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to wonder why working mums resort to a stereotype whilst being snowed in?

(45 Posts)
frgr Wed 01-Dec-10 10:45:24

I work for a charity sector organisation which really does bend over backwards to accommodate the various part time/flexi time workers, but i've been totally gobsmacked at some colleagues unprofessionalism this week.

Unfortunately our HQ is based on a business unit park that's pretty horrid with the snow arriving on Monday, not in the middle of nowhere but public transport drops people off a 10min walk away in good weather (20mins in bad). But it's more than accessible, buses still running, car park cleared by the maintenance managers of the park, etc. However, senior managers know that a few ladies (and men) are having difficulties with schools closing, so they offered to close the office on Mon/Tues/Wednesday (full pay) with the option of working from home on urgent tasks. I thought this was great - I did about 3 hrs on stuff that REALLY needed doing and spent the rest of the day with little ones but paid my full 8hrs! Fab!

However, the organisation has an intranet forum board (where news is communicated, internal job postings, and so on). there are a few colleagues who are moaning that the office should be closed for the rest of the week. Not because of transport issues, or issues re: safety, but "what am i supposed to do with the kids"... that's literally the only reason many many of them are complaining about. Like, about 20 so far have posted this issue.

AIBU to think that this REALLY isn't my employer's problem? They've already closed the office for 3 days this week whilst paying people fulltime, and we have a major project to deliver at the start of January (major as in it's five times as large as anything the organisation has ever been involved in before) which is only just getting back on deadline. If we don't deliver, it will bring huge embrassment to the organisation and potential financial penalties (media attention too most likely).

So am I being a harsh b!tch to think that unless my colleagues have a concern for their safety or transport issues, they shouldn't expect the office to remain closed indefinitely?

(p.s. if you work for the same organisation and have seen the internal forum postings, don't out me grin)

chibi Wed 01-Dec-10 10:51:16

Fire them all and replace them with empathy-compliant cybereunuchs

It's the future, trust me

booyhohoho Wed 01-Dec-10 10:51:47

tbh i think those parents need to take parental leave (unpaid) if they can't get anyone to look after their dcs while school is closed.

your employer has given 3 full paid days off. that is a good flexible employer and parents really should have been trying to arrange alternate childcare or called to say tehy need to take additional leave,

TheCrackFox Wed 01-Dec-10 11:03:50

Wow, imagine mothers posting on the intranet their concerns about arranging childcare. hmm

chibi Wed 01-Dec-10 11:06:58

is bitching on the Internet about bitching on the Internet metabitching, or is is more cyclical bitching

Top drawer anyway op

spidookly Wed 01-Dec-10 11:07:59


frgr Wed 01-Dec-10 11:08:08

Well, on your employer's forum, when you've just been given 3 full paid days off despite, realistically, 99% of people still being able to make it in, and your only concern is something you should have arranged during aforementioned break? Yes, I genuinely believe that is unreasonable CrackFox.

What would YOU have my employer do in this situation? That's not meant to be fighting talk, I'm genuinely curious - if there are people out there who think my employer is being crap, what sort of thing do YOU think is acceptable in the above situation?

As a working mum myself I'd have assumed that i'd side with the vocal posters on this, but i do feel they are giving working parents a bad name, and some of their posts are making me cringe!

fedupofnamechanging Wed 01-Dec-10 11:09:48

I think it's really hard for working parents when the schools are closed and they have chidren at home who would ordinarily be at school during worktime. I'm not sure what the solution is, but agree that it isn't up to your employer to resolve this.

Perhaps those affected could continue to work from home. Failing that, I think they could ask to take annual leave or unpaid parental leave. It is hard though, if they do n't have any backup childcare.

Could they take the DC into work for a couple of hours?

QueenGigantaurofMnet Wed 01-Dec-10 11:10:00

I also work in the charity sector.
I also have children.

My office is probably accessible as it shares it grounds and the other place has full time maiintenance crew who will have no doubt cleared it all.

getting into the office isn't the issue, getting out of my road is.

And yes you are correct. My childcare issues are not my employers problem. but having a DS with ASD means that i can't just drop him with a neighbour. I cant take him to some soft play day centre as he is 10 and too old.
i can't leave him alone because he is A) not old enogh and even if he were his asd would make this impossiible for a number of reasons.

So whilst i do see your point, yabu

classydiva Wed 01-Dec-10 11:10:47

I think that those whose children cannot get to school should find alternatives and get to work if possible i.e weather permitting.

Only the weather should keep people off not the fact they have no childcare.

