Fri 25-Jan-13 21:03:54

[Confused] at the advice that op's manager is aware and won't want to be bothered as he has more important things to do.

Once our manager knew and did nothing, 3 people handed in their notice because they were so demoralised and fed up. Which gave the manager even more stuff to think about as she had 3 roles to fill.

How us it OK for op to be expected to play by the rules but this woman is somehow exempt? It's not just leaving a bit early, it's a free day where she is being paid at the expense if everyone else in her team, who is working their hours up honestly. They'll also be picking up the work that she is paid to do but isn't. I really don't get what is so wrong with expecting someone to work the hours they are being paid for!

hrrumph Fri 25-Jan-13 21:15:17

My view would be get on with your own job and don't worry/get involved about what anybody else is doing.

There will always be the odd crap worker wherever you work. Everybody knows who they are (eventually).

Reporting them just causes stress for you. You end up being asked to give witness statements, people get suspended, other workers resent you, worker may come back and be sat next to you for the next ten years.

Take pride in what you're doing and do your job well. And try and detach from what anybody else is doing.

That's my survival strategy after many years of office working.

lljkk Fri 25-Jan-13 21:30:35

Sorry long thread, is OP a member of a union? That's what they are for, to help with problems like this.

lljkk Fri 25-Jan-13 21:33:34

The more I think about it the more I think I'd say something to my boss. I'd insist on not being specific, just "I don't think she's putting in the hours she's supposed to." and leave it to boss to find their own way to "find out".

I would feel dishonest if I did anything else.

deste Fri 25-Jan-13 22:50:32

Just a thought, could you not just type up instructions for saving work or making folders and hand it to her. Tell her to refer to it as you are busy at the moment.

hatgirl Fri 25-Jan-13 23:39:21

I did that after about 3 months of working together. 18 months later its not changed a thing - we are a paperless (ha) office so everything is saved electronically which means she has to ask me to either email it to her again every time she wants it because she hasn't been able to save it from the previous time , or has to ask me to help her find the saved copy from the time before that. If i'm going to that much trouble I might as well show her how to do what ever it is she is asking me to send the instructions for. Its endless...

The worst part is that she knows that she is being a bit of a PITA at times so then doesn't ask me for help anywhere as near as much as she needs which then leads to a bigger disaster when she accidentally loses/ deletes/ saves over something because she didn't want to ask.

Again... this is really a separate issue to the whole day off for free thing. She was rubbish with IT long before the new working hours came into place.

And to Flatbread who has made a number of posts which reflect the AIBU side of how I feel about this issue - I am very much for a performance based system rather than a bums on seats approach which is why I arranged to work the hours I do (compressed and flexible) as I found it was a much more productive way of working for me personally and I think my manager is that way inclined too. It doesn't change the fact though that my colleague is working 9 days and gets a salary for 10 regardless of output as it is the public sector and pay is not performance related. She certainly is not any more productive than other full time members of staff but this is difficult to quantify due to the job role and other agreements she has in place around a reduced work load to a specific piece of work she has been stuck with for some time. She does a 'fair days' work and as such completes 9 days worth of work in 9 days rather than 10 days worth of work in 9 days... which is what she is paid for.... but there would be no way at all of demonstrating this.

As for the comment about if the biggest skill you bring is your IT knowledge, it is quite honestly replaceable as people who know a bit of IT are not hard to find (and most organisations have an IT department anyway) I wasn't employed for my IT skills, it is an additional feather to my bow which is utilised significantly by the team I work in. I work in a specialised area that require a number of specific qualifications that are not at all related to IT. I am very unusual in my role for having any interest in 'computers'. My job would not be at risk at all if I no longer provided this additional service informally to the team.

It has been interesting to your (*flatbread*) opinion of me as it is not how I recognise myself and I'm fairly sure (i hope) that it is not how others who know me would recognise me. As I intimated at the start of all this, it doesn't sit comfortably with me and yet I am usually fairly laid back about stuff like this which is why I am questioning if, friendship aside, I should be doing more to address it.

Thanks everyone!

Snazzynewyear Sat 26-Jan-13 00:39:45

Her inability to learn how to use IT is itself pretty staggering. I would say you have to get out of helping her with that. It's just not doing any good. She will have to go on a proper course or take the consequences of losing documents etc. Unless of course she has worked out that this way others do a lot of her work for her, and other people's expectations of her are conveniently lowered!

