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Time Off In Lieu

(11 Posts)
JustPassingThru Sun 30-Mar-14 10:19:49

I have a team of 3. I asked one of my team members (A) to support a new member of staff with a specific task which was new to her. The task involved doing some work for B - not part of our team. A then told me that as she had to work outside her usual hours, she had agreed with B to take those hours as TOIL, and asked me if she could go home early on a specific date. A does work extra time regularly (on an entirely voluntary basis - no TOIL involved) and I didn't want to be petty, so I agreed to the date she requested. She did say the date she's asked for was convenient (teenage DC's birthday) rather than critical. The date is next week.

Since then, one staff member has been signed off sick and the other has a hospital appointment that afternoon. If A goes home early, it will leave me dealing with callers and other interruptions etc while trying to complete a time-critical project.

I am hoping she will realise the situation and offer to delay it: any other day would suit me but obviously she can't change the date of her DC's birthday. Can I insist that she takes her TOIL another time or should I honour the agreement? HR policy is silent.

Chocotrekkie Sun 30-Mar-14 10:25:07

I would ask her nicely explaining the situation.

The policy on toil at my place would mean that it would be cancelled.

Might be worth asking hr to tighten up the policy in case it happens again.

flowery Sun 30-Mar-14 11:03:38

If there is no policy to the contrary, then you can specify that she takes it another time, however I would honour it if at all possible.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 30-Mar-14 11:09:06

I think it would be above and beyond to expect her to change it without prompting!

Is there a compromise - could she stay on one more hour, perhaps? Could someone else cover the phones as a one off?

BrownSauceSandwich Sun 30-Mar-14 11:17:30

Agree with choco that you should explain the situation and ask her nicely, but I think if she digs her heels, and if there's any way at all you can manage on your own that afternoon, then you'd be wise to do so. Sounds like the company gets good value out of her, and if you start being inflexible with her, she might decide to be less flexible herself. But I would recommend that HR reviews their policy on TOIL, annual leave and (if relevant) flexi leave, so you aren't having to work this out for yourself in future.

fascicle Sun 30-Mar-14 12:05:31

Would a few hours really interfere with your time critical project? (i.e. couldn't you ensure your project was on track/finished by then?).

Great if your team member is happy to swap, but don't expect her to be a mind reader. If at all possible, I would be inclined to let her have the time off, since her request came before it was known that other team members would not be available; she often works additional hours without extra reward/TOIL; she wants the time off for a family occasion (good for employers to support work/life balance, the importance of family etc).

Presumably there might be other options - somebody from another department to take calls/field enquiries? (Does B have a team member who could help?). How crucial is your other team member's hospital appointment? These things can be moved (providing it's nothing urgent/serious).

JustPassingThru Sun 30-Mar-14 15:39:34

Thanks, all, lots of food for thought! And you've all asked me questions I've already asked myself, but haven't managed to answer yet, hence my post.

The time-critical project has involved the whole team but I'm leading it, so it's my responsibility to make sure it is completed on time, whatever that takes; B does not have any team members to offer; the hospital appointment is crucial and in any case A would be more use at this stage than that person (A has a wider skill set/greater expertise).

She has always been flexible, which I value. I have always allowed team members some flexibility for family matters where I can, but so far there has always been adequate cover for whatever we were doing. I am wary of creating an expectation that she can take time off for family matters by working up a few extra hours in advance. It's not a flexi-time environment.

I think I'll mention it at our weekly planning meeting on Monday and see how she responds; if she doesn't volunteer to reduce or change it then I'll try to plan for her to be able to take it, but ultimately it will be down to the status of the project. I don't really want to have to cancel it but as a manager I do need to ensure the work is done!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 30-Mar-14 15:52:53

". I am wary of creating an expectation that she can take time off for family matters by working up a few extra hours in advance. It's not a flexi-time environment."

It doesn't sound like this is the case generally though, just in this particular case. It wouldn't surprise me if she'd've booked the afternoon off if she hadn't got TOIL.

Do you have the right to cancel holiday if work is too pressing? If so that's a good precedent.

Might be worth asking B not to agree things with your line reports without your say so as well!

If she has to move it, can you sweeten it by rounding up the TOIL to a half day or day to be taken later?

flowery Sun 30-Mar-14 16:46:24

I really can't see that honouring TOIL already arranged will set up any kind of expectation that she will be able to take time of for family matters whenever she likes.

BackforGood Sun 30-Mar-14 16:55:49

I think you have to let her have it. Whether you judge it to be important or not isn't relevant here, she asked, in advance, if it was OK to take that afternoon off, and it was agreed. The fact that other things have come up since isn't really her responsibility.
As others have said, at least you know you are going to be short handed on that day, so can ask everyone involved in the project if they might bring the deadline forward to the day before, where they can, to help you out. Ultimately you'd have to cope if someone were off sick or had an accident or something, at least at the moment, you actually have a few days notice to try to get ahead of yourselves.

EBearhug Sun 30-Mar-14 17:25:08

With us, TOIL requests are usually honoured, but it is usually on a basis of, "As long as we have enough cover." So, if someone else requested leave then, it probably would get rejected, but if they had a medical appointment, then the TOIL would get moved. In reality, it's very rarely been an issue, only about once or twice in 5 years. If it's really important that you are home for a family birthday, you'd be expected to book the day as leave, as that will get priority over TOIL, though there's also an element of first come/first served - but then people shouldn't be building up much TOIL - they're meant to take it within a month or two of earning it, I think (don't have guidelines to hand.) I could book AL in November now, but I can't book TOIL then, because we can't know I will have worked it. I'd rather people booked leave for family birthdays, and then cancel it nearer the time, if they decided they weren't going to use it.

I would ask her nicely, but perhaps 1-2-1 rather than in the middle of a meeting, which would be putting her on the spot. (Actually, it's not clear to me if your planning meeting is just the two of you, or everyone.)

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