The employer has already exceeded what is required of them.

booyhohoho Wed 01-Dec-10 11:11:48

gig you could take unpaid leave?

KristinaM Wed 01-Dec-10 11:13:58

what do these employees do when their children are off school for other reasons eg school holidays and in service days, sickness

they MUST have some childcare plans in place, school holidays are 13 weeks a year!!!!! are their kids never sick?????

Janos Wed 01-Dec-10 11:17:52

OP - I'm a working mum myself and can see your POV but also theirs. You can't magic childcare out of nowhere if there's no-one else to take the kids.

I am wondering why Dads can't take time off if necessary tho? Shouldn't just fall on mums.

KnowNothing Wed 01-Dec-10 11:19:40

If I were in that situation I might think it was a PITA that school was shut and I had to go into work but I wouldn't bitch about it on the company intranet!

KristinaM, its all one massive juggling act worked out months in advance. Random snow and sick days are the hardest to cover.

spidookly Wed 01-Dec-10 11:23:30

"I might think it was a PITA that school was shut and I had to go into work but I wouldn't bitch about it on the company intranet!"


Management likely to think "well fuck giving them any time off" next time there's snow if the reaction this kind of whingeing when they eventually have to go back.

QueenGigantaurofMnet Wed 01-Dec-10 11:39:11

kristina - school holidays are set in place the year before, all covered and organised far in advance. usually by out of school clubs or family.
neither of which are available if i can't leave teh house.

Booyhoho - i am able to do a fair amount of work from home and as most of the peole i would usually have to leave teh office to see will be in a similar situation most meetings would have been cancelled anyway so i am not as badly off as some.

but yes i too agree that bitching over a company intranet is incredibly stupid and rather ungratefull for the effort already made on the companies behalf.

Janos Wed 01-Dec-10 11:41:23

I have holidays and occasional days covered months in advance - you kinda have to!

But sometimes even the best laid plans go to waste etc when you get circs like this.

Janos Wed 01-Dec-10 11:42:25

Oh yes it's ungrateful all right! Esp as company have been generous. But some people are just like that aren't they?

Blu Wed 01-Dec-10 11:46:37

Is it just mothers? Do no male employees have children whose schools are closed?
I work for a charity, DP and I share all unexpected emergency childcare between us, and are equaly responsible fo finding alternative emergency cover.

As an employer i am sick of the number of women on MN who give endless reasons why, ultimately, they see their job as less important / more eligible for unplanned days off than their dp's , and so essentially make women appear less reliable workers.

AMAZINWOMAN Wed 01-Dec-10 11:50:23

Your company is a great place to work for!!

Most private sector companies will only pay you for the hours you are in work, so if you're absent for illness, childcare issues etc then you don't get paid.

Are there any jobs going in your place lol

Janos Wed 01-Dec-10 11:58:11

Yes Blu agree entirely re why can't Dads take time off too - why are women default carers?

In my case am single parent so it does all fall on my shoulders. I don't actually like having to take time off as it makes me look unreliable and I enjoy working.

elvislives Wed 01-Dec-10 12:09:10

Don't agree with what they are writing on the company forum, no. They've been really good in closing the office for 3 days.

Having said that, I've moved house and now live 1/2 a mile from the office we're being moved to next year. When this weather started my manager told me I could walk to the new office instead of struggling the 20 miles to work. Problem is that nursery is round the corner from where I work now. If I can't get to work I can't get to nursery. Grandma, the default back-up, also lives near nursery/ work, so I can't get to her either.

It isn't work's problem but I don't know how we'd get round that.

As it is we have no snow, but I've had to take Leave today because DD was sick in the night and can't go to nursery for 48 hours. (DH will have her tomorrow).

Niceguy2 Wed 01-Dec-10 12:16:54

Both POV's are equally valid.

Employers run businesses and have work to do. Quite understandably your personal circumstances are not your employer's problem.

At the same time, in the real world, employees have issues with childcare and its unreasonable as well as illegal to discriminate.

In my opinion, the sensible compromise is yes, take time off if you need to but its unpaid or comes out of your holiday entitlement.

Employer's should not have to pay for employees who must take unplanned time off

Mishy1234 Wed 01-Dec-10 12:30:42

I don't have school age children yet, but when DC's are sick I take unpaid leave. I also ensure I am still available for emergencies, but can't do a proper days work as the DC's are young.

TheCoalitionNeedsYou Wed 01-Dec-10 12:43:09

AMAZINWOMAN - Most private companies still have sick pay.

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