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Can my employer insist... ?

(35 Posts)
CalvinHobbesMum Tue 30-Jul-13 18:29:11

First I have NameChanged for this. Second, I will change some details, but hopefully it will still make sense.

I have worked at xxx for nearly 7 years. I work part-time 5 days a week. My manager wants me to change to full-time 3 days a week (still the same number of hours). The reason is we have a colleague who is on long-term sick, probably for another 6 months, we have to shuffle various people around to spread the load and he thinks this is the best way to do it.

I don't want to. Maybe I should have just said 'No' after all its none of his business what my reasons were. But stupidly I told him why I didn't want to (childcare) and he is really pushing me to re-arrange my hours.

Incidentally, there is someone else who could do what he wants more conveniently instead of me - I can't give details without outing myself -but I would feel awkward pointing that out, without making it seem like I'm being difficult and unco-operative.

He has said that after kids are 5 years old, the employer no longer has to be 'flexible' with work cover hmm This sounds like nonsense to me! (and anyway I'm not asking them to be flexible - I'm just trying to continue with my current agreed hours).

I really don't want to seem unhelpful but my boss has said he "insists" we talk about it again next week. So my question is, can he 'insist' ? DH says to just tell them 'No' ... but how to do that without everyone then thinking I'm not a 'team player' ???

To anyone who managed to wade through all of that - thank you.

CalvinHobbesMum Mon 05-Aug-13 14:05:25

For me, personally I would prefer sticking to my current days - but I don't mind changing too much if it helps out the boss.

If I was 100% confident about making the right decision, I would tell parents/in-laws without worrying. But at the moment I'm just not sure. An after school club would bring a different set of issues, because I still wouldn't be back in time to pick them up - and then they'd have to get home in the dark.

What I want is to keep everybody happy, which makes my life easier! Oh damn, I've just had another thought - the dog. Why is life so complicated.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 05-Aug-13 12:12:48

Calvin, okay, but you still haven't told me what YOU want. I mean, for your own life. Totally selfishly. Let's assume that the boys will be fine either way, that your DH will step up when required to, etc. What do you want to be doing with your days?

SoWorriedPleaseHelp Mon 05-Aug-13 11:00:01

As much as you don't want to rely on friends etc, is there another parent whose children are at the same school that you could "double up" with?

Or a college student/6th former that would come and sit in the house with them just for "pocket" money?

CalvinHobbesMum Mon 05-Aug-13 10:45:13

Sorry, that confused was to flowery

Tortoise I'm glad you noticed that - I do feel they are bit young (again August born, immature etc) but I also want to keep everybody happy. What have the in-laws got to do with it, oh just pressure to do the right thing - whatever that is.

soworried Yes I'm talking about senior school, and I'm sure there are after-school clubs but I've looked on their website and can't see anything yet. That would be ideal.

Thanks everyone for suggestions and advice.

SoWorriedPleaseHelp Mon 05-Aug-13 07:44:38

"over him" = offer him hmm

SoWorriedPleaseHelp Mon 05-Aug-13 07:43:22

sorry if I missed this part - but are your children in senior school?

I can understand your concerns about leaving them alone as this is a possibility that we are going to have to consider next year when DS1 goes to senior school and formal after school childcare stops. DS1 is August born and so young for the academic year and also autistic.

We looked at senior schools a year early to gage what they can over him and it is apparent that even though there are not formal childcare facilities there are a vast amount of after school clubs that he could attend for free. Is this a possibility for your children?

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 05-Aug-13 06:25:20

Calvin, there is absolutely nothing in this thread about what you want.

What do YOU want?

Three full days would mean that you have two days at home (during school hours) to pursue your own interests. Personally that sounds ideal to me - with children as old as yours, I'd much prefer that. But maybe it's important to you to have those hours supervising homework and shuttling them to classes, is it? I mean, for your own sake, do you enjoy that time with them?

Would you actually like to have a career again? You say that you've accepted that yours will never be much of a priority...but again, your kids are 10 and 12, so if you wanted to go proper fulltime, you can if you want. Maybe these three full days would be a good starting point for that?

What do YOU want? Not your in-laws, not your husband, not all the people who think it's 1950 and you're working for pin money. You. What do you want?

Snog Mon 05-Aug-13 06:12:55

i think if there is a business need then effectively your employer can insist.
the boys are growing up though and could handle more independence
it might be nice for you to have 2 free days?

CalvinHobbesMum Sun 04-Aug-13 22:27:21

I don't know... confused

flowery Sun 04-Aug-13 21:43:41

What have your in laws got to do with it and why do you need to be concerned about keeping them happy? confused

Waswondering Sun 04-Aug-13 21:21:43

Nothing to add ... But why is it better for you to do 3 full days? If you stay as 5 part days then you are still in every day of the week and able to deal with things on a day to day basis ....

I realise that's not a solution!

CalvinHobbesMum Sun 04-Aug-13 21:16:02

Update: we went to in-laws for Sunday lunch and got to talking about school. Everyone was saying how convenient the new school hours are because I could still pick up the boys after work. Then when I mentioned that they would need shoes which are sturdy, they looked puzzled and said well, they're not going to be walking far...

clearly everyone expects me to chauffeur them about (I didn't want to get into a row about whether they are too young so said nothing about possible changes at work) it's so hard to try and keep everyone happy! sad

Wereonourway Fri 02-Aug-13 11:45:02

This happened to me. I was working 3 days(24 hrs) and employer insisted I went full time to 40 hours. I just couldn't do it.

I took advice from Acas who advised that if my employer could demonstrate a business need for me to change then all they had to do was give me notice to change. Employer could have made alternate arrangements but of course they don't have to.

