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AIBU to think my boss is being a bit of an ar*e?

(45 Posts)
bundybear Tue 01-Nov-16 20:35:39

Hello there wise people of Mumsnetlandia

So, my new(ish) boss announced out of the blue today that he is placing restrictions on our annual leave. No annual leave from mid-August to mid-October, with leave in 'exceptional circumstances' up until mid-December. This is not in our contracts which don't specify anything about when to take leave.

His argument is that it's our busiest time - the reality is that it's pretty bloody busy all year. We're a team of 6 and 4 of us have school age children. Summer childcare is a nightmare so most of us 4 take a chunk of leave in the summer. Not only does this stop that, I feel pretty aggrieved that it takes me away from my kids during the precious school holidays (I work flat-out in term time then try to be around in the hols) and cuts into family time making the possibility of getting away as a family even harder. Plus the restriction is essentially August to December - that's 4 whole months without leave, which doesn't seem reasonable to me.

Boss (man, no kids) says he's checked this with HR and he can 'do what he likes' with leave.

AIBU or is this worthy of a whinge to the Union?

bluebeck Tue 01-Nov-16 20:38:29

I would definitely whinge to the union. However, legally yes he can do it.

He sounds like a knobber. Can you start looking for a new job and hopefully find one by the time next summer comes around?

PatrolPaw Tue 01-Nov-16 20:38:37

Jesus i would be fuming.

Definitely contact acas

kerryob Tue 01-Nov-16 20:39:00

Have you got a hr department? I'd get advice as it's not in your contract and speak to HR directly

PigletWasPoohsFriend Tue 01-Nov-16 20:39:47

Legally he can do it.

Gazelda Tue 01-Nov-16 20:42:15

He'll be pretty sorry when all 4 of you hand your leave requests for the first 2 weeks of August in at the same time.

NeedMoreSleepOrSugar Tue 01-Nov-16 20:44:14

In most workplaces restrictions can be placed on annual leave due to business needs, but I'd seriously question a blanket ban for that length of time (especially as he seems to be anticipating this for next year - is your workload that predictable?)

I'd contract hr and ask about it. Also I'd ask him how he plans to manage the workload the rest of the year if everyone is trying to squeeze their leave into an eight month window - i.e. won't you be short staffed at other key times?

Mybugslife Tue 01-Nov-16 20:45:16

I would still have a good old moan to your union about and double check with HR that he can actually do that without it being in your contract, however it can be done I'm afraid. I have annual leave restrictions between end of Oct to beginning of Feb as that's our busiest time and I've tried but can't do anything about it.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Tue 01-Nov-16 20:45:27

I'm not 100% sure of the rules but I think legally he can do it. They have to give you the leave but I don't think you can say exactly when you want to take it.

I really sympathise. I also have a newish boss who from now on is going to reduce the number of people who can be off in school holidays and say some weeks that nobody can have leave. This will increase my childcare costs and has pushed an already low team morale even lower.

EsmesBees Tue 01-Nov-16 20:51:39

It does seem unreasonable. What does he expect you to do if your kids are ill or you have to take leave for other unplanned reasons? He is going to end up with a very unhappy team.

5moreminutes Tue 01-Nov-16 20:52:05

It is terrible management practice to piss 2/3 of your team off and make their lives less easy for no good reason, regardless of it not actually being illegal.

Talk to HR and ACAS yes - but also quietly start applying for a new job. Your arsehole boss will be laughing on the other side of his face when most of his experienced staff hand in their notice within a fairly short time period, especially if HR do exit interviews. Child free staff probably won't be delighted at a blanket 4 month leave ban either, despite not having the child care issue.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Tue 01-Nov-16 20:59:00

Are all 4 of you trying to take leave at the same time in the holidays?

Maybe he is trying to stop everyone being off at the same time during the busy period.

