to speak to my boss about colleague abusing flexible working

(305 Posts)
hatgirl Wed 23-Jan-13 22:47:59

argh... let me say first of all I am not a clock watcher, I work in a stressful job and people frequently work over their hours and there is a general agreement that a few minutes here or there or a slightly longer lunch occasionally is more than deserved pay back. We are a good, supportive team and there is pretty much no bad feeling other than the occasional niggle which is always resolved openly and professionally (yey for us!)

Essentially we are very much trusted by our manger who knows how hard we all work and various members of staff have different flexible working patterns in place which works well.

Myself and another colleague have recently started working 'compressed hours' essentially we work 10 days worth of hours over 9 days and have the 10th day off. For this to work we take shorter lunches, and work an extra bit at the start and end of each day... or at least I do, my colleague is working normal hours but still taking the 10th day off. At first I thought she didn't understand the system (I requested it first and she piggybacked her own request on the back of mine) so had a chat with her about it explaining the system again.

A few months down the line and she is still basically taking the piss. She is close to retirement and was recently refused voluntary redundancy - she is annoyed with the organisation and when I have reiterated to her the importance of us doing 10 days over 9 (again this is not done in a horrible way just in a general discussion way)she basically laughs at me and says that the organisation owes her after years of service (which is probably a fair point but doesn't change the fact that she is getting a paid day off every 2 weeks).

I'm now in two minds whether or not to now go to my manager as I am getting nowhere discussing with her directly, or if I should just wind my neck in and let her get on with it after all it doesn't exactly directly impact on me.

My boss will come down on her like a ton of bricks as him trusting us not to abuse flexible working is a big thing when he could be a complete arse about it if he wanted to be and he will be really disappointed that she is doing this. I actually really like my colleague and don't want her to get into trouble but a) her wages come out of public money

and

b) I am absolutely shattered doing the longer days (a lot of this is also because I have a longish commute - she lives 10 mins away from work) but value the day off in return and don't feel it fair she is getting the same benefit without putting in the work - also other colleagues not formally doing compressed hours are working the same hours if not more than her and are not getting a day off at all!

As much as I like her I just think her attitude on this issue stinks.

Would I be unreasonable in having a word with my boss and creating bad feeling in the team?

Or am I being petty and it is my bosses job to notice this and sort it out? Its literally as little as coming in 10 mins late, taking an extra 30 mins for lunch and leaving 10 mins early but it all adds up to the extra 50 minutes we work extra each day to get the 10th day off.

StrictlySalsaDancingDiva Wed 23-Jan-13 23:57:04

We operate a flexible working policy at work. This would be considered fraud where I work too. The best solution is to implement a clocking in and out system, and have the hours logged. All staff in the dept I work in have to, so we are all treated fairly and this just can't happen!

aufaniae Wed 23-Jan-13 23:58:20

"I don't want to tell tales on someone I get along with"

Then don't.

mirry2 Wed 23-Jan-13 23:58:51

When is she due to retire?

ElectricSheep Wed 23-Jan-13 23:59:52

This is none of your business.

You've told her what you think now it's up to her what she does.

You are not 'complict' - afterall her work hours aren't being noticed by her boss, so why should it be thought they'd be noticed by you?

<glad I don't work with some of the self-righteous snitches above>

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 00:00:04

DamnBamboo you seem to think I just want to get my colleague into trouble... I really don't, if that were the case I would have 'told tales' long ago and I would have highlighted her complete hopelessness with computers (its much much worse than anyone other than me knows about) rather than giving her massive amounts of help informally and eventually she asked to use the time for me to help her fill in the gaps canyons in her IT knowledge in the most unobtrusive way possible. Its waaaay outside my job description but I'm happy to do it because she is an otherwise valued colleague with a lot to give to the team. She just has a penchant for long lunches, late starts and early finishes which doesn't really help the situation she finds herself in with the IT side of things.

Gah... seems MN is as undecided as I am

StuntGirl Thu 24-Jan-13 00:00:30

My work would also discipline a member of staff if they found out you had lied to cover another member of staff, even if it was a lie of omission. For that reason alone I'd have to either tell her she needs to sort it out, or speak to my boss about it. She might have 'paid her dues' but she hasn't retired yet.

solittletimeandsomuchtodo Thu 24-Jan-13 00:05:41

If she screws up the system you would suffer and lose it. I would mention it personally.

