Flexibility in new job

(12 Posts)
tugamommy Tue 15-Oct-13 11:17:15

Just started a new job. Contract says: normal working hours are 9am to 5.30pm.

I asked for a bit of flexibility around this, starting 30mins later in some days and 30mins earlier in others. I had expected my manager to just agree to it but she decided to do it 'right' and ask HR and they said no because it's not in the contract....

Before you ask, this flexibility would have no impact on business and is common practice in this industry. We are actually expected to be flexible ourselves on occasions in order to accommodate calls with colleagues in diff time zones.

I'm so, so annoyed with this. First because no one told me (and fkexibility was discussed with the HR person who interviewed me), then because the contract in my opinion is not worded dtrongly enough to suggest they're this strict and lastly because it totally messes up our pick up / drop off logistics. I can't drop off at school or I wont be in before 9.15 and I cant pick up from nursery and after school club because nursery closes at 5.30.

I'm so annoyed and frustrated I just want to scream! I feel like I had a better work life balance when I was commuting for 3 hours a day than now that work is only 15mins away....

Needless to say my manager doesn't havve any children and has never managed anyone with children.

Any suggestions / advice? I really dont want to whinge on my first weeks and job is amazing in all other aspects. .

tugamommy Tue 15-Oct-13 11:20:11

Arghhhh! Stupid phone created loads of identical threads - sorry!

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 15-Oct-13 11:24:48

I had a similar issue - was promised flexibility, including working from home, and denied in the second week. It's not in the company way, apparently, despite being totally normal and expected in my industry.

I've sucked it up, to be honest. I raged for a while, but I'm okay about it now. My life has adjusted, and DP has the more flexible job now, so he does what I can't.

I wouldn't expect them to change it if it's been referred to HR and rejected, though. I think I'd consider if it's worth it, with these set hours, or whether I need something more flexible and should start looking again.

zipzap Tue 15-Oct-13 11:36:01

Could you ask your manager if you could arrange it informally between yourselves (ie you let her know at the start of the week etc when you will be a bit early or late) at least initially until you can sort out the childcare drop off situation as you had been led to believe during your interview and due to common industry practice that there would be no problem with this and that you took the job on that basis?

Also - how much does your contract say about you having to be flexible when they want you to be? If it's not in there, any way that you could use that as something to bargain with - a codicil to the contract to say flexibility for both of you? Or use it to push for your own flexibility if it is in there?

good luck - sounds like you've found a real jobsworth HR department. Alternatively ask them to come up with some suggestions or ask why they didn't tell you about their lack of flexibility when you asked them about it at interview... Is it so bad that you would have to leave if you can't sort it out?

nextphase Tue 15-Oct-13 12:03:14

What a pain!

Have you signed the contract?
Does everyone stick to the start / finish times? Would 15 mins be noticed in the workplace? You might need to stick it for a few weeks to decide!
Is there a policy about clawing back time worked over?
Would breakfast club sort out the mornings?
Or, is there a different childcare option you could use?

Hope its resolved one way or the other soon

MrsMargoLeadbetter Tue 15-Oct-13 13:51:29

How annoying...

What was said in the interview? The specifics you outlined? If so, I'd focus on that. You accepted based on their comments...

I guess they could be nervous about a new employee 'coming and going as they please' (as they might see it).

Could you give them a set schedule for the first month, might make it seem less of an unknown etc?

flowery Tue 15-Oct-13 13:52:25

Why did you think your manager would just agree? Did you have a conversation along those lines first?

Just trying to establish whether she is genuinely happy for you to do it or is using HR as a way of saying no. Which happens quite a lot. HR are not in charge, much as we might like to be sometimes!

Something not being in the contract is not at all a reason not to do it. Either an informal arrangement could work, or if they need the contract to reflect what's happening, then it could be re drafted very easily.

If it was genuinely HR saying no, I would have expected reasons like not wanting to set a precedent, that type of thing.

Add all that to flexibility having already been discussed with HR makes me suspect your manager not being keen as the real reason behind this.

tugamommy Tue 15-Oct-13 14:27:04

Thanks everyone.

I didn't discuss working hours in the interview as I naively assumed this was a given. I did discuss other arrangements which were turned down. But these were discussed with the HR lady, not my manager so I'm not too sure what she thinks. To me it looks like she would be happy to but doesn't feel like she viul

tugamommy Tue 15-Oct-13 14:31:15

Argh! Posted too soon....

she doesn't feel like she could just make the decision if that makes sense, she doesn't appear to be the assertive type.

At the interview the HR lady said they would not put anything in writing but things could be agreed directly with manager so that will be my argument with her I think. ..

I'll definitely keep trying!

semirurallife Tue 15-Oct-13 14:42:56

feel for you- this is too too common a problem for WOHM.
I'd echo flowery.. and what size company is it?

I'd also say two things. one, is that when I asked to go flexible, it was after I'd been there a while. Is there any way, if you want the job - it sounds convenient- you could do the requested hours, for at least a while?

2nd thing is that they do have a legal to give reasonable consideration to requests for flexible hours. that's in the legislation You;d have to put it in writing, and do the business case etc, but then they are obliged to give you a proper explanation. but the way things work, you might be in a better position to launch such a case once you'd been there - and proved your worth.

sadly, its just too much a man's world to assume that there is anything sensible in the work place. I wouldn't concentrate too much on your manager for now, whether or not she has kids and trying to 2nd guess her is kind of irrelevant if she sees HR as having the final say. Build a relationship with her, get her on side , and then try again.
good luck!

tugamommy Tue 15-Oct-13 15:49:01

Thank you! This is a medium sized American company and I think that's where the issue is - it's not in their working culture to agree to any flexibility. I was told they had a working group to try to implement some flexibility arrangements and in the end nothing changed because headquarters vetoed everything angry.

semirurallife Tue 15-Oct-13 15:53:07

yeah well that will be a harder chore then. however, British legislation still stands. but I have just read it (see link), and you have to have worked for them for 26 weeks. https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working/making-a-statutory-application.

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