going back to work p/t = drain on the team?

(5 Posts)
Macaroons Tue 16-Jul-13 14:55:29

My maternity leave is due to end in late August, and I can only find childcare for 2 days in August and September before increasing to 4 days in October. I have accrued 30+ days off throughout my maternity so my plan is to first use up those annual leave days before formally submitting a request to work 4 days a week from 1/1/2014, say.

I have communicated my plan to my manager verbally back in mid May, followed by an email in early June after I got a formal offer from the nursery. I didn't hear back until today, with an email from my boss saying me returning back to work for 2 days a week in September would be "a drain on the rest of the team", and his "preference would be for me to utilise your holiday during September"

I feel very frustrated that they didn't let me know sooner (it's been almost 2 months since I told him the plan!!) and disheartened to see that I would be "a drain on the rest of the team". Had I known sooner that I'm not welcome to work for 2 days a week in Sept I wouldn't have arranged to start nursery in late July! (and saving me hundreds of pounds!!!) Will discuss with them... but just wondering what are my options? Can they force me to use up my holidays in September bcoz they dont want to see me?

Thanks for reading and thank in advance for advice!

Champagnebubble Tue 16-Jul-13 19:52:33

They can't force you to use your holiday up in September BUT they can stipulate you should come back to work full time from the end of August as that's the end of your maternity leave and can deny holiday requests if they have a valid reason.

It sounds like something else is going on.

Did you have a maternity replacement? With you coming back, albeit a few days a week could there be budgetary issues where they have to let go your maternity cover as they will be paying you full time again (as holiday counts as pay again). That could be the strain on the team your manager is referring to as losing the maternity cover and you coming back part time means someone has to pick up the work.

If it is a small company or they are having to watch their finances could your boss be feeling the pressure about having to pay you full time and a maternity replacement? Or could your boss be pressurised by his management? I've seen some stupid management reports in my time that measure salaries being paid out versus the output - so with you working part time but on paper and payroll as full time it wrecks the figures and makes your boss look bad. Daft, yep, but organisational politics can be daft!!!!!

Your manager could be worried about your accrued holiday also as sometimes it is a worry and they prefer to have returners to just take it in one go so you are back to a 'normal' allocation. I've had many a manager come and see me due to being worried about this! Your manager could be worried about the team feeling like you aren't 'one of them' and always on holiday leading to increased competition for days off too - because you're off on certain days does it mean some individuals will have to compete for the days off? I guess this is compounded if you have no maternity cover and they were looking forward to you coming back to share the workload, or as I say above if they have had to let your cover go as you are coming back.

Is he worried you are trying to build up evidence that you can work part-time in your role as a pre-cursor as you putting in a flexible working application to work part time permanently? Has someone - one of the team, his boss said something that made him panic? I've seen managers worried about this and I've seen people try and do this to strengthen their case as they knew that manager would never entertain part time. Result was that the manager puts their guard up and the person returning from maternity leave feels unwanted.

Anyway just speculation off the top of my head! If any of them ring true maybe I can help you explore more.

Options for you.....if your boss won't approve your holiday every week, and you don't want to take your accrued holiday in a chunk you could take unpaid parental leave (If financially it works)

Or....perhaps most recommended - you could talk to your manager and ask him when he means. It may be helpful to understand, perhaps you can get to the root of what the issue is and you can really understand and you work something out together.

Macaroons Wed 17-Jul-13 19:20:15

Hi Champagnebubble, thanks for taking your time to help me evaluate the situation. In the email he sent me he did say happy to hear my thoughts, so will have a discussion with him and explain to him my situation (childcare costly and all arranged etc). He doesn't have a child himself and he doesn't seem to know the details on maternity rights (eg he didn't know he couldn't ask me when I'll be going back to work before I had my baby) so I'll give him the benefit of doubt as he's usually quite understanding! fingers crossed he will understand my situation and approve my holidays. I'm not working for a small company and if I were to take the entire September off as holiday they will still have to pay me, so I don't think it's due to money issue. Oh well, will find out when I have the discussion!!

Was just reading a BBC article about maternity leave www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23328646 and there's a link to another article saying 1 in 7 people did not have a job to go back to! shocking... www.slatergordon.co.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2013/03/no-mothers-day-celebration-for-women-returning-from-maternity-leave/ I thought the law protects us and we should all have a job to go back to if we take up to 1 year off?

onedev Wed 17-Jul-13 19:34:01

The law states A job, not YOUR job if you're off for longer than 6 months. Unfortunately it is often the case that part time would be a drain on the team & a valid reason to say no is if operational requirements cannot be met.

I understand your frustration at him not telling you this before now so hopefully when you meet face to face you can get a better appreciation of where he's coming from & come to a mutually agreeable solution.

All the best.

lorraine121 Fri 19-Jul-13 17:33:51

my son is now 9 months so I got it touch with work. they said no to part time

I would have preferred to come back as part time but they are unable to offer me that.

I am due back on 30th of September 2014 but they suggested before I left, it would be better for you if I returned after my holiday in October. I will return from my holiday on the 6th of November and can start work on the 7th or the 14th which ever they prefer.

she mentioned a redundancy offer or employing someone full time and trying to fit me in part time as best they could. but I don't feel that would be financially suitable for me.

they are ok for me to start work at 10am instead of 9am so i can drop off the baby to the nursery in the morning.

they insist I cant do part time as they need me to work 5 days from 10am-5pm. i have asked for them to be more flexible suggested working 4 days of their choice and maybe finishing at 4.30 some days if I can't find someone to pick my baby. I normally work 9-6 5 days but I feel that they are forcing me to go back as full time. also been working there 4 years.

so I am now waiting for their reply.

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