MrsMushroom Thu 24-Jan-13 00:05:41

Either you're pissed off about training her or your pissed off about her longer breaks....which is it?

You keep mentioning her computer skills now....

I think you do sound petty. She's close to retirement, leave her be. When you're in your 60s and knackered you might do as she does.

LauraPashley Thu 24-Jan-13 00:06:56

Do you think your boss knows? It is possible for her not to know?

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 00:11:16

if im 60 and knackered - i wont condense my hours if i can't do them or think about MY retirement as i willfully put it in danger

Snazzynewyear Thu 24-Jan-13 00:12:18

Well I wouldn't want to work with people who thought it was morally just fine for people being paid to do a job to loaf around and do nothing while others who've found themselves out of work, who would actually show up and do a proper job, get treated like lazy cheats by the system.

If I were this person's manager, I would not let this slide, but I would speak to her bluntly and you know she's winding down, but she still has to do her hours and get her arse into gear because it is not fair on her colleagues to treat her differently. I would tell her explicitly it was an informal warning and if she continued I would pursue it formally, and ask her if she wanted to risk her pension. <I should run the country emoticon>

lastsplash that analogy doesn't really work because this woman is not 'accidentally' slacking, she's doing so very deliberately. It's not so benign as some of you want to think.

Snazzynewyear Thu 24-Jan-13 00:13:39

custardo agree completely. The woman is choosing to do all this knowing the possible consequences. Her fault if it goes pear shaped, no-one else's.

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 00:15:08

Just to clear a few things up... she is fully aware that I'm annoyed about it and we have had words to that effect - this is what I mean, we have a good enough relationship with her for me to go to her directly about it. On everything else, and about everything else we get on fine.

Her response is basically that she feels the organisation owes her it anyway - which is probably true over the years.

I'm not bitching about her behind her back (other than to you lot) and no one else in the team is aware how I feel as i think its between me/her/our boss. My boss trusts us to get on with it and there is no monitoring/ clocking in system - he is managing 4 teams so is rarely on site.

ShellyBoobs Thu 24-Jan-13 00:19:10

It's fraud. It's taking the piss. It's not on.

Some of my staff work flexibly and if I found one of them was doing this I'd make damn sure it didn't continue. If that resulted in someone losing their job, so be it. I put a lot of emphasis on trusting my team and not checking up on their every move. This would seriously piss me off if it came to light and would probably result in other people's privileges being lost too. How can a manager trust a team who cover up something like this?

And no, you can't hold the manager solely responsible for the piss-taking; if you want to go down that road (as I notice a lot of MNers do - it's either the bosses fault, or the government's fault for every issue in their lives) then you have to accept being baby-sat rather than managed.

There's nothing like this sort of scenario to utterly demoralise a team.

To the poster who said to OP "don't mess up her life by going to a manager with this", that's about the most pathetic thing I've read in this thread. There's ONE person who would be responsible for messing up a life and it's not the fucking OP.

OTTMummA Thu 24-Jan-13 00:20:37

Op I had this, except it was a retail job and he was my assistant manager, superior to me, he felt 'owed' and used to just up and leave hours before his shift ended, or have 2 hour lunches!! It causes resentment and it isn't fair. You don't owe her shit, tell her up front you will be saying something unless she can come in early, oh and stop helping her out unless she comes in at the same time as you as well.

It's fraud, pure and simple.The organisation does not "owe her" FFS! As for all those comments about it being petty and it's not your business; dear god are we still in the playground been warned by the bully not to 'grass them up' angry? Well it's not petty, and it IS your business! I absolutely agree with your comment "I'm worried that if she does get found out and i've been keeping schtum that i will get into trouble as well in being complicit in it." And she has no right to put you in that position, but she's done it anyway by being so blatant.

I would go with sowornout's sugestion (23:13:47). Give her one last chance to get her act together, warn her you'll take it to the manager otherwise to keep yourself in the clear. If she's stupid enough to continue after that, then hell scud it in to her. If she screws her pension up (pointing that out to her might be a big eyeopener for her) it will be her own doing.

