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Is employer being unreasonable, holding meeting on my day off? Childcare issues

77 replies

stiltonontoast · 02/10/2018 13:59


I went back to work from mat leave at the beginning of Sept. I work a job share, I do Mon/Tues, other lady does Wed/Thur and business is closed Friday. I have an 8 month old baby so care for him when I am not working, my job share does self employed work when she is not working for our employer. The office is in the next city over from where I live, its 30 mins drive and 10 mins park and ride and quite an expensive city to commute to (let alone park in!)

Employer has suggested a meeting with both employees to discuss our job share, how its working out and other work related stuff. She's suggested a Friday. I replied that Friday is no good for me due to childcare issues. She's now suggested Wednesday - same issue Hmm I suggested I could bring baby along but she was not keen on this idea. My job share is also furious because she has work commitments on her 'other days' away from our office.

Is employer being unreasonable?

OP posts:

LuluJakey1 · 02/10/2018 16:11

The employer probably thinks they have already compromised anyway by accepting a job share and offering to meet on Friday. I know that won't be a popular opinion on here.


arethereanyleftatall · 02/10/2018 16:15

Be careful that the end result of this isn't your employer deciding to not offer a job share ever again.
I don't imagine it's in the employers interest to offer a job share (I might be wrong), so I would be prepared to compromise in your position.


WhatToDoAboutWailmerGoneRogue · 02/10/2018 16:16

Your employer is being entirely reasonable; you and your colleague are being inflexible.

You simply cannot take a baby to a meeting; that is entirely unprofessional and it is completely reasonable for them to expect you to find childcare for a one off meeting with notice.


Xmasbaby11 · 02/10/2018 16:19

I think you should be prepared to go in on a non work day. Sort childcare for the baby. It's a one off - not worth kicking up a fuss about.


NoSquirrels · 02/10/2018 16:28

Kind of goes with the territory of a job share, I’m afraid. It’s a one-off meeting to make sure it’s all working well. It’s not a regular team meeting on your scheduled day off. That would be different and taking the piss.

As a one-off I’d be asking the baby’s father to make himself available or begging a favour from a friend or other family member. And encouraging my jobshare partner to be flexible too about juggling her commitments. It will ultimately benefit all of you.

Flexible jobs you enjoy mean sometimes you should flex a little in their direction too, in my opinion.


NoSquirrels · 02/10/2018 16:30

Oh lord - I’ve just noticed you only went back a month ago.

Please compromise, call in a favour and ask your jobshare partner to do the same. Good will goes a long long way, and if they want a meeting about how it’s working after a month you really ought to listen...


timeisnotaline · 02/10/2018 16:39

I agree re it was only a month ago. I’d be asking your dp (I think you have one? ) to take a morning off.
Prior to going back after mat leave , I told dp he was 100% the guy for any calls from nursery / unwell baby for the first month so I could focus and not look flaky. After that we would split. Early impressions matter.
How are you and your job share communicating? I’d have a few emails and at least one phone call on someone’s time off before this meeting reviewing it and brainstorming if it could be better. I’d suggest a 6 or 3 monthly in person meeting or call, and alternate on who’s day off it fell. Then you have your own progress review and suggestions to table at this employer meeting. Start a new thread brainstorming making job shares work (I too think this request quite probably has something behind it and if you want the job you should keep ahead of their thinking)
When I was in a shift job we had periodic 8am Saturday meetings as there was no time during the week everyone could attend. It is what it is.


WidowTwonky · 02/10/2018 16:40

I’d suggest she meets with you separately


WidowTwonky · 02/10/2018 16:42

And how many of you guys saying “just sort child care and go in” would readily go for a work meeting on s Sunday?


ApplestheHare · 02/10/2018 16:44

WidowTwonky if I was full time I wouldn't, but if you're lucky enough to be given the flexibility of job share that mostly works around childcare then it's totally different. My employers go out of the way to make my job share hours work and flexible, so I have no issues about giving a bit of flexibility back every now and again.


WidowTwonky · 02/10/2018 16:52

apples I work pt and try to be as flexible as possible but if I couldn’t make arrangements then I’d apologise but not sweat it. I don’t think the employer should put Op in that position in the first place


BritInUS1 · 02/10/2018 16:52

Is there nobody that could look after your child for one day? What about your partner taking a day off to help out.

Your employer is being flexible allowing a job share, I think there needs to be some element of flexibility back.


maxelly · 02/10/2018 16:54

If it was a one-off, I was given enough notice and it was something genuinely important I absolutely would go in at the weekend or in the evening.

In fact I've gone into work in the evenings and at weekends for stuff that really isn't that important just to show willing and (frankly!) to further my career interests. I wouldn't ask any of my team now to come in outside their normal hours/days, whatever they may be, unless it's necessary, but if/when I do I would hope they'd show flexibility and willing too.

