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To ask the regular night shift workers if I can join in?

(37 Posts)
Bigblug Mon 17-Apr-17 10:14:22

Our night team is very small. I want/need to work two nights a week, for childcare cover. However, whenever I've mentioned it to co workers I just get a raised eyebrow and 'how will that work then?'. Basically there are two men who share the night shifts through the week. They've done it for years, way before I even started here. Now I don't profess to know their circumstances but I do know it's not for childcare or anything like that. Our manager has told me to put in the request but said it's unlikely that I'll get it as the two regulars won't give up/share their night shift. I feel like I have a legit reason to request it. Wwyd? Drop it and chug along or fight it? I don't want to rock the boat or step on anyone's toes here, and I like my colleagues!

SaucyJack Mon 17-Apr-17 10:21:59

I don't know. Does everyone have set shifts? Are the night shifts considered different to day hours?

It's quite hard to say without knowing how your rota is drawn up whether you've got a leg to stand on or not.

They certainly shouldn't have to give up any contracted hours because you've decided they suit you tho.

FormerlyFrikadela01 Mon 17-Apr-17 10:23:53

I'd put in the request and be prepared to make your case.

In my experience there's a reason people like night shifts and hang onto them for dear life. They are often easier in terms of workload than days and you don't tend to have all the annoying distractions that day shift has. Also they are sometimes paid at a higher rate. Prepare for a fight.

Bigblug Mon 17-Apr-17 10:26:09

I haven't 'decided' they suit me, I need them to be able to work and have someone available to look after my children as I do so. Day shifts are much busier and more flexible, some people's shifts are set, others aren't. I'm on set days at the moment but they're going to change as my partner is starting a new job and starting university in September.

Tiptoethr0ughthetulips Mon 17-Apr-17 10:32:21

Put in your request, it's not unreasonable but I wouldn't hold your breath. Those shifts are essentially someone else's job, even if you are successful you're going to cause some bad feeling amongst the team. Tbh I'd start looking for another job that better suits your requirements.

TwentyCups Mon 17-Apr-17 10:35:52

You want someone else's regular hours to suit your childcare. You don't need them - there are many other options you can explore including getting another job.

AllTheWittyNamesAreGone Mon 17-Apr-17 10:37:51

You can request it but they don't have to let you.

BollardDodger Mon 17-Apr-17 10:39:59

You cannot expect other people to change their working arrangements because you 'need' to. Having a child does not trump other's reasons. Nothing wrong with asking or negotiating, though.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 17-Apr-17 10:40:20

It's unfair to expect other people to change hours they've done for years just to suit you. Your childcare issues are your problem not theirs. Childcare isn't the only reason people can have for wanting or needing particular shifts. If you can't do the job you have because of childcare then you need to find a job you can do.

RJnomore1 Mon 17-Apr-17 10:40:22

Put your request in and when they refuse ask for their business case. I can see a couple of potential areas to argue on.

What's the gender split like among workers who don't do night shifts?

5moreminutes Mon 17-Apr-17 10:46:20

Where I work night shifts are basically a different job - they are longer shifts for a start, ten hours instead of 8, so you do fewer per week, and you have to have the qualifications and experience as there is nobody to call on if you hit something that you can't handle or need help with...

Asking that someone be put into mixed days and nights so you can have two nights will mess up their body clock - staying on permanent nights is much more manageable than chopping and changing.

If I wanted nights I'd apply for a new job advertised specifically as permanent nights. That is probably what you should do - you can't insist on being given someone else's job, or part of it, because your availability has changed due to your dh's new schedule.

NotReallyMeToday Mon 17-Apr-17 10:48:10

I think it would be incredibly unfair to essentially take someone else's job because your childcare needs have changed. You don't know why they do those hours, but whatever their reasons the odds are that after many years they've built their life and routine around that schedule.

If I were your manager, I wouldn't disrupt their working life unless they had secretly been wanting to change working patterns and I think if for some reason that did happen and the night shift workers lost those hours, it would definitely cause resentment. How would you have felt if (prior to needing the night shifts) you were just told you had to take them because one of the night shift workers wanted a change? It's a massive adjustment of working patterns.

Sirzy Mon 17-Apr-17 10:50:39

Are they on permanent nights then? I can see why they wouldn't want to have to drop a shift or two to days then so someone else can have the nights. And actually would it be practical/possible for them to do it at all allowing for breaks between shifts etc?

5moreminutes Mon 17-Apr-17 10:50:40

The thing is you don't even need them because of child care directly, you need them because your DH is going to start uni and a new job. If you've juggled childcare up until now on days it weakens your argument further because you are actually asking that people change shifts in your workplace so you can accommodate your DH's plans.

