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Am I being unreaosnable to think that having kids shouldn't automatically give you more right to have the bank holidays off?

(259 Posts)
KitKat1985 Tue 22-Apr-14 10:20:34

Hello all.

Maybe Mumsnet isn't the best place to ask this question but I'm fed up. I work as a nurse in a hospital unit (open 24 hours, 365 days a week). It is, obviously, a fact of our job that the bank holidays need to be covered on the nursing rota, and I have no problem with this per se, as I accept that it's part of the job. What I am fed up is that my boss seems automatically to give the large majority of bank holiday working to those who are child-less, and gives priority to have the day off to the nursing staff who are parents. I could understand more if this was a child-care issue, but no, 95% of the parents where I work have partners / husbands who are also off on the bank holiday, so that there is already child-care available. I have just worked all 4 days of the Easter weekend, not spent any quality time with my husband, and missed one engagement party and family gathering because of work; and yet a lot of my colleagues with children have been off the whole 4 days (again). I'm down on the next rota to work May-day as well. Christmas and New Year is even worse (and causes a lot of staff tensions) as a lot of child-less staff find themselves working all over Christmas and New Year, inevitably leading to a lot of bad feeling against the nursing staff with children, who seem to automatically get priority to have the time off. I'm not anti-family (and am indeed, currently pregnant) but am I being unreasonable to think that the bank holiday working should be shared out a bit better? It's very difficult to discuss this issue with my ward manager, who has several children herself, and is very adamant about not working bank holidays as it's 'family time'.

Casmama Tue 22-Apr-14 10:23:23

YANBU - do you have any recourse to anyone? There must be a fairer system than that.

gordyslovesheep Tue 22-Apr-14 10:30:44

If you work in a hospital it's down to HR and hospital policy surely

have you spoken to anyone about it - like your manager or union

KitKat1985 Tue 22-Apr-14 10:37:26

It's very difficult. The whole NHS philosophy on working parents is very much about allowing parents to work flexibly and to have a work / family balance if you have children. I have no problem with this per se but I think it gets a bit 'brushed under the carpet' sometimes that what is better for working parents often means workers without children end up providing the cover when the working-parents are not there.

DrHamstertoyou Tue 22-Apr-14 10:37:30

I've never understood that attitude, I also worked bank holidays Xmas etc before I had kids (midwife) and now I have kids I don't work quite as many. It's your "turn" to work them, I'll bet once your baby is born you will want to not work Xmas etc. When my kids are a bit older it'll be my turn to work the holidays again so that those with young kids or without kids get their turn at having the holidays off.

angelos02 Tue 22-Apr-14 10:40:37

That is outrageous OP. Shouldn't make any difference whatsoever whether people have children or not. Everyone should work their fair share of bank holidays. I don't have children but have a life outside work.

KitKat1985 Tue 22-Apr-14 10:42:45

DrHamstertoyou - What about people that never have / don't want to have children? Should they just be expected to work every set of bank holidays in order to make life easier for working parents? Surely just because people don't have children doesn't also mean that they don't have a life / family commitments that ever warrant having the time off?

OnlyLovers Tue 22-Apr-14 10:47:26

YANBU. People without children have lives, commitments and desires to spend the holidays doing nice things too, and are just as entitled to bank holidays off as people with. It should be done on a fair and balanced rota system.

DrHamster, why on earth should people without children work bank holidays for several years to accommodate people with small children?

Maryz Tue 22-Apr-14 10:48:02

I think that there is some justification for Christmas Day itself - just the day - for parents of young (under ten) children. And the problem could probably be overcome by offering a financial incentive (or an alternative of two days off) and asking for volunteers.

Apart from that it should be done fairly for everyone. Ordinary bank holidays, Easter etc are equal opportunity holidays - three is no reason for parents to have them off.

And imo it's a bit of a slippery slope - I will never forget the summer dh and I got no holiday because he was the only person in his company with no children (we'd been ttc for years) so wasn't allocated a single week between May and the end of September.

Added to which - do you give Christians priority at Easter? Or other religions priority for their special days?

Roster allocation has to be fair to everyone.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 22-Apr-14 10:48:07


I'm a nurse with a child and am currently pregnant. I think it should be fair. People without kids have lives too.

Last year I worked all the bank holidays and some people worked none! How fair is that?!

Perfectlypurple Tue 22-Apr-14 10:48:11

I think it should be taken in turns. If you don't want to work bank holidays chose a career where you don't need to. Why is it just the parents that should see family on special occasions? What about people that work shifts and have very little time with their partner. Should they not get quality time with their partners. What about same sex couples who don't have children - should they have to work all bank holidays?

RunnerBeen Tue 22-Apr-14 10:49:21

YANBU, just because people don't have children does not mean they do not have a life and want to enjoy long weekends/christmas etc.

i am a mother, i struggle alot with childcare during holidays as ds' nursery and daycare both shut, but i would never expect to have all holidays off over and above others with no children or grown up children.

it should be spread equally or done on a rota basis- ie. you have worked this entire bank holiday so May weekend is your turn to have it off.

have you spoken to your boss? are there other colleagues without children who are lumbered with the same? you should get together and bring it up.

