Creeping hours – what can I do? Ask the expert

I work three days part-time but I am being emailed and called outside my agreed work hours despite repeatedly notifying my colleagues of the days that I work.  Furthermore, I work in the evenings and at weekends to keep up with my busy workload.  I’ve raised this with my manager but she has told me to keep going and that we will later review my position.  I am only being paid for three days and working outside my hours is not convenient as I have young children.  What should I do as I need to keep up and do not want to lose my job.

I know that you have discussed your workload with your manager but I would initially try to raise it with her again on an informal basis to see whether your issues may now be resolved.   The perfect solution would of course be that you handover your work to another employee after the three days. You could suggest that you are willing to deal with urgent calls and emails as a compromise.  If your manager insists that you still work extra hours and you are amenable to this you could see whether your employers would be willing to pay you overtime or increase your annual salary. If your manager is unsympathetic then it might be worth speaking to HR or another senior person before going down any formal routes.

If the matter is not resolved and you are not happy to work the extra hours for no further pay, you may wish to raise a formal written grievance in line with your employer’s grievance procedure.  The risk in pursuing a grievance is that your employers may consider that they have allowed you to work part time only on the basis that what they are asking you to do is within the category of reasonable flexibility.  It is unlikely that the outcome of the grievance will be a recognition of your efforts since that will be admission of not having been supportive to date.  At best there may be recognition that the post actually requires a four day week or at worst a full time position.

Once the grievance has been raised, although your employer is, of course not allowed to victimise you for raising a grievance, their attitude towards you is likely to change  I anticipate that this is a situation that you would wish to avoid which is why I suggest the informal approach would be better if at all possible. If your employers do not assist with resolving your work situation and reducing your workload you could resign and bring a claim for constructive dismissal.  Again I understand that this is a situation that you would wish to avoid as you do not want to lose your job.  Furthermore, constructive dismissal claims are difficult to prove as the onus is on the employee to show that their work situation has been so intolerable they have no alternative but to resign. In view of the above, I consider that the best course of action would to be to try and resolve the situation informally with your manager reminding them of what a hard worker you are and the value that you add to the business.  I hope this assists with your difficult situation.


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