22 years in NHS over!

(62 Posts)
seaofyou Wed 29-Aug-12 00:46:31

Ok 17 years because of 5 years career break!

I had to take a break to do behavioural therapy on my severly autistic boy to help him talk, reduce challenging behaviours, learn to do everything basically. He has been in a small school now a year with 1:1 etc and I felt ready to return!

I wanted to return to my same hours 22.5 over 3 days, but have all school holidays off (so pay would equal out 16 hours a week).
I asked to work last 3 days so I could do MSc (self funded Mon-Tues) Behaviour Therapy at Uni to ensure I was able to do the psychologist job correctly with qualification as therapy not supplied by LEA anymore even though ds will always have Autism.

Manager said no to working school term time only (even though I would do full day 7.5hrs a day x 3 days a week same as pre career break). Manager said no to those days Wed-Fri (as wanted Mon-Tues off for uni). That I would have to work other days...he didn't even say the reasons why or what other days I would have to work?

I started at 18 years old, so never ever done anything else workwise and a Sister in Community, I loved my job! I am truely devestatedsad
I am a lone parent with no family to help and the cost of SNs childcare is more than I earn! Plus ds holidays are longer so out of school club holiday club times and I know ds would not cope at anyhow.

Any advice please?

StillSquiffy Wed 29-Aug-12 06:11:32

It is horrible when you find work life and home life clashing, and I sympathise.

That said, this board is all about employment issues, not passing round cups of tea, so let's address the employment issue itself.

In what way will your flexible suggestion affect the team where you work and the role you do? Does your area work shift work? Are team members expected to work at weekends? Is the demand for your team as great in the holidays as in term time? In effect you need to ask yourself If you were the boss, how exactly would you make this work without it significantly disadvantaging others in the team? You need to get your head around that. If you can find an answer to that then you have a way forward.

Assuming you can identify an ability to work these hours without compromising the work output, without disadvantaging others and without leaving the boss stuffed in the holidays, then you have some legal grounds to work with. You need to set out your proposal in writing with all the reasons on how it will work and send that back to Boss, asking for his reasons in writing as to why he will not accept it. Then you need to appeal and escalate things. You do have legal strength behind you, but only if you can knock back any claims that your proposals is detrimental to the business.

3littlefrogs Wed 29-Aug-12 06:39:37

I think your only option is to look for jobs that are officially term time only, and I guess that would mean a job in a school or college.

I had to make a complete career change after having children. I think an awful lot of people do if they don't have family or partner to provide child care.

I had a very senior role in the NHS, but found that when I wanted to go back part time (as I couldn't do the compulsory night duty, weekends, bank holidays) I would have to go back to first year staff nurse pay. Less than the cost of child care.

It was cheaper to retrain for a different role.

I hope you manage to find a solution.

nooka Wed 29-Aug-12 06:57:28

Might school nursing be a possibility for you? Posts tend to be term time only, although I don't know whether part time is also a possibility and long days might well not work.

The NHS is generally great for flexible working but the systems are set so that when you make a request you have to be clear as to how your proposals are in the interests of the department/team and will not compromise patient care.

It may be that from your manager's perspective term time working on the three days that suit you appears just too difficult, and in your request you may have focused on your needs (not surprising in your circumstances) and not set out how your suggestion would work in practice given the needs of your client group and the working arrangements of your team.

If you haven't already do get hold of the flexible working policy for your trust, see if HR can help you to set out your request as StillSquiffy suggests. If you can show that your suggestions could work then your manager may reappraise their decision.

iliketea Wed 29-Aug-12 07:36:57

Like others have said, you need to address how the impact of working those hours has on the service that you and your colleagues provide.

