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Working Hours with Children

(9 Posts)
boyshoes Sat 02-Mar-13 10:17:02

Hi I am new to Mumsnet but am wondering if anyone has any advice or views on my situation:

I have been back at work full time for a year. I have had some ups and downs with my manager but he has recently told me he expects me to be 'available' as and when my team need me and particularly if this is after 5.30pm which is my contracted end of the working day. I am aware this is not right but he his saying he knows I leave on time as I have children but I should be accommodating my team (who incidently don't have children).

I know as an employer I can request flexibility due to my dependents but does anyone know if they should be allowed to request this from me. My contract states I 'may be required to work aditional hours at busy times: flexibility is essential to meet the needs of the business and every effort will be made to provide reasonable notice of the need to work for additional hours'.

Grateful of any advice anyone has!

Wishihadabs Sat 02-Mar-13 10:22:22

Well it is in your contract. I think the key here is reasonable notice. Tell us a bit more, what childcare arrangements are in place atm. Do you have a dp ? Parents locally ?I am assuming this is a relatively highly paid job you want to hang onto/progress in. Otherwise tell them to stuff it

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sat 02-Mar-13 10:45:18

I'd agree reasonable notice is key. Is he alluding to you looking at emails in the evening etc?

I think it is worth considering his comments in context of his general attitude to you. Does he "allow/enable" you to leave on time or does he appear at your desk at 4:55 with an urgent/big issue for discussion? Are they generally ok when you have time of for DC sickness etc? Are there lots of comments about the fact you can only stay until xx.

Without knowing more, I'd suggest you find out more about what is wrong currently inc examples. Talk to him about what has been compromised/hasn't happened due to you leaving at 5:30. What exactly does he mean? I'd set this all in the context of being committed and hard working and that you want him to be reassured that you are delivering etc.

If their approach is generally ok (although your post might suggest they are not) then I'd try to get him onside. It could be something as simple as agreeing you will (with he best of your ability) look at a specific email if a team member needs a response that evening.

However, as your are full time I do really question what is so urgent that it cannot be sorted the next am.

As I read your post it reminded me of a boss I had, he just required reaasurance. How do you feedback to him? Does he need to know more etc?

Not sure if that helps. I would try not to panic until you know exactly what he means.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sat 02-Mar-13 10:47:34

Re the responding to an email, I mean they'd need to give you a heads up. Agreeing to read emails every night isn't a good idea and I wouldn't have thought it is necess.

boyshoes Sat 02-Mar-13 11:40:11

Many thanks for all your comments, I actually do read emails every night from about 7.30-10 when they are received and every morning from 7.30 till 9 on my blackberry.

Good point - I am full time and usually at work by 8.30 despite contract not starting till 9am so I can (and do deal with issues before he arrives).

Have never been given any notice that I need to work beyond 5.30 and am going to put in writing I will be available to do this with notice as per my contract.

My other half does most of the childcare with the exception of Fri when I have to drop off so cannot be at work before 9 and have to leave on time.

We have previously disagreed when he expected me to travel for work over a weekend and refused to give me lieu days, and expected me to take time off after working the weekend as holiday. I refused and he backed down, not sure if this was a legal thing or just pressure from the other directors.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sat 02-Mar-13 13:43:04

Good lord, how much more available does he want you to be? As an outsider I would say you are being v flexible as it is....

I doubt your childless colleagues are on their emails as much as you? How much longer are they in the office than you? As we all know some people are very good at appearing busy whilst facebooking etc.

From my experience most working parents tend to be very productive/focused as they have to leave at xx.

It might be worth trying to get to the bottom of what prompted this, I just wondered if it is about something else/something irrational on his part.

It sounds like you are good for standing your ground, so an email referring to your contract might be wise.

It really shouldn't be this hard should it for working parents should it..

I saw that a well respected female CEO in my sector stood said she was resigning this week. A friend had interviewed with her a week or so before (for another role in the co) and she made comments about her kids missing her and how busy/big the role was. Obv it might be something else, but I just wondered if it was too hard doing the job and being a parent. A digression.

Anyway good luck with it.

Wishihadabs Sat 02-Mar-13 13:48:39

I agree, asking you to work over the weekend without time off in lieu is unreasonable. If you say you can work late with notice I think you are being v flexible.

Bramshott Wed 06-Mar-13 13:41:29

So is the issue that you're out of contact between 5.30 and 7.30? I guess if the others are still in the office then, that could throw up some problems. Could you potentially solve it by saying to your team "I can't respond to emails between 5.30 and 7.30, but if you need my input on something urgent, drop me a text and I'll reply"? There does seem to be a tendency in some fields to assume that people will be contactable all the time between 7am and 11pm hmm

Murtette Thu 07-Mar-13 19:22:55

I presume from your references to "manager" and "directors" that you don't work in a law firm but, if you do and you're a fee earner, then working outside 9.30 - 5.30 without time off in lieu is the normal and is covered by the fact that our contracts say the same thing as yours about working outside these hours etc. If you do something like four consecutive weekends plus lots of late nights (after midnight) and an all-nighter or two, then you might get a day of TOIL but otherwise, its just what's expected. And colleagues with children usually make arrangements so that they don't have to leave at 5.30 every day but share pick ups with their other half/grandparents or have a nanny who works until 7 or later. And no, we don't give notice that you'll be expected to work after 5.30, its just the norm.
I just wanted to highlight that expectations can vary from sector to sector. You have signed a contract which states that additional hours may be required and whilst it says that "every effort will be made to give reasonable notice", it doesn't actually say that they will give you reasonable notice. To avoid this problem, some of my colleagues have had their contracts amended to provide that they will leave at 5.30 each evening but have taken a subsequent pay cut...and are still logging on when they're at home.

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