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Part-time hours were agreed but now talk of a job share?

(9 Posts)
PeekABored Tue 22-Sep-09 13:43:51

About 4 months into my leave, my Maternity Cover asked to go part-time and work agreed, and hired a fixed-contract part-time assistant to help cover the work load. I applied for flex working (to start in 2010), for a 3 day work week and in my application pointed out that an assistant would help bridge the gap between what had been my full time role and my newly requested part-time hours. (This seemed reasonable as they had already put it into practice with MC.

My work agreed to my reduced hours and said that it was possible as a few of my responsibilities would be moved to a newly created position and because, as I had more experience than my MC and the new assistant, I would be able to get more work done in less amount of time. They said though that because of budget constraints, we would have to look at the possibility of an assistant next year. (This didn't really make sense to me as the assistant would be paid out of the money they save from not paying me full time, but I didn't press the issue.)

However, when I went in to talk to HR about my return to work, they started talking about keeping my Maternity Cover on a contract basis for two days a week as a job share. I am gutted. I told them that I wasn't pleased with the quality of his work and thus would have a trouble sharing my job with him but HR just didn't get it.

So, I now feel really tricked and resentful as I asked for and agreed to part-time work, not a job share. I would really rather go back to work full time (or 4 days/week) than share with him.

Question 1: Are they allowed to switch it like that without my agreement?

Question 2: The request for flex working was made to start in January, but there was talk that we would draw up a new contract after I returned to work (full time) in October. Does that mean that until the new contract is signed, there is no obligation to follow through on the agreement made during flex working discussions? So could I pull out or request a different arrangement?

stillstanding Tue 22-Sep-09 13:53:18

I don't know what your position is legally - hopefully someone will be along in a minute to let you know - but I imagine that they can do what they want in this case. You have asked to work part-time hours which they have agreed to. They get to decide how they can make that work for them - hopefully in an amicable way that works for everyone.

But I am not really sure I understand the issue ... what is the difference between what they are proposing and what you proposed first off, ie that the assistant bridge the gap between your full time role and your new part-time one?

allaboutme Tue 22-Sep-09 13:57:59

I dont understand the issue...
You want to work 3 days and you suggested that an extra employee (assistant) was needed to bridge the gap.
They've agreed you can work 3 days and have also suggested an extra employee (MC) to bridge the gap

Is the issue that you personally dislike your maternity cover and just want it to be somebody else?

PeekABored Tue 22-Sep-09 14:04:37

With an assistant, I would be managing the position and would decide what work he would do, and I would be able to focus on strategy and areas of work where expertise and experience are needed. With a job share, we'd have to find a way to dole out the day to day and the strategy evenly, which just doesn't work as well.

But more importantly (for me), there is no line manager for my role so when my MC is not performing well, or when we disagree on a strategy or design, there is no way to resolve this. I constantly want to correct his work, but with a job share this wouldn't be acceptable (I don't think).

PeekABored Tue 22-Sep-09 14:11:44

So, I both have an issue with a job share in general (as I don't think the role is particular well suited to it) and with this particular person. I have been seriously disappointed with the job he did while I was away. Both myself and colleagues let various supervisors know that he was not up to the standard required of the job and that he lied on his CV and during interview regarding his competency but they chose to not do anything as he was seen as a temporary measure and because they aren't directly involved with my area of the company and thus aren't really too concerned.

allaboutme Tue 22-Sep-09 14:13:32

You can bring up your reservations with your employers but at the end of the day its up to them how they manage the role I'd say
There could be any number of reasons why they prefer the job share to an assistant.
Perhaps they feel the role is a full time job and a part time person plus assistant wont cut it?
Perhaps there are things that arise ad hoc and so if you and the assistant were working the same 3 days a week there would be 2 days with no one to rely on for ad hoc things?
Perhaps they really like your maternity cover so far and want a new perspective to inject new ideas?
Perhaps they like the idea of you disagreeing on strategy and design to stop things becoming static and bring about changes?

Maybe you could ask for a meeting to discuss their reasons for the suggestion and state your reservations too and see what comes out of that?

PeekABored Tue 22-Sep-09 14:32:00

Assistant and myself would be working different days with a one day overlap so that wouldn't be a problem. Anyone who has had to work with this guy has had nothing but complaints and people have told me that they are holding off on projects until I get back as they don't trust him to do them properly. Other colleagues have told me that they have had to pick up the slack as he hasn't been able to actually cover my leave.

HR has told me flat out that the reason they want to keep him on is because he is a contractor who is flexible with his days and they don't have to recruit someone else. There are big issues with the company at the moment I know, so this is pretty much them just not having the time and not wanting to put in the effort to make sure this role is properly covered.

stillstanding Tue 22-Sep-09 14:49:51

Could you not persuade HR to implement the arrangement so that you manage and supervise him, ie so not technically a job share and more like what you were looking for in the first place?

PeekABored Tue 22-Sep-09 15:13:27

I think that's what I'm going to push for. HR was v surprised when I told them that he wasn't as qualified as myself but it may mean that they are now happier to have that sort of arrangement.

We were supposed to have a conference call to discuss working arrangements though, and MC didn't call in. Argh!! Still, hopefully that will help me make my case

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