They more or less said my part time role was redundant. I ended up working my notice. I loved my job and miss it but employers were a nightmare. Sadly they acted well within the law so I had no option but to find alternate job with part time hours.

Hope it works out, maybe try to reach a compromise and it might not get to the point mine did, although my employer refused all compromise suggestions

Good luck

ernesttheBavarian Fri 02-Aug-13 11:34:19

apart from the couple of hours kids issue, maybe working over 3 days instead of 5 might actually be better? It means you have 2 totally clear days per week. Maybe it would actually work out well.

CalvinHobbesMum Fri 02-Aug-13 11:12:26

I think you've hit it on the head, we have been happy with the way childcare is shared between DH and I up til now, but yeah basically (unless its an emergency) it is down to me. And that has been okay, its what we agreed (I accepted that my career was never going to be as much a priority as his)

But now... although I kind of agree with DH that kids are still a bit young for this - I also think he has another ulterior motive behind wanting me to tell manager 'No' - which is that he may end up having to cover more emergency care.

I am sort-of coming round to the idea, with all the ideas and suggestions from you guys. This summer we are giving the boys more freedom/responsibilities so the next few weeks are going to be interesting.

Thank you so much for all your replies. It has really helped to see things from different points of view.

Numberlock Fri 02-Aug-13 08:03:50

DH works full time. don't get me started on that.

mikkii Going off what the OP has said, there's some dissatisfaction with the "family arrangements".

It may well not be possible for her husband to change his hours but has he even asked or discussed it? Going off Calvin's response, I guess not. And remember this is only a temporary situation.

Reading between the lines, I imagine that this is part of her frustration.

mikkii Thu 01-Aug-13 22:00:58

Numberlock, if the family arrangements are that Calvin works part time to cover after school, and her employer wants to change her hours to cover sick leave, it may not be financially viable for her husband to alter his working hours to accommodate this. Also this would require the co-operation of his employer.

I believe that now all parents with children under 16 are entitled to request flexible working, but the requests do not have to be met.

My DH works shifts, he already does 2 school collections each week, his employer would not agree to a regular change to his working hours to do more, although on an ad hoc basis they will consider requests. So, for the school holidays he is not working Friday day time shifts, only evenings, and I leave earlier to get home for him to go to work (it's complicated along kids!)

Numberlock Thu 01-Aug-13 21:50:12

That's why I asked if you had a partner as you sound like a single parent from your posts. What is your husband prepared to do with regards to the childcare situation? Or is that your job?

pointythings Thu 01-Aug-13 21:36:12

OP, I think you have to assess how sensible your DCs are in terms of having them spend 2 hours by themselves. Then you have to weight that against 1) your place in the team and how you are going to get on with them if your manager makes you out to be the unhelpful one - which he might. sad and 2) the trade-off you get of two work-free days during which you can devote more time and energy to your DCs. It's a decision only you can make. You certainly should not be forced into anything.

FWIW my DDs have thrived on having independence. They do have to spread their wings some time.

CalvinHobbesMum Thu 01-Aug-13 21:30:44

Gosh I'm so confused - I don't know what to do for the best!

Numberlock sorry if I was defensive, I'm just trying to figure out the right thing to do. I certainly haven't ruled it out & am trying to find a solution that suits everyone confused

DH works full time. don't get me started on that. It's the way it is...

pointythings Thu 01-Aug-13 20:03:38

Mine are 10 and 12 and they spend a total of about 2 hours each working day at home by themselves. They get their own breakfast, finish off their lunches and take themselves off to school. Really, your DCs are old enough to manage this so I don't think the childcare argument holds water - you could do this if you wanted to.

However, if your job has always been shorter hours 5 days a week then that can't be changed without your consent. It's ultimately about what you want out of your job, and accepting the consequences of acting on that.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 01-Aug-13 18:08:10

I feel for your OP. I have found previously as a part-timer that employers tend to think you are able to chop and change when generally one is part-time for a reason etc.

Can you really not raise the issue of the other person helping out too? You never know why the manager has approached you, may not thought of colleague x etc?

Assuming that doesn't work and you do decide to help out. Could you then "counter offer" with staying longer on 1 or 2 days? But if having your children in clubs/looked after (which I think is reasonable) is important suggest that covering that cost is part of the deal. Asking you to change hours for their convenience is one thing, being out of pocket for it is another IMO.

I am no HR expert (flowery is) but I'd make sure that you get it in all in writing. The sick colleague might not return (am guessing) and the co might get used to you doing the new pattern of work etc.

Or as others have said, just give your apologies and say no, unfortunately not at this point.

I am guessing that having you/colleague x isn't the only solution to covering the sick colleague. Without internal options the company could in theory get a temp etc?

Numberlock Thu 01-Aug-13 17:25:09

Occasionally work does have to come first although that's not what I said, it just seemed like you weren't even prepared to consider the request.

Do you have a partner?

CalvinHobbesMum Thu 01-Aug-13 14:04:04

I didn't say I wouldn't consider it, I've said I would think it over but at least for the next year until kids are slightly more mature I didn't think it would be possible. I will also be looking in to after school clubs etc.

I am happy to attend meetings, and can arrange one-off care in emergencies.

I feel like I'm being pulled in all directions. Clearly my manager, like numberlock thinks my work comes first. Meanwhile, my family think it would be neglect to leave the kids alone so much.

Whatever I decide somebody won't be happy! (and I'll get the blame for whichever choice angry )

Numberlock Thu 01-Aug-13 06:43:19

I thought you were going to say your kids were toddlers...

As a manager, your refusal to even consider my request or discuss it because you 'don't want to' wouldn't go down well but if you're adamant, stick to your guns.

And hope you don't need anything from your boss in the future.

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