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with this back to work request?

82 replies

ShouldILTB · 27/08/2015 14:22

I cannot work out if I am being unreasonable or entitled to ask for this as part of my return to work package.

I want to request some kind of priority for annual leave around school holidays due to childcare issues. This is only going to be a problem around Christmas time.

In a nutshell I am asking to have the Christmas period as guaranteed leave (for one year at the very least) which I know is incredibly unfair but it's purely down to childcare issues. My CM has a week off at Easter, 2 in the summer and 2 at Xmas... essentially I want to make sure these are roughly covered by me.

Dad's working situation isn't determined yet so he may or may not be able to pitch in (It's long and complicated and we are no longer a couple) and I don't have a big support network.

For disclosure - I have worked several Xmases over the years, including one when I was heavily pregnant. However the department is only small and we do need cover. I probably live closest?

Am I a fool to even ask?

OP posts:

NotAWhaleOmeletteInSight · 27/08/2015 14:27

No, not unreasonable to ask. They may or may not accept - and if not they'll have to justify why it won't be workable. If you've covered previous Christmases then it seems a fair request.


MrsNuckyT · 27/08/2015 14:28

I don't think it's wrong to ask, but I think you have to be prepared for disappointment on this one. I'm sure there are other working parents among your colleagues and Christmas is a time when many people want to have off work, regardless of whether they have children.

Why not ask for it as an early request this year on the understanding that you'll take it turns from this year onwards.


Tangoandcreditcards · 27/08/2015 14:32

I don't think you are a fool to ask (it can't do any harm) - but I think you need to prepare yourself to be turned down (and therefore think what your contingency plans are - alternative childminder? Expensive emergency nanny?).

If I got this request as a manager: I would need to consult with the department before granting it, so you need to be prepared for the company/bosses to say no. If it's this Christmas, your colleagues may have already booked it off?


Zanymummy · 27/08/2015 14:35

I would ask as nothing ventured nothing gained, my employer has family friendly working and will try and meet requests especially in service days for schooling etc but annual leave isn't so great mainly as other employees also have family and the summer holiday is worked on a rota for fairness


19lottie82 · 27/08/2015 14:39

You can ask, but tbh if I was childfree and found out I had to work at Christmas simply at the expense of someone who had kids, I'd be pretty peeved tbh.


googoodolly · 27/08/2015 14:39

There's nothing wrong with asking but I would be prepared to be told no.

Where I work, nobody is allowed annual leave between December 1st - January 15th. It's our busiest time of year, and they can't afford to be short-staffed due to people taking the piss taking all their holiday at the last minute.

However, I accept not all workplaces ban annual leave. But as an employer, I wouldn't be impressed if someone came off maternity and then told me they couldn't work over Christmas. So I think you need to get a back-up plan in place. Lots of nurseries are open over Christmas (except the Bank holidays).


ilovesooty · 27/08/2015 14:49

I'm with 19lottie82

I am childfree. I've taken one Christmas Eve off in 12 years and this year I'm only taking the statutory days as usual. However if I'd wanted to request more leave than that I wouldn't expect to be refused simply because a parent had been given priority.


merlottime · 27/08/2015 14:55

Maybe if this is a problem you need to consider making a term time working only request. Your employer may not grant the request, but may be more likely to consider it if they were saving on the wage bill/able to employ cover? Your colleagues may be less resentful as well.

If that's not an option I thin you need to consider alternative childcare.


StealthPolarBear · 27/08/2015 14:58

Unpaid parental leave?


Spartans · 27/08/2015 15:00

Yanbu to ask. Ywbu to expect it to be granted.

To be really honest if I worked with you and it was granted I would formally complain. Probably sounds harsh but I think it's very unfair on the rest of your team.

Also as pp says have you actually tried to book christmas off. When I worked, christmas was all sorted by now.


ChazsBrilliantAttitude · 27/08/2015 15:03

For your first year back maybe it would be reasonable especially if you have covered more than your fair share of Xmas hols before. After that, YABU and I say that as a parent of 2 DC. I have worked with people who have elderly parents or family in another city or abroad who have an equally good argument for wanting Xmas off. Before I had children I didn't appreciate having to work until 3pm on Xmas Eve then pile on to an overcrowded train and stand for over 2 hours to get to my parents for Xmas because it was assumed I could work Christmas.


ilovesooty · 27/08/2015 15:05

Are you going to be asking for two full weeks off at Christmas? In a small team? I very much doubt you'll get that.


wigglesrock · 27/08/2015 15:12

Is it for this Christmas? Most people I know have already put their leave requests in for additional leave over the Christmas period. You can't bump someone else's leave now, well you might be able to but it would open your employer up to a lot of grievances. You can ask but I wouldn't be hanging my hopes on it. I hope you can get something sorted.


