Am I about to ruin my career prospects?

(10 Posts)
cowbag1 Fri 20-May-16 10:46:47

I'll try and be brief so as not to out myself and bore people senseless!

I'm currently on a secondment at work, which I started after coming back from mat leave. On accepting the position, it was agreed I could work part time hours over 4 days. I wouldn't have accepted the position as full time (even though it's more senior, so great experience and better pay) and I had already had my flexible working request accepted for my old position (fewer hours over 3 days).

I'm 6 months in now, no issues have been raised by my line manager or head of division (who both had to agree my secondment terms). The hours are in my contract but the number of days is not.

We've recently had a new HOD and she's made it plain that she doesn't agree with part time work at my level or above. So while I've been looking for permanent roles, I'm aware that anything in my current divison will probably have to be full time.

So, I'm currently abroad and back at work on Monday after 2 weeks leave. I stupidly checked my work emails and I've got one to say my old LM is leaving and the new LM will be taking over from the week after I get back. The new LM has then emailed me to say that she knows I don't currently but I will need to start doing more hours over 5 days to cover her when she's on leave. This is to start from the week after I get back, so her first week in the job, as she's away for 2 weeks.
I'm fuming for the following reasons:
- Surely you can't force someone to work more than their contracted hours without going through a formal process?
-There have been no issues with cover before
-How can I be expected to arrange an extra day's childcare with 1 week's notice (she knows I'm currently on leave).

I would agree to do a 5th day to provide cover if firstly I was asked rather than told and secondly, I was given enough notice to arrange childcare. But I would not work more than my contracted hours, that's not what I signed up for (I actually work almost full time when you add up unpaid overtime and work from home anyway).

So I haven't replied and tried to forget about it until I get back. But when I do, I'm going to refuse (I really can't get childcare for the first week but might be able to wangle a few hours the second week). Thing is, new LM is incredibly popular and influential across the whole company and I think this will ruin any chances of securing a new position, even in another division.

To complicate matters, I'm 20 weeks pg but only old LM knows at the moment.

Am I right to make a stand against this, even if it spoils my chances of progresing? I'm normally very amiable but I think this is against company policy (I'm going to forward the email to HR to check) and really unreasonable.

soupmaker Fri 20-May-16 10:52:34

Got straight to HR with questions about this. I think your new LM is well out of order. Seek assistance from your union if you're in one. I'd play it along the lines of, I'd be very happy to discuss my hours and days but I'm surprised to be ordered to increase both. Good luck.

cowbag1 Fri 20-May-16 11:05:14

Not in a union unfortunately, I keep putting off joining but know I should.

I don't want to use it but surely me being pg is relevant here too?

flowery Fri 20-May-16 14:11:27

Why is your pregnancy relevant?

I would suggest writing to her and saying that your contracted hours are x, you are not prepared to increase that at this time, or to increase the number of days you are in the office on a regular basis, however if you are given plenty of notice and can arrange childcare, you are happy to change your hours occasionally if she is going on holiday and cover is required.

cowbag1 Fri 20-May-16 14:36:07

Because surely you can't force extra hours/days on someone when they're pregnant? (I may be clutching at straws here though). I haven't done my risk assessment yet and will have to do it with my new LM now.

Veterinari Fri 20-May-16 15:03:31

I'm not sure that it's any more reasonable to force extra hours on a non pregnant person. If there are separate h&s risks associated with pregnancy and your job then that's a different matter, but if there aren't playing the pregnancy card will make you look unreasonable and entitled.

The issue here is an un discussed extension to your contracted hours. Your pregnancy is irrelevant

blimeyalldecentnamesaregone Fri 20-May-16 15:10:18

Don't use your pregnancy as an issue here.

I would go to work on Monday, make a show of going through your emails (Mark a load as unread if you need to!) and then create a fuss when you see the one about you having to do extra hours. the 'fuss' being either oh no I can't as we're away/whatever or you trying to be accommodating and asking people for childcare but not being able to do it.

My pet hate is employers expecting that part timers have nothing else to do on days off and can just pop in to suit. Grrrr.

flowery Fri 20-May-16 20:12:06

"The issue here is an un discussed extension to your contracted hours. Your pregnancy is irrelevant"

Exactly. Just respond to the email politely saying you are not prepared to increase your contracted hours at this time, but with sufficient notice you will be happy to try and change your hours on an occasional basis to accommodate cover requirements if you can get childcare.

If you use your pregnancy you are saying its otherwise fine. Which it isn't! It's not your pregnancy that is causing you to want to refuse this.

daisychain01 Sun 22-May-16 06:12:57

Maybe a conversation with the new LM first would be more constructive than flat refusal by email.

By all means a confirmation in writing afterwards, but these things are often best started face to face, to build rapport.

Could you get HR involved to check out what the company policy is on changes to working hours, what process has to be undergone and what rights the employee has.

cowbag1 Sun 22-May-16 10:40:16

I already know new LM very well and we do get on but I'm wary of her because she can be very cliquey with the right people. She's a very big personality so I'm worried that I won't be able to come across as strongly as I want to face to face (although I was obviously going to back up the email with a proper conversation).

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