I do realise it's not as easy as "just sort out childcare" and as a minimum I think OP's employer should pay her for the day or half day so she can pay someone to look after the baby if need be, but surely some occasional give and take builds good will all around?


StatisticallyChallenged · 02/10/2018 16:54

I work Monday to Friday, but I've travelled for work on Sundays on quite a few occasions. Sometimes some flexibility is necessary.

I'm inclined to say I'd agree with those saying some flexibility is needed to make this work for everyone. How have your hours been set up? Are you on a perm part time contract or on some sort of flexible working request which is subject to regular review (my old employer did lots of these)

In many cases having two people working PT is more effort than having 1 person working FT for the employer - more admin, supervision, communication, appraisals, etc etc. Don't make it seem like such an arse ache they decide it's not worth the hassle


triwarrior · 02/10/2018 17:01

And we wonder why employers are reluctant to allow jobshares...


MadameButterface · 02/10/2018 17:11

I'd really try and accommodate them in this one instance

the distance of work to you, the expense of travelling there etc, are neither here nor there


EK36 · 02/10/2018 17:12

Why do you both have to be there at the same time? Surely your boss could hold two separate ten minute meetings. One on Tuesday and another on Wednesday then feed back to you both any points raised by the job share via email. With follow up meetings for the next week. If i had to attend a meeting on my day off without childcare, I would have no choice but to bring my children in. I would also expect to be paid or have time off in lieu.


drquin · 02/10/2018 17:42

If you're on a job-share contract, which is what you want and only a few weeks in to it, and the boss is suggesting a review, then I'd do whatever feasible to attend.

Many job-share contracts make reference to covering for the other half e.g. during periods of annual leave. I'm going to hope yours doesn't say this, as it'd look like you can't fulfill that obligation.
Equally, does your contract not make any reference to your ability / obligation to attend non-Monday / Tuesday work events? Again, I'll assume not. But if there was, then your employer is not being unreasonable in this request.

I know "booking extra childcare" isn't always easy, nor is magic-ing up non-existent friends or partner to look after the child. But if the meeting is to discuss how well the job-share is going, then it's presumably in your interests to make sure it remains as "flexible" as you need it to be.


Glittertwins · 02/10/2018 18:30

Are you able to switch your working day around with childcare? We do that if something has had to be scheduled as a one off event and we get enough notice to do it.


timeisnotaline · 02/10/2018 19:21

widowtwonky your post almost directly follows mine saying I’ve had Saturday meetings when working full time Monday to Friday.
But when working part time , I occasionally dialled into a call on my days off just to facilitate closing issues or getting the right people together for a conversation.


WidowTwonky · 02/10/2018 19:37

Same here time, I work way more than my pt hours. But if I couldn’t then fine. I shouldn’t be pressured to work on non working days. Nobody should. But the attitude from many on here is that it’s acceptable


ThisMustBeMyDream · 02/10/2018 22:51

Because finding childcare for an 8 month old is just that easy....


ThisMustBeMyDream · 02/10/2018 22:53

You're all assuming they have a partner too.


Jent13c · 02/10/2018 23:09

Could you arrange during nap time? If she has offered you to take baby in, she would be fine if you could get her sleeping. I get that’s not a guarantee but if you held back a nap so she was super sleepy and walked about in the pram for a bit?
Alternatively there are flexible childcare arrangements available. My hours change weekly and at times can be impossible but we always find a solution. We have a flexible nursery place, my MIL or SIL takes my son or I have on occasion used a babysitter. (I signed up for the childcare website then just copied the name across to fb so I didn’t have to pay the membership fee). The babysitter I used was a student nurse so I knew she had a recent PVG and also trained in infant resus so I knew he was in really safe hands. Alternatively there are playgroups/crèches at local gyms/ local crèches that are available if you check with your council. They never work out for my hours but if you have the option to set the meeting times yourself they may work in your situation.

It makes sense to go to the meeting and listen to what your boss has to say. A little give and take with a boss goes a long way, especially when you have a kid and may need to be there at a moments notice.


MagicKeysToAsda · 03/10/2018 08:12

Just echoing the others on here: a request for a "how is the job share going?" meeting after a month would be something I would request as an employer if I felt it wasn't working that well for me. (I say this because it sounds like an unplanned request. Ideally, new working arrangements would have included scheduled review meetings when first set up.) Your employer could meet you separately and then try and find middle ground for any new proposals by a lot of back and forth - but that's a lot of extra time for the manager. I've worked job shares, and the communication and handover have to be really great for it to work. You two have no crossover time, and it's already seeming like a problem after one month. I would be thinking my employer might want to change the arrangement like having one of you work three days so there's a shared worked day...

If you can possibly offer a solution here, even if it's "I really want to make this work, so I could do a conference call this week, and in future I can make myself available for team meetings on X morning but I need 4 weeks' notice to book the childcare." And in the meantime, try and research ways to improve your handover and continuity in a job share.

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