You say you are a Sister in the community. So if yoi want to work term time only - what happens to your workload in the holidays? Who manages your team while you are not during school holidays? What happens about weekends / bank holidays. Also you could see if there is a precedent that someone has a similar contract to the one you want. IME many NHS departments are reluctant to allow people back to work on such flexible terms because it is then more difficult to refuse other requests and becomes increasingly more difficult to meet the needs of a service and patient population.

ssd Wed 29-Aug-12 07:48:33

sympathies from me

I had almost the same thing happen, senior position in the company, had kids, worked a few more years, then circumstances changed and I couldn't do the all year working thing. I asked for term time, had an argument which was totally in the companies favour, I'd take the hit financially and career wise. BUT during the interview the two women interviewing me actually laughed and said "so you want all summer off" and I re-iterated why....they just thought I fancied having a lot more holidays. One of them said "but I have a dd and work school holidays" and I said who looks after her and she said "my mum" as if we all have that....they couldn't understand why I was asking, just obviously thought I was at it angry

so I had to leave, became a childminder and have worked various minimum wage jobs since, that are term time only

I'd have been much better used int eh job I'd been doing 20 odd years previous, but the managers were too narrow minded to see it

good luck op, hope you don't experience the same thing

seaofyou Wed 29-Aug-12 11:08:25

Thank you all for your replies. I am not alone thensad

I never worked weekends or BHs anyway and I would have maintained same hours and 3 days as I had arranged afterschool 1:1 for ds. It was the working 'school term' time they could not accomadate.

Staring MSc next month anyway but worried as 3 yrs of student debt to come and don't even know if I will be able to get work as behavioural therapist self employed when I finish!

There is no European thing on family friendly hours?

Salbertina Wed 29-Aug-12 11:28:33

No that was for doctors...

Sympathise but tricky times ESP in NHS and such flexible working getting v unusual. When I was in it, the most I and other working mums got was working occasional day at home, working condensed hours and understanding that I cd always take some annual leave in sch hols. Rest of time, boxed and coxed - hol play schemes, child minder and friends.
Cdnt u do agency nursing to fund u thro yr studies? Rethink about how u cd stay in existing role??? As for the course, I suggest researching current/predicted number of vacancies. If its a dead-end I wouldnt waste my time & money on it, sorry to be blunt!

Salbertina Wed 29-Aug-12 11:34:38

You know, rereading yr post and how you love yr job, pls find a way to stay! There aren't many who can say that! The pension's good etc

Understand that yr manager will be under HUGE pressure to meet service user needs i.e.being able to access the service you provide when they need it (not simply when staff are available). Services which don't are increasingly judged unviable and therefore in danger of cutbacks.

Yr course can wait- there may be a better time to do it in future or you cd look at doing something by distance/online etc

seaofyou Wed 29-Aug-12 17:30:44

Thank Salbertina for letting me know about the European rule.

Things have just completely broken down today afterschool side anyway as the arranged afterschool club so I could work till 4.30pm is not now accessible because transport to/from school used to pick my ds up at 5pm, now another child on same route I find out today so ds has to finish school normal time to come home and I will still be in work.....I needed to work till 4.30pm to get the 16 hours pay re tax credits. Their are other working mum's in same post/position as me working term time only in different teams under same management. I just thought I would have the same opportunity as exactly same job.

ssd Wed 29-Aug-12 23:02:21

surely then you must be given the same as the other mums regards term time?

would a refusal not constitute discrimination?

I'd contact CAB before giving up on this one, or are you in a union?

mellen Wed 29-Aug-12 23:12:11

if you are asking about the european working time directive, that wasn't just for doctors, but was about not working more than 48 hours a week, so wouldnt help you here.

Salbertina Thu 30-Aug-12 16:09:19

Sorry, my mistake, what I meant, I guess was that it's mainly been applied to docs in the nhs hence hospitals at night and other programmes to manage it.
I guess you cd try taking it up w yr union? But tbh, sounds like the others are survivors of a former, kinder more family friendly regime which sadly may no longer be affordable.

seaofyou Thu 30-Aug-12 16:48:41

Yes Salbert and ssd I contacted my union. They told me to contact human resourse and explain everything ie manager not getting back to me etc...which I did.

HR manager said I should have been given work/life application form to fill in when I asked manager for 'term time' only?

HR manager just asked me was there other mothers getting 'term time' only at my team and I said yes, which she replied maybe all his recourses are tied because he can only have so many of them! Ahhhh! I only said that in hope she would say 'yes then they have to give it to you too' as you say sdd I was thinking of discrimination doh!
I don't even know as not worked their for 5 yrs! Also I think those mum's worked to 3pm...I can work to the 4.30pm! Just not school holidays.

HR MAnager asked my band then said a directive has just been set up and their are (my)bands being advertised we could slot you into a part time postion their! So that sounds promising! She said we need a meeting with her and my manager and I said I would bring union.