Bogeyface Sat 26-Jan-13 02:12:01

Snazzy she doesnt need to learn because she is used to people doing it for her. If I was the OP that would be my main gripe, because of the hours she is losing, week in and week out, teaching something to someone who has been taught it many times before!

I'd be pissed off too OP it's pretty damn cheeky of her to blatantly rub it in your face that she is getting a free day off and you aren't.
However I have a feeling grassing her in will make life significantly harder for you at work when the shit hits the fan, if you make a complaint they will need to investigate and you will be left feeling like the bad guy.

I would make it known to her that her that you disapprove of her brazen piss taking , that you find it extremely unfair and if she doesn't buck up her ideas you will need to speak to your boss, you can be nice but assertive about it.

Just struck by the fact you keep saying how nice this colleague is and what a good relationship you have,

But she's not are. She is taking the piss, disturbing you constantly, not making the slightest effort to learn key requirements of her job etc etc.

You are right to feel aggrieved, and I think if you stop and think, and realise she's not as nice as you are saying, it will be easier to have a fairly frank conversation on the lines of.....what you are doing really impacts me and you need to stop or I will have no choice but to address it. And rather than saying you will report her, perhaps your threat is you will ask the manager to implement a time monitoring system for flexi-workers.

aftermay Sat 26-Jan-13 08:53:19

This has been a fascinating read as it touches on ethics, friendship, real life experiences, assumptions about working arrangemts in the public sector.

I would be resentful but I know I'd never do anything about it. I'm not assertive enough for that. I would also be very cautious in the future around snitches and keep my distance. You're in a difficult situation.

ShellyBoobs Sat 26-Jan-13 13:40:34

Flatbread, can I just say you're a terrible manager.

It's not about your working in a results based environment and only being bothered about results. You've utterly failed to comprehend the issue at the heart of the discussion here. OP doesn't work in that environment so performance/results based working is irrelevant.

I'm a senior director in a global corporation with Europe-wide responsibilities. We're a completely results based organisation - shareholders care about little else - but I can see that total flexibility doesn't suit all situations.

If you think it's such a non-issue for OP's colleague to be flagrantly disregarding the rules in place, why don't you allow your people to have an extra day off for every 2 weeks? It won't make any difference if you manage as you say you do, so why don't you just do it? Give them all an extra 5 weeks' holiday per year?

If you're being genuine when you say you'd be pissed off that the issue was brought to your attention, meaning you had to do something about it, I struggle to believe you're really a people manager at all.

Are you sure you're not something like a 'Sales Manager' where the management side is only about managing commercially, rather than managing people?

I just can't believe any people manager would be so dismissive of a team member's concerns. What do you do if someone comes to you with any other issue not directly related to targets? Is that as irrelevant to you as a concern about a colleague committing fraud?

What you should do if you think it's irrelevant is at least tell the complainer to note down their concerns and let you review them. If you then go back them and and say, "I don't agree it's an issue for xyz reason, do you understand that?", then fine. But to be pissed off because an HR issue was brought to your attention? Wow.

Do you have compliance and ethics issues with your people? I'd be surprised if you don't (although you may not know about them) because if people aren't able to approach you about anything that's on their mind, it fosters poor discipline. With your attitude I'd very surprised if there aren't some serious issues bubbling under the surface in your department.

What if someone comes to you and tells you their partner has a form of cancer which is likely to be terminal, as one of my department managers did on Wednesday? Would you be pissed off because it was brought to your attention so you had to deal with it although it doesn't directly affect targets?

Or do you fly out to their office the following day, as I did, to show some support and make sure they felt able to talk about how their work may be affected?

I'm utterly dismayed by your attitude to managing people issues.

cuillereasoupe Sat 26-Jan-13 14:45:13

Can anyone explain why, if not working your contracted hours is defrauding the company, companies aren't defrauding their employees whenever they fail to pay them all their overtime (as seems to have previously been the case here according to the OP)?

Snazzynewyear Sat 26-Jan-13 15:22:25

From what was said it sounds like it wasn't agreed overtime, but staying late at the employee's choice. If someone finds they're doing that a lot or it's expected then they need to try to formalise the arrangement. But I think in this case it's more a general feeling of being aggrieved on the part of HopelessWithITWoman. And in any case, two wrongs don't make a right.

Chunderella Sat 26-Jan-13 15:41:44

Cuille makes a good point!

Flatbread Sat 26-Jan-13 15:43:50


I am actually a very good manager/director and the people who work for me are high-performers. They have to be, given our client fees and revenue model.

