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Contact for shift workers.

(10 Posts)
pinkglittergirl Wed 16-Nov-16 17:04:38

I couldn't really find the right section for this, but I figured here was a good place to start.

I'd just like some advice/examples of contact arrangements for those who work shifts.

My boyfriend has a 10 month old, who he has had every fri-sun, plus extra days as requested by his ex since their split 9.5 months ago. The full weekends started when the baby was 3 months. Prior to that it was contact at her house, after work and weekends for a few hours at a time.

Recently, he has been forced in to new shift patterns at work. Instead of mon-fri 9-5, he now has to work 12 hour shifts, with a 4 week rota. He gets one full weekend off, works one full weekend, and the other 2 he is off Saturday but works Sunday.

His ex is not happy, and wants him to have his baby every weekend. Ultimately that's what my boyfriend wants, and has been furiously applying for jobs which will facilitate this. However, for now, he's stuck with the shifts.

His ex isn't happy for him to have contact on week days, because she insists the baby must go to nursery.

Does anyone have any good advice on how to calm the situation? Eventually he will be able to go back to every weekend, but for now, he can't do it, unless he leaves the baby with his mother, which means he wouldn't see the baby at all on one of his weekends, and for 2 full days on the other 3 weekends.

Surely flexible contact is the solution for a none school aged child?

Lunar1 Wed 16-Nov-16 17:56:35

She may have entered into a contract with the nursery and would have to pay regardless to maintain the place. Maybe they could look at the possibility of a nanny if he needs more flexibility.

needsahalo Wed 16-Nov-16 18:16:49

Personally, if his mum is happy to help I would maintain contact as it is now. If mum get used to a different pattern and becomes difficult over contact, the fact he has voluntarily given up contact won't be helpful. Why should the ex have to change whatever's going on in her life to fit with him?

That said, a more long term and sensible solution would be every other weekend with time in the week. If he is able to assure his ex that he will have the child every week - with his mum ready and able to step in if there is an emergency - she will save herself some money.

pinkglittergirl Wed 16-Nov-16 18:41:32

Yes, she pays the nursery, she pays the 70% tax credits pay (she receives the full 70%) and he pays extra (33%) above the csa rate, to cover the additional cost of this (it more than covers the extra). She isn't out of pocket for her child to be out of nursery (hence why I can't see a logical reason for her saying no, the child must go to nursery - even if he does have her. She offered for him to have the baby tomorrow, but on the proviso he took her to nursery 9-1 in a town 40 minutes away. He was due to pick her up at 1 from nursery anyway. He said no, he wouldn't take her to nursery, because he wanted to spend the time with her. Additionally, the baby is a car hater, and he would have to drive in rush hour traffic to get her there for 9, which is double the usual length of travel. And she would scream all the way. Not fair on the baby, to make an unnecessary trip.

His mum isn't happy to help at present, she did the first couple of Sundays, but has said no to further for now. (Full time work, plus her daughter just had a baby at 27 weeks, lots of other commitments going at present).

What do other shift workers do (I have a nanny but my ex has no contact, so I have no practical advise for contact with shift work).

It doesn't seem fair to the child not to see her father, when she can do - it's just that the ex wants her to be in nursery.

As a mum, I can see her side (wanting regular contact) but I can see the child's POV too, in needing regular contact with her father.

pinkglittergirl Wed 16-Nov-16 18:45:50

I mean regular as in, not to miss out on time with her father because it's either 'every weekend or nothing'

pinkglittergirl Wed 16-Nov-16 19:07:40

It's also worth adding, he is off every Thursday and Friday. So he could have her set days each week - she refused. It's weekends only (she offers him occasional extra days in the week if she wants time with her other child, which is fair enough).
As I say, she messaged this week and asked him to pick her up from nursery Thursday night, take her back for 9-1 on Friday, then have her until Sunday. He said he would (happily - he takes all extra time he can get). But he wouldn't take her to nursery for 4 hours Friday morning. So she said he could no longer have her.

I do see her side, but I don't understand the 'must go to nursery' thing - at 10 months old.

Other parents must do shift work, I'd really like to hear how you navigated arrangements. He's lucky as he has set shifts over a 4 week pattern, with a minimum of 2 set days off, plus another 1/2 days off a week.

Gracey79 Thu 17-Nov-16 13:57:09

No experience as such yet but going to find out soon... my xh took contact to court and cafcass are in the process of deciding level of contact, his shifts are slightly worse in that he never has the same days off over a 5 week period. So he wanted for example Monday week one, weds week 2 nothing at all week 3 etc. The lady from cafcass said she would mention to him to speak to his employer about flexible working or that he may be better placed getting a job which allows him regular contact with his son.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Thu 17-Nov-16 20:47:35

I'm not sure I have this right. Your DP's ex has the baby in nursery all week and then the baby is with your DP all weekend? Your DP would be more than delighted to swap his weekends for every Thursday & Friday (plus the part of the weekends he isn't working) but his ex wants the baby to go to nursery instead of spending time with your DP, and to go to your DP's mum every weekend?

I may be missing something but this sounds crazy.

Petal02 Fri 18-Nov-16 15:05:25

Maybe I'm missing the point here, but if someone works shifts, why isn't it understood that they can't usually have the same pattern of access every week? It's all very well saying find a job with different hours or speak to your employer about flexible working - but what about people who are, for example, police/fire/ambulance/armed forces? I would expect that a shift pattern is available a good while in advance, so can't access be arranged each time a new shift roster comes out?

Or is that too much like common sense?

userformallyknownasuser1475360 Fri 18-Nov-16 15:15:02

My shift pattern can change as can the shift pattern of dw (we have split but I'm addressing issues and hoping for a reconciliation)

I had been on a 12hr 4 on 4 off shift pattern, this meant that I had DS on my four days off (collected after nights on day one, left home for bedtime on day 4.

This gave me very little time to myself. It allowed me to see my son as much as possible though.

There needs to be flexibility from both sides to make this work though.

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