KitKat1985 Tue 22-Apr-14 10:50:06

For example, if a parent with young kids particularly wants Christmas day off to see their children get their presents etc, I have no problem with this; but just think maybe they could then work Boxing day or New Years instead so that other people also got the chance to spend some time with their (adult) families. It's about sharing the time off out surely so that everyone gets some quality family time, regardless of whether they have children or not?

sharonthewaspandthewineywall Tue 22-Apr-14 10:50:35

Dr hamster I hate to use the term everyone so hates on here but you sound dreadfully entitled

msrisotto Tue 22-Apr-14 10:52:25

YANBU. Childless people have families too! As someone else said, a financial incentive would help Artem the deal because let's face it, no-one wants to work over bank holidays

OnlyLovers Tue 22-Apr-14 10:53:31

Maryz, I think that there is some justification for Christmas Day itself - just the day - for parents of young (under ten) children.

Absolutely not. I have no children but, believe it or not, I usually have plans and people who want to see me on Christmas Day. Why should they be treated as less important than the plans and the loved ones of people with children?

angelos02 Tue 22-Apr-14 10:57:05

Why should Christmas Day be an exception? I am my parent's child - does that not count because I am over 10 years old?

badidea Tue 22-Apr-14 10:57:45

YANBU - and I've never heard anyone refer to bank holidays as 'family time'. Neither I nor my DH work in organisations that 'give' bank holidays (they're added on to annual leave to take as and when we want) and while we could use them for bank holidays we never do (who the hell wants to be off with everyone else?).

As for xmas and new year, in the kind of jobs that work 365 days a year there is always going to be tension. I think if you really want xmas and new year off (and I mean anybody, not just those with/without kids) maybe you need to find a job that doesn't work those shifts - otherwise, you just have to suck it up and accept that you won't always get the shifts you want (childless and those with children).

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 22-Apr-14 10:59:43

I don't think anybody has the right to say who is more entitled to spend bank holidays etc with their families, it's ridiculous

Surely it should just be allocated amongst all staff fairly, so a,b,c work Good Friday, x, y, z work easter Monday?

Having children shouldn't come into the decision making process.

chrome100 Tue 22-Apr-14 11:01:01

YANBU at all. And as for the poster above who said "her turn would come" - what would happen for someone who never has kids? should they work every bank holiday forever more? No, it's not fair.

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 22-Apr-14 11:01:52

There was a thread recently about parents getting 'dibs' on holidays and the cry from the majority was that it wasn't fair but that "that sort of thing rarely happens these days" despite those of us without children pointing out that it still does and still with more frequency than is fair.

DrHamster I don't have children and am not going to have any. I don't mind taking my turn, but I do not and will not accept that parents should EVER get automatic dibs on ANY holiday time over those without children. That is suggesting that parents are more important and better citizens than the childless or childfree and your attitude suggests that ir right and proper. Well it bloody well ain't.

Work/life balance needs to apply fairly and across the board. Having children is YOUR choice. I pay taxes for the NHS and schools. I will probably use the latter but not the former. I am happy to do that - your children may be my nurses, lawyers, who knows. But I am damned if I should have to take last choice of holidays for the likes of you.

DrHamstertoyou Tue 22-Apr-14 11:02:27

Onlylovers - because they're children! They don't understand why you have to go to work whereas other adults do and they are only little for a short while.

I'm not entitled. I've worked with a great bunch of women who are happy to let the mums of young children go first when it comes to self fostering over a holiday. Because they had holidays off when their kids were little.

unintentionalthreadkiller Tue 22-Apr-14 11:04:16

YANBU that would royally piss me off. Bank holidays at my work don't matter as the office is closed for everyone but at Christmas we take it in turns for the in between Christmas and new year period regardless of whether or not you have kids (I have kids and wouldn't expect to have any more right to time off than someone who didn't).

chrome100 Tue 22-Apr-14 11:23:48

Hamster - but what about the women/men who don't have kids and haven't benefitted from having time off when their kids were little?

Why should they lose out?

You are remarkably short-sighted.

rowna Tue 22-Apr-14 11:23:54

I think it should be fairly allocated. It's rubbish for single people because they often can't then travel to see family. So end up spending the rest of the bh alone. I didn't really mind working half of Xmas day once I had dc, because I could get home to spend the rest of the day with them. When I was single, I'd spend the rest of Xmas day on my own because my family were 300 miles away.

But it never was fair when I worked on wards. It's at the mercy of whoever happens to have the job of organising the rota.

I think the system (if there is one) is very archaic. I've never understood why they don't give people set shifts. They must lose so many staff because of it. Supermarkets manage it. Who realistically can find childcare for any hours of the day or night on any random day with less than two weeks' notice? They could then allocate the bank holidays fairly.

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