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Can my boss change me from PT hours to job share without my agreement? Blueskythinker's continuing saga

(22 Posts)
blueskythinker Wed 24-Sep-08 20:50:10

I have posted about this a couple of times before. here Basically, after I returned from maternity leave, I went PT. I manage a very small unit developing policy in the public sector. It was going well, until a couple of months ago my boss reduced my staffing levels, creating difficulties for my unit.

My boss spoke to me a couple of weeks ago. He has proposed bringing another person of the same grade as me into the unit (also on a part-time basis).

I'm not happy about this, as I feel that there is massive potential for conflict / tension, and that this is a way for him to squeeze me out of my job. I think it will create ambiguity as to who is actually managing the unit. He has not raised any problems with me in terms of my performance or management of the unit, however I am pretty convinced he is pissed off because I have stated several projects will be delayed as a result of the previous staff cuts.

My question to the experts out there, is can my boss change my working conditions to change me from pt to job share without my agreement?

mylittlemonsters Wed 24-Sep-08 22:11:09

No he can't, but the way you have written it does not sound like he is presenting it as a job share.

MARGOsBeenPlayingWithMyNooNoo Wed 24-Sep-08 22:19:13

He's still at it? Poor you.

Please forgive me if I sound just like him but are you able to manage the department on reduced hours?

If it is with your capabilites to actually manage the team then I think it's unfair to bring someone in at the same level as you.

If your problem is manpower and tasks not being completed then your boss should be trying to resource workers at the lower level.

(I'm not speaking from a professional point of view though)

Are you still working long hours?

blueskythinker Wed 24-Sep-08 22:41:12

Margo,
I have made a decision to stop the long hours, and reiterate at every appropriate opportunity that because of staffing cuts, expectations will need to be managed. Having said that, there has been no project or piece of work which has not been delivered on time and to agreed standards. My boss has been trying to foist more work projects on the unit, and I have been firm in saying that we are focusing on the priorities specified in our Dept plan and that we will not be taking more work on until these pieces of work have been completed.

In terms of your question - can I manage on reduced hours? There is no doubt it is challenging, however this is where my (only) full-time member of staff came into play - I specified work to be done at the start of the week, and when I came in on Friday, it would be done. This is not the case now she has been replaced with a PT staff member. There is no continuity throughout the week.

I am also flexible in terms of attending meetings on my days off - there has been no occasion where I have been required to go to meeting which I haven't attended.

Could anyone comment on my draft e-mail to him? [to follow]

mylittlemonsters Wed 24-Sep-08 22:42:50

Sure - but can you clarify if he is saying it is half of your role this new individual is doing?

blueskythinker Wed 24-Sep-08 22:48:25

Thank you for discussing the staffing arrangements for Blueskythinker's policy unit with me on 29/08/08.

There is no doubt that the policy unit is currently under-resourced following your decision to move [fab FT person] and replace her with a part-time EO2. Until then, the staffing arrangements were working smoothly.

My view on the resourcing requirements of the Unit is:

1 PT Blueskythinker grade
1 FT EO2 (suitably experienced / qualified)
1 PT [other grade]

There is also a continuing and pressing need for admin support within the unit, (1 day per week) which, as you know, I have raised on numerous occasions. (15/4/08, 1/7/08, 25/7/08, 11/08/08, 29/08/08)

This combination of staff would be consistent with the findings of the Continuous Improvement Unit report, and provides a cost effective option. It will also enable the Unit to meet objectives.

I am keen to see some stability within the Unit, given the amount of time and effort it takes to train an individual for the role. In the last 9 months I have trained both XXXXX and YYYYYY, only to lose them from the Unit, and I am currently having to train ZZZZZZ. Continually having to train new (and inexperienced) members of staff is a drain on resources. Additionally new staff members are not able to fully contribute to the work of the Unit for several months.

I have had an opportunity to consider your suggestion of an additional part-time [Blueskythinker grade] policy unit, which we discussed on 29/08/08. At the time, I expressed my concerns that this would create uncertainty, confusion over roles and responsibilities, and the potential for conflict / tension. I am still of this opinion.

I had previously highlighted the requirement for a full-time member of staff within the Unit to provide continuity throughout the week during our meeting of 11/08/08. The proposal for a further part-time [BST grade] will not, in my opinion, resolve this issue.