Snazzynewyear Thu 24-Jan-13 00:23:42

That's a good point - I would withdraw any help with the computer stuff while this continues. She is not entitled to gave you do her job for her and also to slack off. Tell her that that's how unhappy it's made you and you won't be pitching in anymore, and she will have to explain why she can't do stuff.

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 00:25:24

mrsmushroom i don't think i've said i'm pissed off about the training and if I have it wasn't meant in that way. I don't mind helping her at all (even after the millionth time i've shown her how to create a folder grin). I did this long before we worked the additional hours, the additional hours were just supposed to give us a bit of quiet time to do it in after she identified to our boss in supervision that she was struggling with it and how much help she was needing from me and others.

She is mid 50s and had always thought/hoped she would be able to retire at 55 and this has not happened so understandably she is a bit peeved.

Andro Thu 24-Jan-13 00:25:25

Managing 4 teams and rarely on site would explain why your manager hasn't noticed it.

MidniteScribbler Thu 24-Jan-13 00:31:31

The problem with just ignoring it is that things like this start to fester in an office. I can assure you that it's more than one person noticing. I had a colleague that would call in sick on a Friday whenever there was a public holiday on the Monday. It got so bad that the boss would refuse all legitimate holiday requests for those Fridays because he knew that he'd be up the creek without staff to paddle because this person always called in sick. Instead of disciplining the worker concerned, it festered and festered until it ended up as a screaming match in the middle of the office when another worker couldn't take the day as a leave day to see her son play in a national competition. The boss ended up being sacked by his boss, the worker concerned was sacked and the team never fully regained their mojo and eventually everyone found other jobs within a six month period.

The actions of one person can have a huge demoralising effect on the rest of the team. Behaviour like this needs to be nipped in the bud. People do notice if someone is always coming in late, or taking long lunches, or spending too much time on Facebook in the office. And because most people prefer to be non confrontational in the workplace, it just niggles and niggles and niggles at them until people can't take it any longer. People get snappy with each other, and the standard of work starts slipping because people sulk and say "well if she's not pulling her weight, then I'm not either."

If she feels that she is "owed" time for additional overtime she has done during the years, then she needs to discuss that with her boss and make arrangements accordingly. Otherwise, she needs to work to her contract and employment conditions that she agreed to.

dayshiftdoris Thu 24-Jan-13 00:32:19

If this member of staff abuses a flexible working agreement and it is discovered then you can bet your bottom dollar the organisation will be reluctant to allow similar arrangements again...

So it will affect the OP and potentially many others...

This happened at my work - no one was given flexible working for nearly 10years as they had people who had done something similar to this and the reasoned they couldnt afford to get into the same mess...
When they did agree to flexible working the restrictions were massive and complex.

I would go to your boss and ask for a formal method of signing in - explain it in the manner than you want to prove that this system works for the future and this evidence will provide invaluable information to the company

WilsonFrickett Thu 24-Jan-13 00:36:20

You are not her manager. Presumably her manager knows she's taking the piss. I can't imagine managing a team and not knowing someone is abusing their working patterns. Unless the manager isnt there/doesn't care, in which case a colleague slacking off is the least of your worries.

The one thing I would do is make sure all the time spent 'supporting' this colleagues lack of IT knowledge is logged and referenced at your annual review.

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 00:39:47

i would e-mail boss, tell him you want it treated under the whistleblowers policy - you will have one - read it.

be anonymous

hatgirl Thu 24-Jan-13 00:46:05

WilsonFrickett its public sector and due to various cuts/ sickness/ restructure my manager is now managing quadruple the amount of work he had 18 months ago. He is a fantastic manager doing an impossible job and frankly this will be the least of his worries, however he won't exactly be happy that she is getting a day off 'for free' if he becomes aware of it, which he won't unless I tell him as I am the only person who knows.

My colleague is upfront about her lack of IT skills (but I think underestimates just how much) and both she and I have discussed the amount of support she gets from me in supervision separately. Our job essentially has nothing to do with IT, it is a frontline job but at the end of the day everything is computer based these days and as skilled as she is at the actual job her IT skills are shite (I say that affectionately!) it is very much acknowledged by her and others how much support she gets and she is very grateful towards me for all the help which just makes me feel all the more worse for getting annoyed about her not doing her working hours.

Not grateful enough to not put you in this position though, hatgirl ...

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