Declining meetings due to lack of childcare(10 Posts)
Hello I'd really appreciate some views on this please.
I work part time (3 days), my daughter goes to a childminder 8-6, we've no family that can step in to help with c/care. My boss knows this and said he'd endeavour to accommodate this on my return after maternity leave which was 16 months ago.
This said, I am frequently asked to attend meetings that involve either a long drive (say 300 mile round trip) or an early start that mean I either have to increase my childminder hours a bit (ie drop her of half an hour early to avoid the school rush) or my husband has to arrive at work late / leave early to do the childminder run at the usual time. This probably happens once a week. It's annoying and costs us in additional c/m costs and/ or taxi for husband to get to the station to be able to still get to work at a reasonable time.
Pre my daughter I worked silly long hours so perhaps there is a legacy of expectation. I am not particularly career orientated so it's not about getting on but equally I do not want to be side lined or be the first name that springs to mind if redundancies needed to be made for example.
Next week I've been asked to go to a meeting that is 3 hours from home. It is a 9-5 meeting so I planned to drive up on the previous evening (after I've collected my daughter and my husband is home) and stay in a hotel as it's an important external meetings and I can't risk the traffic and being late. Husband will drop and collect daughter to c/minders as I won't be home until after 8pm. Husband isn't too happy about this but doing it, generally he'll do drop off or pick up, not both in the same day. He works in the City and whilst it's not overtly frowned on he can't keep arriving late/leaving early. I have now been asked to attend a pre meeting the previous day in the same place ie 3 hours from home, 9-5 again which would mean husband covering 2 days of both drop off/pick up and two nights in a hotel for me, ie travelling up on the evening on the day before day 1, staying overnight on day 1 and getting home late after day 2.
His view is work are being unreasonable, irrespective of childcare to expect 2 days of 9-5 attendance with a round trip of 6 hours or a hotel stay. Pre child I'd have done it without question and I feel awkward citing lack of childcare as a reason for not attending. I'm trying to find a way to do it but then I'm resenting work for putting me in this position.
Views please on is it reasonable?
Is it a necessary part of your job? Did your job always involve this? If so then no, of course it's not unreasonable. They're paying you to do your job.
I need to point out that if you and your DH both want you both to work then the childcare issues are a shared problem - he could reduce his days/hours to part time to make life easier?
It's hard to say whether it's reasonable or not without knowing more details of your job.
I have to work away a lot and essentially be wherever the company or my clients need me between Monday and Friday, that's just the expectation of the job. On the flip side when I'm not in meetings I am home based so can be flexible in other ways but can only say no to meetings/travel in exceptional circumstances.
My contract and job description both make this clear though, does yours?
It is so difficult though and puts a lot of pressure on DH so I feel your pain.
So typically all the childminders drop offs and collections are on you?
I think DH is being a little unreasonable. But then, I told DH when his work moved to a 7.30 start (previously 8) he needed to make it very clear to HR that there would be times he couldn't get to work on time due to needing to drop kids at childcare - I did a week away, maybe a couple of times a year, and no childcare started before 7.30.tbf, it was very tight for an 8am start, but possible. It sounds like DH has a long commute. Is work flexible enough to let him work 2 short days, and make it up the rest of the time? He isnt likely to need a full week of short days. For my old job's responsibilities, DH IBU. If your earning minimum wage stacking shelves (and it sounds like you aren't), work IBU.
It sounds like the extra taxi or CM needs to be factored into the childcare costs if it's happening regularly. As a manager, I would be less than impressed if everything outside 830/9 to 5/5.30 was rejected outright. There are 2 parents, and only one is restricted by childcare. I would, however, have sympathy with a parent who occasionally couldn't make something.
It very much depends on your industry. In my area if we have people travelling from offices in other cities we will start meetings at 10 or 11.
In dh's industry meetings start at 9 or earlier whether in London, Manchester, Dublin or elsewhere. I think that's daft but it's the culture.
I'm contracted to do 21 hours a week, location 'such place as the company may reasonably expect it to be.' So my issue is with the regular 6 hour travel time wrapped around my usual 9-5. Part time for husband or an au pair isn't an option financially. I went back after maternity leave to a slightly different role that didn't have direct face to face client involvement so as to avoid the travel issue - which was work's suggestion so as to be able to work locally /at home. I suppose I feel they are slowly shifting the goalposts.
Were your discussions with work backed up in writing or was it a verbal suggestion? I'm not an expert on the contractual or legal side of things by any means but it does sound as if what they are asking you to do is in line with your contract. It does sound as if they are shifting the goalposts, it could be worth getting proper advice on whether or not they can do this.
Why on earth aren't they letting you use conference calls/Skype more etc?
Do you feel that they want you to leave and are making life difficult?
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