I think it is also important to note that converting my post from part-time hours to job share would constitute a significant change to my contract, which I am not currently willing to consider.

I am happy to discuss on Friday,

Many thanks,

Blueskythinker

mylittlemonsters Wed 24-Sep-08 22:53:52

Cheeky beggar - he is proposing a complete change in your contract shock

blueskythinker Wed 24-Sep-08 22:59:43

Sorry cross post mylittlemonsters (internet has gremlins tonight).

The simple answer is yes, it would be half my role. I am a managerial grade, and my unit is very small (even more so now!) There would be issues as to who the lead person would be, and I think my boss would exploit this - he has already tried to give work and responsibilities directly to my subordinates.

mylittlemonsters Wed 24-Sep-08 23:25:52

I have edited <<but please feel free to ignore>>

I have taken the stance that the outcome you want is a clear indication that his actions have led to the current situation and he (if he reads between lines) is looking at constructive dismissal.

It may be the wrong message or outcome for you??

Thank you for discussing the staffing arrangements for Blueskythinker's policy unit with me on 29/08/08.

In the meeting we discussed the recent changes you initiated and your proposed changes for the unit going forward.

I would like to take this opportunity to summarise the conversation and having considered your proposals make clear my position.

We are in agreement that following the reduction in resources initiated by you, namely removal of a senior full time resource and subsequent replacement with a junior part time resource, the policy unit is now under-resourced versus the workload.

Although, as you say we continue to deliver a polished and timely delivery of projects and work we need to focus our efforts and resources on the Department plan rather than work peripheral to this.

I would like to confirm my reccomendation for future resourcing given the additional workload and output requirements, as follows:

1 PT Blueskythinker grade
1 FT EO2 (suitably experienced / qualified)
1 PT [other grade]
0.2 PT admin grade

I had previously highlighted the requirement for a full-time member of staff within the Unit to provide continuity during our meeting of 11/08/08.

As discussed the last role is required to ensure the smooth administrative running of the policy unit, which we first discussed and agreed in April 2008.

This combination of resource would be consistent with the findings of the Continuous Improvement Unit report, and provides a cost effective option. It will also enable the Unit to meet objectives.

As you are aware it takes a considerable amount of time to train individuals and we require stability and appropriate resourcing to enable us to reduce turnover and time lost in training new members of staff.

I have had an opportunity to consider your proposal to provide an additional part-time [Blueskythinker grade] policy unit.

I can understand that you see this as a viable option given that you removed the full time long standing member of the team to replace them with a more junior part time team member.

However I am now clear that this is an inappropriate resourcing model. Internal customers will be unclear on roles and responsibilities. The policy unit team will have unclear reporting relationships. Additionally, I would personally find this structure confusing and demotivating.

Finally, the proposal to create a job share is wholly unacceptable to me and one that having considered I am unwilling to accept. Your proposal constitues a unilateral change to my contract and would make my position untenable.

I am happy to continue the discussion on Friday,

Many thanks,

Blueskythinker

mylittlemonsters Wed 24-Sep-08 23:27:03

I'd condense it into para's too (couldn't see what it looked like till I posted.

blueskythinker Wed 24-Sep-08 23:34:05

Wow! Thanks for that.

flowerybeanbag Thu 25-Sep-08 09:00:45

I have to say it doesn't sound like a job share. It sounds like he is creating an additional post. If your role is currently done part time, adding in an additional person isn't a job share imo.

Having said that it doesn't mean it's at all acceptable what he's doing, and certainly all the other issues probably do apply.

I would remove the last sentence from mylittlemonster's draft. At this present time unless this will result in responsibilities being taken away from you, its not a unilateral change to your t&cs imo, as that is not being proposed as yet if I understand correctly. What's happening in terms of responsibilities is yet to be clarified.

Yes there is potential for conflict and tension and if he is now prepared to fund additional resource your input as manager into what that resource should be is of course vital. But just because you feel the exact nature of this resource is inappropriate doesn't necessarily mean at this point that your t&cs are being changed.

Everything else applies and sounds very valid but I think claiming it's making your position untenable before it's even happened, and when it's additional resource which you have consistently asked for, albeit not in this form, is taking it a bit too far, and saying you object to a job share when he hasn't proposed a job share takes credibility away from your very strong other arguments imo.

blueskythinker Thu 25-Sep-08 09:22:21

Thanks for your comments flowery, must say when I was reading my draft this morning I was concerned that I was leaving little wriggle room.

