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Application for compressed hours rejected, my employer expects me to do 5 days work in 4 days and take a 20% cut in pay

(10 Posts)
Cokie Wed 29-Jul-09 20:24:47

Is anyone able to offer any advice on this? In order to maintain my salary when I return from maternity leave in a couple of months time I was willing to cram 5 days work into 4 days by working longer hours, making myself available for calls on the 5th day and working in the evenings

My boss rejected this and said it would not be perceived well by the team as they would still really see me as doing 4 days work and not 5.

He knows that I am a hard worker and he said I could return on a 4 day p/week basis but with a 20% reduction in salary. I (in a roundabout way) asked what they would do to reduce my workload by 20% and his response was that the company is struggling at the moment and everyone is working at 120% at the moment and working long hours and although he did not say it I know he has no intention of reducing my workload.

I am pleased to be granted my 4 days (I really did not want to return to work 5 days) but I feel very abused that I have to take a pay cut but with no reduction in work load. Should I just shut up and do what I can or should I take it further Any advise please?? Thanks in advance.

trixymalixy Wed 29-Jul-09 20:35:45

If it is the kind of job where everyone ends up doing unpaid long hours anyway then I can kind of see his point, that it would appear to others that you are doing 80% of the work they are doing while getting the same pay.

Compressed hours only really works if you do set hours or are paid by the hour.

Unfortunately it does seem to be the case that part time workers in certain industries are expected to do a full time job. I certainly was pretty much doing a full time job in 3 days when i was part time. It was worth it though for the days off and retaining my status, i just had to learn to delegate and work more efficiently.

Sorry that was probably not what you wanted to hear.

Rhian82 Wed 29-Jul-09 20:46:47

I had my application for compressed hours rejected for similar reasons - I'm in an industry where people often do come in early and leave late (though not every day, just around deadlines) and they said where they'd granted it in the past it had caused ill feeling in teams and complaints to HR.

I was lucky in the end in that I got part-time hours as a job share - not sure what advice to offer really

WantThisWantThat Wed 29-Jul-09 20:58:47

I do a 4 day week with reduced salary and do realise, especially in today's economy, that I probably do more than this through working at home, etc. But then again so do most FT people in my company as well.

There are a number of people who do do compressed hours but it doesn't sit comfortably with me, especially when I am penalised in other ways, holidays and bonuses etc.

I suppose there is a perception that you are still getting one day off more than most people even when working longer days.

rookiemater Wed 29-Jul-09 21:49:36

I work 4 days a week and its always a toughie. Realistically your objectives aren't going to be reduced by 20 % so you have the option of doing the best job you can in the time you have, or trying to do everything which results in putting in extra hours.

TBH I can see why they have rejected your proposal. If in the office people are routinely working additional hours, then it wouldn't make sense for them to agree to a working arrangement where you would be doing less than the perceived norm for the same money. It would also be extremely hard on you as those longer days would be hard going.

If you are unsure about the 4 day thing then maybe you could trial it. If you feel that you are expected to put in the workload of a full timer then go back to full time if thats what you want to do, but it is nice being able to spend that extra day with your DC and by taking the salary hit, I never feel that I have to take work calls or check my emails ( unless of course its mega important)

Hope it works out.

lucysmum Wed 29-Jul-09 21:55:12

I did a 4 day week in a professional environment where nobody got overtime payments other than support staff and it was the norm to do the hours needed to get the job done including evenings, nights, weekends. It is not fair to let people have an official day off and pay them full salary in that sort of environment imo. In theory I had a reduced client load but that didn't stop things coming up on my day off and I did have to be flexible. I kept to was 4 days salary for what was in reality a full time job becuase I then felt it was OK to go to school functions, come in late sometimes, not do do much entertaining/marketing, even if I didn't always get one day a week off.

blueshoes Wed 29-Jul-09 22:14:48

Cokie, is everyone in the company working at 120%? You could informally check with your colleagues how things are.

In today's climate, many companies are making do on reduced staff and working their existing employees harder. People are putting up with it to keep their jobs. You have been out of it due to maternity leave but if you ask others not just in your company but in other companies as well, you may well find the employment climate has changed quite dramatically.

If so, working 100% (rather than 120%) over 4 days, may not be far off from what your colleagues are already having to do.

flowerybeanbag Thu 30-Jul-09 09:30:23

I have to agree with everyone else about the compressed hours. It can work well, but usually when most people do actually work their contracted hours. If contracted hours are 9-5, 5 days a week with an unpaid hour for lunch everyday, ie 35 hours, compressing that into 4 days by starting a bit earlier, working a bit later and working through most of lunch is pretty easy to structure and be visible as well.

But if contracted hours are a notional thing on a bit of paper and in reality most people work more like 45 hours, compressing that isn't usually that realistic anyway and the perception from other employees will be that 'everyone works late and gets paid the same, but Cokie gets an extra day off every week.'

I've turned down several compressed hours requests before. People would approach the employer saying for example that they will work through their lunch so they can leave at 4 rather than 5, as that will add up to the right number of hours, neglecting to remember that to do their full time job before maternity leave they were working through lunch already and leaving at 6, and that's what their colleagues are still doing.

Whether a long hours culture is a good thing is a different matter of course, and whether people's workload is too heavy as well. But that is the reality you are working with in your job at the moment.

In terms of what you can do, well take the initiative. Instead of asking your boss how he is going to reduce your workload by 20%, you put forward a proposal as to how it will work. Unless there is a job share situation, reducing workload just like that isn't often an option anyway. If there is a full time workload there, where will the rest of it go?

Instead, for part time flexible working requests, usually the best way to get them approved is to demonstrate how you can do the job in less hours. This would often be by identifying tasks that are unnecessary, or can be done more efficiently, for example.

Cokie Thu 30-Jul-09 10:18:34

Hi Everyone

Thanks so much for all your advice. I checked my contract and my hours are officially not stated, it just says my hours are that which are required to get the job job, with usually 2 days off per week. I was willing to show some flexibility and had discussed returning to work 2 months early however, I feel now my time with my little one is too important and I don't really think I would get much thanks for doing so. I did work to 7 days before my due date in order to get more time off afterwards so why return early??. I will happily take the 4 days, with the 20% cut in pay (not so happily) and just not feel too guilty about starting and leaving at a reasonable hour and I will just have to manage the company expectations in the quantity of work I can do in the 4 days I officially work, plus, I do feel more efficient and organised now than I have ever been having a little one to look after! I don't plan on answering the phone on the 5th day and start on that slippery slope of "being available". Thanks girls for all your advice!!

Cosette Mon 03-Aug-09 13:52:09

I do compressed hours, but although my company used to offer it as 5 days worked over 4, they stopped it for some of the reasons mentioned above, and that they felt from feedback that it was too much to realistically squeeze into 4 days.

The new option is to do 4.5 days in 4 days, and to therefore take just a 10% paycut. This works well - as others know you have taken a paycut for the flexibility. I don't work in a standard hours environment - and often work through lunch and in evenings - and have a similar workload to my colleagues. I easily work more than my hours, but as others have said above so do colleagues, and I figure it's in proportion if that makes sense.

Maybe they'd meet you halfway?

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