Maybe as pp has said restrict the number of people who are off at one time rather than a blanket ban.

bundybear Tue 01-Nov-16 20:59:53

Pfft a new job is on the cards because this is, frankly, the straw that is about to break this knackered camel's back. But I was hoping to hold out until DD3 starts school in Sept 2018 and I do actually like my job and my team and I'm scared to move (been in post for 10 years). All us mothers have stayed in this job precisely and solely because of the flexible hours and working pattern - I left a career running summer events because I knew I wanted to have kids and that that sort of work wouldn't be compatible. My current job (in higher education) has traditionally been quietish up to mid-Sept when it kicks off but New Boss has instigated a ridiculous new system that has pushed the hump of work back into the summer (July was horrendous this year). So he has made August busier than it used to be, then told us we can't take leave...

When he first mentioned it my initial thought was 'when the effing eff am I going to buy school shoes if not in the last two weeks of the summer holidays?!'. But on deeper reflection I'm more pissed off that I'm basically not going to see my kids to share 'quality time' for 4 months of the year. And it's going to cost a fortune in childcare. And it's ruddy ridiculous.

Will contact the Union...

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Tue 01-Nov-16 21:01:09

5 more minutes please can you come and explain good management to my manager grin? I swear she makes it her business to upset all of us and frequently talks about 'difficult changes ahead'.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Tue 01-Nov-16 21:02:33

Xpost, OP your situation is upsettingly similar to my workplace (public sector but not education). Lots of people thinking about leaving now.

Howlongtillbedtime Tue 01-Nov-16 21:04:42

It is also pretty short sighted as for the rest of the year there will be at least one and more often than not two people on holiday every week.

He sounds like a nobber . I wonder who he is trying to impress or prove a point to .

bundybear Tue 01-Nov-16 21:05:18

He is trying to stop everyone being off at once - but this has never actually happened. The two child free team members like to take their hols in cheap, off peak times. I tend to use my leave to work two days on, two days off in the hols and then pick a full week off in the summer, usually just before the schools go back. The other three do similar but rarely at the exact same time. It's been 'customary' not to take leave in Sept and Oct because it's the start of term, and I would agree with not taking a big chunk of leave off at the end of August but I really resent what feels like total overkill in banning all leave. Plus Sept and Oct are hard - if we have no break in the month before, and no hope of a break til Christmas, we'll seriously burn out.

bundybear Tue 01-Nov-16 21:07:42

He'll be trying to impress his superiors (all men, all childless)...

I sense a mutiny.

Howlongtillbedtime Tue 01-Nov-16 21:10:34

A mutiny sounds like A good idea to me . Even if this stupid plan of his fails I am sure he will think of something else just as annoying .

FinderofNeedles Tue 01-Nov-16 21:12:41

Any chance you can all get together and plan out 80% of your preferred leave dates between now and next summer? Then present him with it all on a calendar, to show him that his feared, and largely hypothetical, problem will not materialise. That way you guys stay in control of your time off, and you can all sleep at night. Win win.

bundybear Tue 01-Nov-16 21:17:15

I actually managed the same team for 2 years on an interim secondment thing, so anything I say always sounds like sour grapes... But when I was manager I let people take leave whenever they liked as long as their caseloads were under control and contingencies planned for and there was never a single problem. Plus productivity went way up and absenteeism went way down. But what would I know hmm

SabineUndine Tue 01-Nov-16 21:17:46

Wouldn't be surprised if he wants to take his own leave in September. In my first job I was told I couldn't:

- take time off when anyone else did (although two of the 3 people I worked with always took the same fortnight)
- take more than two weeks
- take time off before or after Christmas

In the end I said sweetly: 'Would you like to tell me when I CAN take time off please?'

Lorelei76 Tue 01-Nov-16 21:18:27

If he was genuinely addressing a business need that would be one thing
But this doesn't sound like the case

bundybear Tue 01-Nov-16 21:19:08

FinderofNeedles that's a very good plan. We could do it as a whole team, which is kind of what we do anyway, but not formally.

GloriaGaynor Tue 01-Nov-16 21:19:28

Even if it's legal, if a group of you complain that you're in the job because of the flexible hours and working pattern together it's possible you may get him to reconsider. An exodus isn't going to make him look good. Depends how much of an arsehole he is.

Could it could be feasibly be construed as discrimination against working mothers?

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