I do think he is trying to edge me out of the role, and putting in another 'me' is the first step.

flowerybeanbag Thu 25-Sep-08 09:29:33

You may well be right. But that's your (quite possibly correct) personal perception of his ultimate goal, it's not a reasonable objective assumption to make from the facts as they are at the moment.

You have to respond taking everything at face value, not project nasty motives and anticipate future actions, otherwise he can easily say that he was innocently trying to help and had no intention of blah blah blah.

blueskythinker Thu 25-Sep-08 09:41:01

OK, what about this?

Thank you for discussing the staffing arrangements for BST's policy unit with me on 29/08/08. There is no doubt that the policy unit is currently under-resourced following your decision to move XXX and replace her with a part-time EO2. Until then, the staffing arrangements were working smoothly.

My view on the resourcing requirements of the Unit is:

0.5 BST grade
1 EO2 (suitably experienced / qualified)
0.5 Below BST grade(again, suitably qualified / experienced)

There is also a continuing and pressing need for admin support within the unit, (1 day per week) which, as you know, I have raised on numerous occasions. (15/4/08, 1/7/08, 25/7/08, 11/08/08, 29/08/08). This combination of staff would be consistent with the findings of the Continuous Improvement Unit report, and provides a cost effective option. It will also enable the Unit to meet objectives. I have previously highlighted the requirement for a full-time member of staff within the Unit to provide continuity throughout the week during our meeting of 11/08/08, and the above proposal would meet this need.

I have had an opportunity to consider your suggestion of an additional part-time BST for the policy unit, which we discussed on 29/08/08. At the time, I expressed my concerns that this would create uncertainty, confusion over roles and responsibilities, and the potential for conflict / tension. Whilst I am happy that you are willing to fund additional resources, having had an opportunity to consider your proposals, I am still of the same opinion. Internal customers will be unclear on roles and responsibilities and the policy unit team will have unclear reporting relationships.

I am keen to see some stability within the Unit, given the amount of time and effort it takes to train an individual for the role. In the last 9 months I have trained both X and Y, only to lose them from the Unit, and I am currently having to train Z. Continually having to train new (and inexperienced) members of staff is a drain on resources. Additionally new staff members are not able to fully contribute to the work of the Unit for several months. It is for this reason that I think we need to ensure we get the staffing arrangements ‘right first time’.

I am happy to continue this discussion on Friday.

Many thanks,
BST

flowerybeanbag Thu 25-Sep-08 09:48:20

That's fantastic.

Basically you're gearing up for the likelihood you might need to take this further at some point. Crucial therefore that you are able to demonstrate your reasonable-ness and willingness to cooperate at all times.

That's an excellent response, makes clear your concerns, gives your opinion about the best way forward, and also clarifies exactly what you feel the problems might be.

blueskythinker Thu 25-Sep-08 12:39:15

Flowery, I don't know if it is said often enough, but I think it is fantastic that you take the time to offer your (always level headed and insightful) advice to MNers. Reading the boards, it is clear there is a lot of work to be done in educating employers about the benefits of pt, flexible working (or in fact, just women employees in general).

Thank you.

flowerybeanbag Thu 25-Sep-08 13:22:36

mylittlemonsters Thu 25-Sep-08 20:43:27

Did you get a response?

Ps just be careful about the training and losing staff members it can be seen a number of ways. Either you are doing a great job developing people or you as the line manager are increasing turnover.

blueskythinker Thu 25-Sep-08 21:03:18

I haven't got a response yet, but I e-mailed from home today and am in work tomorrow, so I will see my boss then.

In terms of losing staff, both have been taken away from my unit and redeployed, against both mine and the 2 individual's wishes. Everyone in the dept feels frustrated. Basically my boss hasn't a clue, but it doesn't excuse his behaviour.

RuthT Fri 26-Sep-08 13:12:56

It is extreemly frustrating when your manager is thoughtless! This situation sounds pressurised.

How long has it been going on?

blueskythinker Fri 26-Sep-08 20:54:38

It started at the beginning of July.

I spoke with my boss today; it went ok, but of course, I didn't get what I need. I do have a little more understanding of his position though, and I think he understands mine better.

Doing bed-time - will post details later.

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