So awaiting application form for work/life balance which I should have been given in June!

Ds can still go to afterschool club thankfully I would have to pick him up so means he would be there longer in school as waiting for me to finish.

Looks like they wont accom the days off for degree though? After all I am only 3 days why can't I just have those 2 for uni? I was set days before also!

Any other advice greatly welcome! Thanks for European rule Mellen! No does not apply to me! But if there is anything that can help my case please please post.

ValiumQueen Thu 30-Aug-12 16:56:24

Surely tax credits could help with childcare especially as he has special needs.

Salbertina Thu 30-Aug-12 17:18:05

Well it sounds promising. Could it be as simple as a team meeting to discus how workload can fairly be shared amongst you all? Might make u rather unpopular though ESP after 5 years..
If sounds like there might be a compromise fir both sides? You more or less get yr hours but not / days study, well probably something's got to give. They do sound restively supportive, their priority is running the service.

3littlefrogs Thu 30-Aug-12 18:08:03

I appreciate how you feel, but how can you run a community nursing service if everyone only wants to work term time?

I would think it would be hard to find staff to cover school holidays.

I find it an absolute nightmare to cover school holidays as it is, and all our staff are part timers who work all year round. I only took one week off this summer because the patients still need looking after, and everyone wants to take their holidays during the school holidays.

seaofyou Thu 30-Aug-12 18:49:20

3little I understand your [anger] about me needing term time I am sorry...their is nothing for children with Disabilities in my county! A private 1:1 if I could get one are advertised as earning a lot more than I earn...plus ds only in school 36 weeks not 39 due to not being in a mainstream school as can't attend one because of his disabilities....I never had a summer holiday or Christmas day off work to ensure my fellow working mums who had children were able to have time off for 12 years I worked on the wards pre children. I did not mind! Just need some of that kindness back now as in desperate need being single mum no family and autistic child who has no 'summer school' options like NT children do!

seaofyou Thu 30-Aug-12 19:25:34

Salbert the HR manager was more helpful tbh which I was shocked as all the extra hours unpaid breaks etc I did for my manager seems to have been forgotten and no room here type of response, never even asked how my ds was as worked together for 4 yrs before career break! Ah well know now not to give up an unpaid lunch break year in year out if I get my job back!

iliketea Thu 30-Aug-12 20:35:59

I think (understandably) you are focussing on your own and your sons needs. However, comparing to what everyone else does / has available is not helpful because none of us really know what is going on in everyone else's lives. A manager has to manage a service and if everyone wanted term time only, it would be nearly impossible.

Can you compromise on the days for the moment, then once you have worked for a bit, make a business case / show the benefits of you doing academic study alongside working?

Playing devils advocate, if I was your manager and you'd said how difficult things are wrt childcare, I would.be wondering how you could manage to work, study and sort childcare all at the same time.

seaofyou Fri 31-Aug-12 01:24:41

iliketea I would spend the wee hours reading just like I do nowsmile

Salbertina Fri 31-Aug-12 09:29:13

Feel for u sea, you have a lot on your plate, didn't realize u had dc w SN.. That may add to your case, ask union.
However, employers in my experience don't tend to be grateful or pay back for unpaid overtime, especially even the NHS! They just want yr time/work, as much as possible of both for the role as if stands now. Such is life, I guess. Hard times now much more so than 5 yrs ago..
I'd say if u have a fairly flexible job you love, do everything to keep it!

Many of us have no job/have an unsatisfying one or work all hours

ssd Fri 31-Aug-12 09:49:36

yes, do everything you can!

with regards to my post further up, the job I left was a job I loved and since leaving I've hated every job I've had - not a nice situation but one I couldn't do much about..

3littlefrogs Fri 31-Aug-12 13:02:58

seaofyou, I am not angry. Just trying to explain the bigger picture.

I appreciate that you need term time work, as do many, many other people who have challenging caring responsibilities.

I just think that not all employers can provide exactly what their employees want and still provide a service. Especially if they are trying to provide a year round service to vulnerable/sick people in the community.

3littlefrogs Fri 31-Aug-12 13:04:39

Also, never make the mistake of thinking that years of dedicated service and unpaid overtime are appreciated by anybody, especially if you work in the NHS.

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