FaintlyBaffled Mon 17-Apr-17 10:52:29

I am one of those with a permanent set of night shifts, in what is essentially a zero hours contract.
While I know that technically someone else could be given those shifts, in practice it's unlikely that my superiors will risk a set-up which benefits everyone involved and that could be potentially catastrophic if it went wrong.
As night shifts are notoriously hard to cover it makes sense for your bosses to stick with a tried and tested team rather than rock the boat (if they can help it)
The other thing to bear in mind is that night shifts are generally a small team. It's essential that you get on with your co-workers or the job becomes unbearable as there's fewer people to bounce off.
YANBU to ask, but I wouldn't be surprised if your employers were reluctant to make changes for all the reasons I mentioned flowers

TwentyCups Mon 17-Apr-17 10:52:44

5more is completely right - doing half the week nights half days messes up your body clock. You might be ok with that but the other worker might not be. I imagine the business reason given will be employee welfare by giving consistent and regular hours. Tired employees do not work as well.

FormerlyFrikadela01 Mon 17-Apr-17 10:55:38

The thing is you don't even need them because of child care directly, you need them because your DH is going to start uni and a new job. If you've juggled childcare up until now on days it weakens your argument further because you are actually asking that people change shifts in your workplace so you can accommodate your DH's plans.

Of course it's directly about childcare. Op has juggled childcare based on her family circumstances which are now changing.

Why on earth should it weaken her argument that it's related to her dh new work plans? Can you imagine of employer's answered flexible working requests with "no because this isn't related to you but our DP".

Bigblug Mon 17-Apr-17 10:58:19

Sorry, yeah you're right. It's not their concern. I'm already applying for other jobs in case this doesn't work but i really don't want to. I love my job, I think that's why I find the situation frustrating. Is no.one else able to work the nights until they retire? I work Sundays and was told that my flexible working request could be reviewed at any time if another member of staff requested it too and it would HAVE to share. But again everyone's Right, it's not fair of me to expect it, at all. Childcare is my problem only.

FormerlyFrikadela01 Mon 17-Apr-17 10:59:43

5more is completely right - doing half the week nights half days messes up your body clock. You might be ok with that but the other worker might not be. I imagine the business reason given will be employee welfare by giving consistent and regular hours. Tired employees do not work as well.

I do agree with this though. I wish the NHS had as much thought for its employees prepares self for 2 day shifts followed by 2 night shifts

itfcbabe Mon 17-Apr-17 11:02:04

I have just moved to permanent night shifts,and so much happier and better for me, 4 10 hour shifts instead of 5 8 hours and more relaxed as a smaller team,I wouldn't give it up for anyone. Sorry.

5moreminutes Mon 17-Apr-17 11:02:23

Formerly perhaps you know the legal ins and outs,in which case great. As a fellow employee though being told I had to change shifts (which would impact on my own childcare) so that a colleague's husband could change jobs would be far more upsetting than if it was the only way a newly single colleague could continue to work, or the only way a colleague could return from maternity leave rather than resign. It sounds as if the OP's colleagues are taking the hit so that her husband can please himself.

Itmustbemyage Mon 17-Apr-17 11:03:07

You can request a change and the company should consider your request but they are not obliged to grant your request. It is unreasonable to expect them to grant your request just because of your childcare issues.
It may be totally impractical to agree to your request, with a small team on night shift I guess one or both of these men work each night?
So if they were to give you two nights what would the other staff do? Agree to work less hours just so that you could get the hours you NEED or be expected to work some night shifts and some day shifts without adequate rest so how will that work then?.
Maybe these men just like working nights, maybe they first started doing so when they had child care responsibilities and have found it suits them. Also night shift workers often work a different work pattern, have additional training or experience so someone else may not be able to just slot in easily.
Just because they have what you want doesn't mean they have to give it to you.

RJnomore1 Mon 17-Apr-17 11:40:36

I'm dumbfounded by the negativity towards you op. You are perfectly entitled to make your working request and your employer has a legal duty to consider it. More info would help though: e.g. Is it the exact same role at night, could an extra person work nights too, and I asked about gender mix.

Just because those men are doing that role now does not necessarily give them the right to hog it. It depends on a lot of factors.

And of course you're entitled to ask your employer to help accommodate you if possible if your family situation changes. Which it has. Any responsible employer who valued your work would at least want to consider if they can help with what you need. Save on recruitment and training costs for a start.

It doesn't mean you will get it but ffs at people acting like you're being a diva by trying to make things work in a perfectly legal way.

FormerlyFrikadela01 Mon 17-Apr-17 11:49:37

It sounds as if the OP's colleagues are taking the hit so that her husband can please himself.

Or to please his family. Do you not make decisions as a family. My DP has put in a flexible working request to accommodate my return to work full time after maternity leave. I'm the higher earner so it makes sense. Should my dps manager refuse it since I'm "pleasing myself"?

The legalities are that you have a right to make a flexible working request for whatever reason and your employer has to consider it.

FormerlyFrikadela01 Mon 17-Apr-17 11:51:06

And actually they might not take a hit. We don't know own the ins and outs of the ops workplace. She hasn't even made the request yet.

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