I am very open when people come with issues and want a work-around, e.g., had a baby, marriage in trouble (common in my industry), illness or partner working abroad and spouse needs flexible hours.

What I don't have any patience for are snitches, people who jealously report their colleagues and are busybodies, watching what everyone else is doing.

I have a good handle on what my team does, and if I cut someone slack, I don't want others moaning about it. Focus on your own work, and I will make sure my decisions don't unreasonably increase work load for others. But whining about 'fairness'....? I am not their mummy to treat everyone equally, each one is treated on a case-by-case basis based on their experience, loyalty and team contribution. I will not tolerate snitches or discord within my team for petty jealousies and clock-watching nonsense.

I am sorry to say, OP comes across as very badly here. I would definitely not want someone like her on my team.

hatgirl Sat 26-Jan-13 16:24:43

cuillereasoupe its a professional role so occasional overtime is expected and is part of the salary (says so in my contract - how kind of them!). However most people regularly work over their hours (particularly part timers) due to the nature of the work. If something happens at 5pm you can't just walk away.

Flatbread on the basis of the fact that I have asked an anonymous question about how to deal with what could be perceived as an unfair situation at work you wouldn't employ 'someone like me'? I feel a Pretty Woman moment coming on grin.

Bobyan Sat 26-Jan-13 16:57:54

Flatbread your style of "management" could easily be considered favouritism...

cuillereasoupe Sat 26-Jan-13 17:54:20

So are there guidelines about when "occasional" overtime shades into "regular"? I'm guessing not... so would it be fair to say that the service is getting plenty of free work out of the rest of you? I'd be crosser about that than about your colleague.

" Joiningthegang

There appear to be 2 camps here -

One who like rules and think you should sit atyour desk to the required hours regardless

The other who trust people to do what they are paid for well and the hours not so important."

No you're wrong. What we think doesn't matter. What matters is what they have agreed, contractually, with the place they work. And they've agreed to do x hours over 9 days. And she isn't, and I bet good money she's not open about it to her boss (does he never call or email her when she's meant to be in?)

Depressing thread. Would it be ok if this woman was claiming for an hours overtime each night that she wasn't doing? General consensus would seem to be that's fine.

cuillereasoupe Sat 26-Jan-13 18:41:27

SPB, is it OK for OP and her colleagues to be regularly doing extra hours for no extra pay when their contracts stipulate that overtime should be occasional?

Workplace fairness and loyalty works both ways. I don't agree with the OP's colleague's passive aggressive handling of the situation but I can understand why she might feel she's owed the time off.

WondaMumma Sat 26-Jan-13 18:52:39

How would you feel if she ended up dismissed for what she has done and lost her pension as a result :-/

Cuillera that is nothing to do with this. The colleague isn't doing overtime. If the op and others are, why do you think that is? I imagine carrying skivers must have something to do with it.
And I fond it hard to believe this overworked manager has nevr needed to contact her during these times

Wonda, would you refuse to report fraud? What if the poor criminal lost his or her employment or standing inbthe community? Which crimes are ok and where is the line drawn for you?

Would you be happy for this woman to claim regularly for overtime she doesn't do?

emsyj Sat 26-Jan-13 19:03:40

You don't lose your pension from being fired... If she has a final salary pension and expects to get a huge pay rise before retirement then getting fired might be a bugger in terms of her pension calculation, but you don't lose your pension by losing your job.

cuillereasoupe Sat 26-Jan-13 19:04:49

she says that the organisation owes her after years of service (which is probably a fair point)

most people regularly work over their hours (particularly part timers) due to the nature of the work

Sounds to me like the colleague has been doing unpaid overtime for years and is doing this to claw some of it back.

I did loads of unpaid overtime last week. Just going to dip my hand in the till.

Is it differnt? Or is that ok? Because if so I inhabit a different world from the rest of you.

Leedscatgirl Sat 26-Jan-13 19:09:37

I wouldn't tell but agree with you totally it is unfair
I would just say to her that you won't tell but think she is being unfair to you and other workers and that you resent it and she is not been a team player
It is then upto her what she does with that

And if I managed someone who was stealing now because of overtime worked years ago when I probably didn't even manage them, my opinion of their professionalism would plummet. Ultimately this sort of thing has to be arranged and agreed in advance. Or its just fraud with some guilty justification bollocks thrown in

cuillereasoupe Sat 26-Jan-13 19:11:16

No, I said it's not OK, that the colleague is being passive aggressive and should have a word with her manager rather than taking the piss.

