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Is it fair for employer to make me do 5 days worth of work in 4 days?

(87 Posts)
AnnaP99 Tue 01-Apr-14 17:30:33

Hello - I've never posted on Mumsnet before so hope this is the right place, etc.

I'm wondering if anyone has personal experience / advice to offer - I'm due back at work in two months' time, when my baby girl will be 10 months old.

I requested to go back 4 days a week instead of 5, and they said this was fine. I assumed this meant they would reallocate 20% of my work, but apparently I will just "become better organised" and do the same amount of work.

So I'm expected to cope with the same workload, in less time, for less money and less holiday entitlement.

Is this right / normal?!


ReginaldBlinker Tue 01-Apr-14 17:37:02

I don't know the legality of what employers are required to go along with, but speaking as a manager and as a co-worker, I'd be bloody pissed off if someone came back to work and said, btw, I fancy an extra day off... Would you mind doing my extra work?

My personal thoughts is that you should either go fully part-time, with all the cuts included in that (including job responsibility), or that you should suck it up and do the work that is required of you. It's your choice to do it in four days instead of five, so there are consequences that go along with that.

Crocodileclip Tue 01-Apr-14 17:39:55

I'm presuming that you mean part time as in only paid for 80 percent of you previous hours. If that is the case then of course you should only be doing 80 percent of the work.

hambo Tue 01-Apr-14 17:41:37

my friend does 5 days work in 4 days...but gets paid for 5 days.

WipsGlitter Tue 01-Apr-14 17:41:57

On reality though are there "bits" of the job that can be reallocated. When I went part time I did the same work in less hours.

unintentionalthreadkiller Tue 01-Apr-14 17:42:21

Legally they don't have to accept your request. A lot of people I work with do condensed hours eg a nine day fortnight but do do the full ten days worth of work.

Sidge Tue 01-Apr-14 17:42:29

If you want to work 4 days a week then you should be paid pro-rata and take pro-rata holiday entitlement.

So instead of working say a 37.5 hour week at an annual salary of for example £19,500 (£10 per hour) you would work a 30 hour week for £15,600.

So the same hourly rate but your gross salary would be lower to reflect the fewer hours worked.

In the same way your annual leave entitlement would be 4/5 of a full time worker's leave allowance.

unintentionalthreadkiller Tue 01-Apr-14 17:42:30

Legally they don't have to accept your request. A lot of people I work with do condensed hours eg a nine day fortnight but do do the full ten days worth of work.

WipsGlitter Tue 01-Apr-14 17:42:47

Although I know someone who does four days work in three extended days.

ReginaldBlinker Tue 01-Apr-14 17:44:41

To me, part-time is less than 30 hours, which is three days a week. As it stands now, the company is either going to have to fob her work onto someone else, or hire someone for one day a week, neither of which are likely to happen.

If the OP cut back to three days a week, they could easily get someone else for the other two and do a job share, but I think a 4-1 agreement is a bit ridiculous.

Don't know about the UK law (I'm in Ireland) but I have a team member on maternity leave who wants to come back on a 4 day week, we will be allocating her 80% of her previous level of work, she will get 80% of salary and entitlements.

Tell them if they aren't reallocating your work then you expect 100% salary and holidays etc, see what they say!

PrincessOfChina Tue 01-Apr-14 17:46:05

In reality, this is what happens - you do a full time job, in fewer hours, but for less money. I would think about doing condensed hours instead.

BillyBanter Tue 01-Apr-14 17:46:16

30 hours a week over 3 days is 10 hours a day. that is not standard.

I'm glad I don't work for you, Reginald!

Tearsofthemushroom Tue 01-Apr-14 17:46:50

Is it likely that some things will decrease naturally, ie. fewer meetings, less time answering the telephone etc. I guess it depends on how much of your role is reactive. If you want the hours you do need to be careful about making a fuss and from person experience, you do become a lot more efficient!