TheOddity · 27/08/2015 15:16

I wouldn't ask. You will be getting everyone's backs up. I'm surprised your childminders has the whole of christmas off. Mine was great and would even do bank hols for double time. Have you already signed with childminder or could you ask on facebook if anyone knows a childminder with spaces even for those christmas weeks. Also, if it is a two week problem period,I'm would be giving one of those weeks to your ex to sort out.


Junosmum · 27/08/2015 15:20

It can't hurt to ask but can understand it not being granted. Christmas is special time for many and lots of people visit family and have equal right to time off, so it would depend on your employer and your team. You may find yourself resented by the team.

I worked in a work place where school holiday priority was given to parents for time off, as I wasn't a parent I wasn't given that priority. I had to raise a grievance against this unwritten policy as my partner is a teacher - so though it appeared I could take time off whenever and go away in reality I couldn't unless I never went with my OH. So what I'm saying is that it may seem reasonable that due to child care issues you get first priority but you don't know what other responsibilities have people have which may need to be taken in to consideration as well.


Pantsonrabbit · 27/08/2015 15:22

I don't think it's unreasonable and I say that as a child free person.Is two weeks holiday usual at Christmas where you work? Could you be at all flexible with any other arrangement, partner or family? As some other member of your deptartment may want new year. Parental leave is also available for things like childcare but it has to be agreed by your boss and done in advance though it would leave your holiday free to cover for the unexpected days you may need.


OnlyLovers · 27/08/2015 15:27

YABU. Everyone is entitled to their share of Christmases off, children or no children and whatever other life circumstances they have.


lunar1 · 27/08/2015 15:28

I'm sure your colleagues will be thrilled. You have to be prepared to take it in turns.


manicinsomniac · 27/08/2015 15:28

I never blame people for asking for what they want.

I blame employers for saying yes to the ridiculous requests.

There's no way of knowing whether your request if a reasonable one without knowing your workplace and colleagues.


Janeymoo50 · 27/08/2015 15:31

I'd also complain if someone was guaranteed Christmas leave over someone else purely because they had childcare issues.


ShouldILTB · 27/08/2015 15:33

It's not for the coming Christmas no. I go back in Feb - March (so will have had an Xmas off) but did work the Xmas before that.

It's not critical to have cover but my office is open over the festive period and thus someone needs to be in.

I am not trying to trump childless people, I was until very recently childless too but I am trying to be conscientious enough to not leave anyone in the lurch.

Parental leave still means there will be an issue with cover so won't really help.

I don't know what my exact situation will be in 18 months time in terms of child's father and level of support he will offer he was pretty shit when he lived with us so God knows how he will be now he is an hour away so I wanted to have some kind of "plan" in place.

For what it is worth I work in a very male dominated office, the majority of women in the company (all childless barring one with grown up kids) all work in my department so there is no precedent for this kind of thing nor is there any kind of family friendly work schedule.

Christmas is usually a pretty popular time of year for people to have time off...

I am not making any other "demands" when I go back. No changes to hours, no request for PT etc.. But this would be a very helpful and reassuring buffer to have!

OP posts:

HermioneWeasley · 27/08/2015 15:33

YABU and precious


RaskolnikovsGarret · 27/08/2015 15:35

Sorry OP I think it would be v unfair to do this. I am about to sort out Christmas leave for my team and will consider all requests equally, regardless of whether people have children. It's simply not fair otherwise. Having two children myself, I will practise what I preach and do my fair share as well, even though I would rather be home with DDs. I really don't think giving you guaranteed leave would be fair. I would expect your employer to request and consider all requests in the same light. Having said this, I hope you get the leave you need.


Jb291 · 27/08/2015 15:36

I think you can certainly ask for leave over the Christmas period but you really should not expect that it automatically be granted to you just because you have children. I realise childcare is difficult and expensive and I have every sympathy for what is a tricky situation but your annual leave must not automatically be granted with the expectation that other childfree colleagues cover for you.


ShouldILTB · 27/08/2015 15:36

Just to add that whilst I know some people are going to think this is really cheeky and entitled mainly people who are childless like most of my colleagues if it comes down to it and I have no childcare then I will be calling in sick / asking for emergency parental leave / not going to work.... something which I really want to avoid.

OP posts:
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