You think it's depressing that people should get paid for hours they don't work. I think it's depressing that companies don't pay for hours that get done.

It's so hard. I complained about a colleague as they got hardly any work done, made lots of mistakes and ended up causing me extra work. To thank me for bringing it to their attention I was made redundant. Apparently, despite me being asked to sort out this colleague's mistakes, some of which has cost the company a lot of money, she was better at the job than me hmm

Oh fair enough, sorry I misunderstood. Thought you were arguing that it was understandable. I don't agree. If you think Tesco are hugely ripping you off, fine. You deal with it appropriately. You're not justified in stealing from them in retaliation.

Touchmybum Sat 26-Jan-13 19:28:33

If she is "close to retirement" is it worth rocking the boat? If she is a popular member of staff you risk considerable ill will from other colleagues.

socharlotte Sat 26-Jan-13 19:35:53

No good will come to you from this OP.Keep your trap shut!

wibblyjelly Sat 26-Jan-13 19:45:44

Just because she is close to retirement, it doesn't allow her to get away with fraud!

cuillereasoupe Sat 26-Jan-13 19:46:15

I realise that it's a bit tangential but my point is that people on the thread are saying she's committed fraud because she's not respecting her contracted terms. But nor is the service by making people work regular unpaid overtime. I think the latter is worse because it's systematic. In the OP's shoes, I'd be more up in arms about that than about one isolated colleage taking the piss.

hatgirl Sat 26-Jan-13 20:13:41

cuillereasoupe we do get time off in lieu you know.... its just nobody takes it because none of us have time and we all love our jobs so much!

Although nursing is not my profession I will use it as an example as it is similar - if something happens with a 'patient' at 5 minutes before we are due to leave, we can't just leave and say 'it can wait until tomorrow, my shift has finished' just as much as we can't then also go, 'I don't have time to write it up' once it is dealt with. It has to be done. Yes we would be entitled to that time back at some point, and some people do occasionally manage to take some of it, usually by taking a few extra minutes at lunch once in a blue moon, or coming in a bit later one day because of sorting out a sick child. Swings and roundabouts, it all works out in the end (not at all, but if you work in a caring profession you are in it because you care and not to make money!).

There is always something to do, the cases don't stop coming just because you are not there... which is why 'time' is more important than 'output' where I work.

I can understand if you are looking at this topic from a purely results or performance related basis and have no experience of working in this kind of role how that could be a difficult concept.

ShellyBoobs Sat 26-Jan-13 20:26:42

Flatbread - again I will say that you've failed to comprehend OP's situation.

You can't directly compare your team of "high-performers" hitting targets and, pressumably, working longer than contracted hours but with some flexibility, to the situation at OP's workplace.

OP and her colleagues' 'target' is to work a contracted number of hours and they're paid to work them. They're not given a result to achieve; they're given a number of hours to work.

Midgetm Sat 26-Jan-13 20:30:11

I am a bit shock at the lack of emotional intelligence on this thread. The op is right to only focus on the IT aspect as the rest is nothing to do with her. I manage a team and like flatbread I would think someone who came to me saying someone doesn't do their hours was a bit snide. It is the managers job to monitor these things and sometimes you make a decision based on more than contractual matters. Performance is normally about more than hours clocked in. someone being close to retirement would also play a huge part in how I managed someone.

Sigh. So the fact they were disobeying a direct order would have no bearing?

Mumsyblouse Sat 26-Jan-13 20:42:45

SPB they are not in the army, they are public sector professionals who (in my experience) are not required to monitor their colleagues workloads, they usually have several layers of management for thatsmile

The other thing that no-one has picked up on is that the OP said that this colleague is already on reduced workload for historic reasons (I'm guessing ill-health) and so has less to do than the others which is why she manages it within the reduced hours she works. If the manager was concerned about the workload/time issue, they could simply increase her workload to that of the other staff. Management already know she is not working as much as is optimal (and maybe these reasons are exactly why they are not pursuing it), but clearly value her enough not to let her go.

lopopo Sat 26-Jan-13 21:21:35

So OP, can I ask, do you ever make personal calls during work time? Do you ever make a hot drink? Eat a snack? Do you ever during your compressed time chat to a colleague about non related work things? Do you ever browse the Internet for something not related to your work? Have you taken any sick leave / compassionate leave in the last 12 months? Have you come in late or left early in the last six months? How is your performance? Do you feel you work through an equivalent work load to your colleagues working 10 days? Do you feel you have the same level of expertise as your colleagues and are therefore working as efficiently as them covering the same workload?