ReginaldBlinker Tue 01-Apr-14 17:48:25

Billy confused I'm not a slave driver, it's what is expected of me, and it's what I expect of my employees. An extra hour or two a night is better than working weekends in my opinion!

MaryMotherOfCheeses Tue 01-Apr-14 17:49:23

No, if you're being paid for four days, you shouldnt be expected to cram in five days of work. If manager has agreed to this it is her / his job to plan how the work is going to be done.

However, if as Reg suggests, someone else therefore has to pick up the 20%, thats also not right and would sound like bad management to me, not the fault of the person who is part time.

Minnieisthedevilmouse Tue 01-Apr-14 17:50:25

This needs discussion. Were you under the impression that you were getting 80% of the work? Or the full 100 in less time? Where did you think 20% was going?

All this should have been covered by the negotiation. Reread what you wrote and they agreed to. Be warned if you are saying the agreement doesn't work they can change it back to 5. You could ask for 3 and job share but I'd strongly guess they would refuse as extra cost....

4 days is very tricky. It often ends up 5 in 4 whether agreed or not...

MumOfTheMoos Tue 01-Apr-14 17:52:40


I would say you shouldn't be expect to deliver 40 hours worth of work in 32 hours - if you are being paid 80% of your previous salary. They are effectively suggesting that you have to be just a productive as your co-workers on 80% of the salary.

If I were you I would make sure you stick very carefully to your hours.

However, I have heard lots of prophet gat have gone back 4 days a week say effectively they end up doing 5 days worth of work for4 days worth of money.

However, those that go back 3 days a week find there aren't the same expectations placed on them.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Tue 01-Apr-14 17:52:47

What I d

MumOfTheMoos Tue 01-Apr-14 17:53:28

Sorry - that should say: people that have...I'm on my phone!

Minnieisthedevilmouse Tue 01-Apr-14 17:53:29

If the op said she could do her role in four days without any thought as to what might not work this is where it's collapsed. The boss just said yay saved 20%!

Um.... Any chance they don't like it and want you gone...?

AnnaP99 Tue 01-Apr-14 18:16:15

Thank you MumOfTheMoos, yes essentially it seems I'm being asked to do the same work as my colleagues only for less money, which just stuck me as quite unfair!

If I wasn't clear, yes I am going to be paid less and have less holiday, for 28 hours a week rather than 35, but still do the same amount of work.

I wasn't going to ask to do 4 days initially as I thought I couldn't do my job in less than 5, but a friend of mine who's a manager told me that when her staff ask for reduced hours she reallocates some of their workload within the team. As she said, if someone was previously making a workload that could be done in 3/4 days last 5 then they clearly didn't have enough to do!

So I rather stupidly thought that must be the way it's done, so based purely on that, yes I did ask my employer for 4 days on the assumption that 20% of my portfolio would be broken off and redistributed.

Thanks for the replies.
Best wishes.

Unexpected Tue 01-Apr-14 23:58:01

Unfortunately, when you submitted your request to work 4 days a week you assumed that your employer was going to take the initiative to redistribute your work. Why would they? You have mentioned nothing about reducing your work load so they have jumped on the idea of paying you less for the same output.

Realistically, what did you think was going to happen? Who was going to be allocated 20% of your portfolio? Your existing colleagues who already have their own full work load? I agree with others who said that reducing to three days is often easier because it leaves 2 days worth of work which is more attractive to someone as a job share or part-time role.

janey68 Thu 03-Apr-14 07:13:18

My company has recently turned down a request to work 4 days for precisely this reason. It proved impossible to recruit someone to cover just one day, and it would have been totally unreasonable to expect other colleagues to pick up the extra. We offered 3 days instead and it's working well as a job share

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 03-Apr-14 07:18:39

It's not unreasonable for you to have assumed if you were being paid less and doing fewer hours that your workload would scale accordingly; if the business didn't see this as possible then they could have used that as a business reason to refuse your flexible working request.

Are you able to work four long days and manage it that way? If not I think I would go back five days a week.

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