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To think my sister should stand up for herself re Christmas leave

(118 Posts)
Daisysbear Thu 03-Dec-15 11:07:34

My sister has no children and, for the third year running, is being pressured to work on Christmas Day (It's a call centre type job). She, and other child free colleagues have been told that, as compensation, they can have New Year's Day off.

My sister is not in the least interested in hitting the town on NYE. She's in her forties and would really like to spend Christmas day with extended family, including our elderly mother.

I've told her to put her foot down, as she's being treated unfairly, but she's afraid she'll come across as selfish and begrudging.
AIBU to think she's being silly and perfectly entitled to object to being expected to work Christmas Day every year simply because she'd not a mother?

TheHouseOnTheLane Thu 03-Dec-15 11:09:31

YANBU. She needs to speak to the management privately and tell them that she has worked for two consecutive Christmases and that this year is not her turn.

If they bring up her status as a non parent she could have them over a barrel for discrimination..

Scarydinosaurs Thu 03-Dec-15 11:09:45

How many years in a row has she worked Christmas Day? How often have her colleagues? I would advise her to go armed with the figures and argue her case.

Floralnomad Thu 03-Dec-15 11:10:57

She is not unreasonable for wanting the day off and should do so ,it's not her turn . This kind of thing happened frequently when I was working ( nurse) , and no it's not fair to assume that Christmas is for children . The parents who work with her must know that Christmas working is involved when they take the job .

BadLad Thu 03-Dec-15 11:11:09

Absofuckinglutely not being unreasonable. It's disgusting that she and child-free colleagues are being pressured into working Christmas year after year if they would prefer to take leave.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Thu 03-Dec-15 11:11:25

I think it really depends on where you work. Presumably it is now too late to renegotiate being off this year anyway?

I've worked in places where parents got priority leave, and places where those that work Christmas is rotated, and those like where I work now, where people volunteer to work the day and generally there is enough that it's covered as much as is needed without forcing anyone.

Could she book next Christmas off now? Or let whomever do the rota know that she won't be available next year?

Fatherwishmas Thu 03-Dec-15 11:12:15

Could she ask for every other off?

Her family is as important to her as everyone elses is.

glentherednosedbattleostrich Thu 03-Dec-15 11:12:39

Just because you don't have kids doesn't mean you don't have a life. She should refuse, or offer to do early shift and someone else does afternoon.

BadLad Thu 03-Dec-15 11:13:18

Could she book next Christmas off now? Or let whomever do the rota know that she won't be available next year?

If she does that, and she's still there in a year, I'll bet my nuts that she will be pressured into working again next Christmas so that those with children don't have to.

Oldraver Thu 03-Dec-15 11:45:53

I think she should refuse if she has worked the last few years and I say this as someone who does have children.

If you take on a job that works Christmas then I think you have to take your turn at working it

Daisysbear Thu 03-Dec-15 11:46:36

To be honest, I'm really angry on her behalf. They seem to think giving New Year's Day off is perfect compensation, and it also allows the parents to feel that everything is fair and equal, when it isn't.

I'm going to talk to her again this evening. We'd all like to have her around on Christmas Day and the children would be thrilled. The younger ones probably don't remember a Christmas when their aunt was included.

WorraLiberty Thu 03-Dec-15 11:48:45

Are you sure she doesn't actually want to work, before you have another word with her?

dodobookends Thu 03-Dec-15 11:49:55

Get her to tell them that she wants to go to church on Christmas day. They're obliged by law to allow time off for religious reasons.

MissingPanda Thu 03-Dec-15 11:55:44

YANBU If you do the type of job/career that means there is a possibility that you'll be working over christmas then you have to accept that. Having children does not make you more important than those who do not have children.

Daisysbear Thu 03-Dec-15 11:55:53

Worral, yes I'm positive. She's really upset about it.

angelos02 Thu 03-Dec-15 12:06:56

That is disgusting. She has family, same as those people that happen to have children. Utterly unfair and I would hope is deemed as discriminatory.

Rafflesway Thu 03-Dec-15 12:22:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 03-Dec-15 12:23:06

She's really upset about it.

But will she actually do anything about it?

The best thing you can do to help her is to establish if she actually wants to have a difficult conversation.

If the answer is Yes - then help her to script it so she can make her point clearly and without emotion for fair treatment.

If the answer is No, then there is no point in belabouring it. She knows its unfair and discriminatory. Having someone harangue you about your rights when you can't stand up for yourself is not helpful.

See what you can do to have a nice day on NYD instead? Could she host a get together lunch then for example?

squoosh Thu 03-Dec-15 12:26:02

Very unfair but she needs to speak up.

If she's feeling shy about asking in person can she email HR instead?

MaxPepsi Thu 03-Dec-15 12:27:47

Gah, this pisses me off.

I am 40 and have no children, never will either.

In the past, although none of us have worked Xmas day, those without kids were expected to forgo booking off the 3 days in between.

First couple of years, I wasn't that bothered, all my friends were working so I was happy to do it. Then my brothers all had children. I requested the time off but as others had already asked it was declined, so fair enough.

I requested it in time the following year. My boss granted it. Someone else higher up then tried to cancel it in favour of someone with kids (after they had complained and gone to his manager).

I kicked off massively and it snowballed. Once I did it, others did it and it led to an overhaul of how Xmas time off was divvied up.

I left that company in the end though I heard they eventually shut in between Xmas and New Year as most staff wanted the time off and it was easier!

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 03-Dec-15 12:29:02

I know someone who manages a call centre team who has no children. People rostered on to work often call in sick on the day knowing that she will drop her family day [she's usually working at least half the day anyway] to cover their sudden norovirus.

It's shit but people think that the world revolves around them even though they've signed up to do a 24x7 job and are quite happy to take advantage of the flexibility it offers at other times.

Shutthatdoor Thu 03-Dec-15 12:29:02

I absolutely hate this.

I used to get this all the time when I was working in a particular sector.

YANBU and flowers and chocolate for you and your DSis

Daisysbear Thu 03-Dec-15 12:33:38

Thanks Shutthatdoor

NoSquirrels Thu 03-Dec-15 13:47:45

No, it's total shit and discriminatory to boot. Tell her to have a quiet word with HR/manager or email it if she doesn't want the conversation.

As others have said, your family status is irrelevant in working-time rota and the employees who sign up for the terms and conditions can't expect to get preferential treatment. I would be gutted to work Christmas Day, but I felt that way before I had children too.

I feel sorry for your sis but she HAS to make a stand.

BarbaraofSeville Thu 03-Dec-15 14:06:06

I don't suppose your sister is in a union? Could they help?

I don't know the exact wording of the legislation but it is something like 'it is unlawful to discriminate against someone for their child caring responsibilities'

I would say that included 'discrimination because they don't have child caring responsibilities.

It's shit though. I'm childfree and fortunate that I never have to work at Christmas because our office completely closes. However, some parents use their childcare issues to get out of long days and unattractive jobs that require overnight stays, which means that the childfree disproportionately have to take them on. I understand that working away can cause real difficulties and expense that cannot be recompensed, but that is not the business or other employees' responsibility to overcome.

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