I think if you rock the boat over this 50 min shortening of both your days you need to make sure you can give the right answer to all of the above plus everything else deemed important in your workplace. Also make sure she has nothing to complain about you...

cuillereasoupe Sat 26-Jan-13 21:26:53

I get that the nature of the job means you sometimes have to go overtime, OP.

its just nobody takes it because none of us have time

I'm beginning to feel like a militant unionist here, but why isn't this a bigger issue than your colleague taking the piss?

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 26-Jan-13 21:42:07

Sorry if this has already been suggested but I think in your position I would email her, CCing your manager, and say that while you want to ensure she has enough of your time for technical help she needs, you need to be able to focus on other things during the work day. So, from now on, you will block 15 or 30 minutes for her at the start and end of each working day e.g. 9.00-9.15 and 4.45-5.00.

This will effectively force her to put the full day in if she relies on your help with incredibly basic technical things that she should be able to do by herself and will also get your manager into the habit of noticing if she's arriving late/leaving early. And it will minimise the impact her behaviour has on your workload because if she isn't there for your IT office hours, you are free to ignore her requests for help the rest of the time.

hatgirl Sat 26-Jan-13 22:06:17


So OP, can I ask, do you ever make personal calls during work time? noDo you ever make a hot drink? no I have a jug of water i fill up at the start of the day Eat a snack? no Do you ever during your compressed time chat to a colleague about non related work things yes, the office would be pretty dreadful if we didn't - plus you can't really sit in a car with someone and not talk Do you ever browse the Internet for something not related to your work? absolutely not i would be disciplined Have you taken any sick leave / compassionate leave in the last 12 months? no Have you come in late or left early in the last six months? i've come in early and left late if that counts? How is your performance? fine thank you, but as I say it is not a performance based role Do you feel you work through an equivalent work load to your colleagues working 10 days yes?

is that everything? Did I pass?

Saying that all of the above is fairly normal office behaviour that bar one or two points all of my colleagues including the one that is the subject of this do. The colleague does all of these things as well as taking the extra time off.

it isn't due to ill health she has a specific work project that can sporadically and unexpectedly take a lot of her time and she needs to be able to drop everything else when needed. Because of this she can only be given work that can be dropped if needed.

cuillereasoupe I suppose technically we choose to do the extra hours - no one is making us. We do it because otherwise we wouldn't be good at our jobs. I understand what you are saying and sometimes we all agree to 'work to rule' but it never lasts long.

I'm not 'monitoring' my colleague, I just know she isn't there when she is supposed to be there because its when I am there.

Sigh. What can of worms have I opened!

lopopo Sat 26-Jan-13 22:18:48

OP, it's not a case of "passing" it's a case of being aware that all your own behaviour and performance will be scrutinised by your manager and your colleague. She will know you've complained about her and don't kid yourself she won't retaliate about your own perceived shortcomings...

I 'm slightly confused by your "can't sit in a car with someone and not talk" comment. So this isn't an office bound job? How do you know so much about your colleague's work habits and this "50 mins" she failing to work?

No lopopo. Would you use the same arguments (normal office behaviour which is accounted for) for someone who was contracted to work ten days a fortnight but just didn't bother working one of them?

I work full time, 3 days from home. I think if I did a 9 day fortnight I'd get away with it performance wise. My reduced performance would be noted but they'd struggle to argue I wasn't good enough. So I'm going to have every other Friday in bed from now on. Nice one.

And for the record I am contracted to work 37 (or might be 37.5h) per week, bog standard office hours, Monday to Friday. My boss has made it clear that as long as I get the work done and she can contact me in normal work hours, she doesn't care when I clock on or clock off. But if I arranged to, say, compress my full time hours into 4 days I'd damn well do it, not do my normal four days and screw them for the rest.

And for the record I am contracted to work 37 (or might be 37.5h) per week, bog standard office hours, Monday to Friday. My boss has made it clear that as long as I get the work done and she can contact me in normal work hours, she doesn't care when I clock on or clock off. But if I arranged to, say, compress my full time hours into 4 days I'd damn well do it, not do my normal four days and screw them for the rest.

Jux Sat 26-Jan-13 22:48:07

Yes to this ^^, it was what I was going to suggest. Or actually, to tell her/email her that the time at which you are available to help her with the technical is - as agreed with boss - during the extra time, but that during normal working hours you have your normal workload to deal with.

Then it's up to her.

BeanJuice Sat 26-Jan-13 22:50:50

I can't believe MN sometimes - there are always the sanctimonious ones going "we shouldn't judge" or "none of your business" blah blah blah. Gets annoying.


hatgirl Sat 26-Jan-13 22:53:56

nope not office bound. I think I say very early on we are in and out of the office all day so no one is ever really aware of what hours people are actually doing but we are expected to start and end the day at the office. As myself and my colleague are supposed to start and end at the same time (before and after everyone else) I know that she isn't.

On top of my actual role I also do a lot of assessing of people who are training to qualify in our profession (they do placements with me/the team) which is why I often have people with me in the car -and bring me snacks and refill my water jug--

hatgirl Sat 26-Jan-13 22:54:19

that last part should have been a strike through grin

Junebugjr Sat 26-Jan-13 23:11:16

If you are going to complain about her, you need to be pretty clear about where she's missing the 50 mins from, otherwise you could end up on the sharp end. Without proof management would find it difficult to sack her. Management also sound quite fond of her, if she's been kept round for a while.
I think you've got too much to lose personally, and so has she. Potentially you could lose your own flexi time arrangement, your colleagues trust (sounds crude - but no one likes a grass in an office context), if she can prove otherwise, or has some gripes about you, you could find the situation reversed onto you. What exactly do you get out of it? How exactly are you going about monitoring this 50 mins? Why are you overly bothered? She could have 10 mins lunch one day, and 40 mins the next.
If you have a relatively happy office atmosphere and a good relationship with her, I'd let this go, I can't see there being any winners coming from it, neither you or her.
The hassling you for the IT stuff- treat as a separate issue- give her set times she can talk to you.

Snazzynewyear Sat 26-Jan-13 23:16:24

BeanJuice yes, drives me mad as well. I'm surprised no one has yet said how insensitive the OP is for not thinking that her co-worker might be sneaking off early to take soup to the homeless or nurse a gravely ill relative or some such. Let's face it, about 90% of MN could be deleted if we applied the 'none of your business' rule strictly and consistently.

SminkoPinko Sun 27-Jan-13 00:52:30

What is a performance based role?

If you're not mainly customer facing, like software development or if you work in something like sales you'll be given results to achieve or targets to hit then left to get on with it. If you do it all in one day a week then good on you. Most of the jobs I have had have been somhere in between. Unless you're on commission or self employed, your bosses tend to need to know how much the standard person gets done in a working week. In addition, they need to contact me, or call me into a meeting at short notice, or ask me to do something they hadn't planned but is urgent. So if I get all my work done by the end of Thursday, in theory I can take it easy on Friday, but can't go on holiday!

lljkk Sun 27-Jan-13 08:19:37

Sigh. What can of worms have I opened!

that's why it's useless asking many things on MN. None of us are living your life and will have to face the consequences or have it bothering their conscience, nobody else has as full a picture as you do. Forget Internet strangers and trust your own gut instincts on what to do.

Montybojangles Sun 27-Jan-13 08:21:08

You sound like you might be community nurse or similar. Personally, as a nurse myself who never gets time for lunch or even chance to pee some days , works far in excess of her contracted hours (for reasons you stated above) and is permenantly knackered I would be fuming if one of my colleagues were taking the piss this way. It's something I would discuss with my line manager if talking to my colleague hadn't worked, as potentially patient care could suffer due to her laziness and what's she's doing is fraud. It's also really bad for team morale.

BeanJuice Sun 27-Jan-13 09:52:26

snazzynewyear i was honestly expecting to see something like that when i saw what the thread was about grin

specialsubject Sun 27-Jan-13 10:28:52

HollaAtMeBaby -genius. That's the answer.

Alittlestranger Sun 27-Jan-13 10:48:57

YANBU to have a whinge about a colleague, but you would be BU to do anything about it.

You're not her manager and it's not having any impact on your workload. Your colleagues who are working ten day fortnights and putting in overtime probably think YABU to have negotiated an extra day off. Personally I hate compressed working, but I suppose it works in roles where you're just getting routine tasks completed and people don't actually need to have you around during working hours.

WidowWadman Sun 27-Jan-13 11:49:05

specialsubject only if you want to appear like a passive aggressive arse. I understand the annoyance at keeping to have explain the same thing over and over again and recommend passing on this handy flowchart, but the "plan" just would make her look like a really bad team player.

hatgirl Sun 27-Jan-13 12:13:53


I love the flowchart!

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