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Thread: Is this right / fair?

  1. #1

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    Default Is this right / fair?

    Ok, so a bit of background ot questions (its a bit epic so dont feel bad if you cant get through it) Short story is they told me I could come back part time but theings have changed in the company and they now say I have to come back full time or not at all.

    So heres the long version!
    October 2005 I started my job. Full time administration assistant with a small insurnce agency in sydney.. its a permanent job so I have mat leave entitlements.

    Sept-Oct 2006: I tell my boss (managing director) about my pregnancy and tell him that I want to take maternity leave. He has no idea what I am entitled to or what I need to do to apply but says he will find out nd let me know. He then goes on to tell me how fantastic it is that I am having a baby and that he talks about me coming back part time or working from home. He sounds really keen/enthusiastic about this arrangement and says we will talk later about it. This boss, although for some reason he doesnt seem to know my name, tells me how great I am and that I am "a breath of fresh air" compared to the last person in my job.

    Nov: still hvent recieved the info from him about maternity leave and he is due to go to London for work for a few weeks. I eventually get given the information from another manager who also tells me it is not possible to work from home. I tell them in writing that I wnt to apply for mat leave. This is approved and I then hve to tell them the exact dates by 4 weeks before I want to strt my leave.

    Dec: I tell them the exact dates and its all good. They approve it and send a letter to confirm it all.

    Feb: I go on mat leave.

    Aug/Spt: the company is bought by another larger insurance company. Just over half the people (12 people out of about 20, myself included) are offered job at the other place, and the other people are offered jobs elsewhere. I call the HR manager there to ask if i can still come back PT. She speks to my boss who says yes (different boss to who it was before). She is aware it will be 2-3 full days/week. This new compnay is big and has lots of employees (in the thousands).

    Dec: get a spot in family day care for 3 days/week. I ring and tell work when I want to come back and what days. HR person says it should be ok but to double check with my boss. I speak to him and he says i can work PT for 2 months then I have to go full time. I tell him this is not possible and i tell him about the two previous times I have been told i could work part time. He wants me to make a decision by the following day as to what I will do. Tried calling next day but he wasnt there. This was the week before Xmas and we were away after that and I didnt have his number with me.

    Jan: he was on hols till 14th so didnt get to speak till then. I tell him theres no way I can work full time so soon because of childcare availability. I tell him I was advised PT work wouldnt be an issue so I only applied for PT daycare. He now tells me that he needs someone full time because they are really behind and he needs me to come back FT then *maybe* i might be able to change to PT aftre a few months. I explain again it isnt doable. He tells me he will ask check if any PT available in another area. He calls me back today to tell me there isnt. I basically say he is making it really difficult for me to come back by changing what I can/cant do. He just says sorry thts just the way it is. I understand there has been changes in the workplace, but they were beyond my control and they havent bothered to keep me updated so I didnt know until now that PT was such an issue and I only find out at this time that there are only 12 people left to do 20 peoples work. All I got told was its "business as usual" when infact that is far from true. So my boss pretty much tells me I have to resign now. Now, this is a relatively large organisation and they hve an employment section on their website. There is actually a PT job which is quite similar to my job. ANYWAY.

    Do you think I am expectng too much of them? Like, am I being unreasonable in my requests?? I dont think I am. Are they rorting me? - have I been put in the 'too hard' basket?

    Should I complain to the HR dept or just resign and let it go?

    Woud it be worth talking to the industrial relations thing and getting their advice?


  2. #2

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    In my humble opinion you are defintely not asking too much to return to work part time. In todays age of family friendly work environments (well they should be) I think you are well within your rights to request part time work to enable you to care for your child.

    If I was in your position I would be speaking to the HR department and finding out exactly what my rights are. I would also speak to the Industrial Relations Comission and get further advice from them - you can never have too much info.

    I know you said there is another similar part time job you could apply for and that may be what you end up doing but I still dont think it hurts to pursue the matter with your current boss as bosses need to be made aware of the importance of mothers returning to the work force.

    I know that within the organisation I work for I have the right to work part time until my youngest child reaches school age and even then if the part time work arrangement is going OK I can continue to do so.

    I wish you the best of luck and let us all know how things pan out.
    Take care
    Jem

  3. #3

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    Hi Karina

    How upsetting and stressful for you! its so hard to go back to work, you dont need this extra stress!

    I am no expert but i believe that when you go on Maternity leave you are intitled to your old job back, in your case FT. Some work places have other arrangements, my employer has what they call paretnal part time, so u can work PT until your baby is 2..

    1 - can you apply for the advertised PT job? and retain your years of service etc?
    2 - are you able to ask about Job Share?
    3 - I would call the company HR dept, and maybe get to speak to someone a bit more understanding..

    All the best, hope it all works out for you xoxo

  4. #4

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    If they want a full time person, surely they can hire another PT person for the other 2 days a week! Dunno who you can talk to, but I'm sure one of the knowlegable ladies on here can point the way. :hugs:

  5. #5

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    Thanks. Its just annoys me that they told me one thing and then it changed.
    And that is right, they do have to offer me back my old job, which they have done, but I think my issue is that they told me one thing and now they wont let me do it and they are not willing to budge. I just dont get why my boss will go on and on to me about how far behind they are yet insist on having someone there full time. Theyre only going to have to spend more time advertising the position, recruiting and training a new person, resulting in even more lost time putting them further behind. I think its just crappy management on their part, but maybe thats just the way i think because its not working out for me. They arent willing to do a job share arrangement - i asked and its full time or no time. I'm not sure why - probably too much effort for them. I am going to speak with the industrial relations thingy on monday then I'll call the HR person. They have asked me to resign but I am thinking of just leaving it and waiting for them to fire me or something.

  6. #6

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    can a company legaly ask u to resign?? id check on that one!

    hope all goes well on Monday, you dont need this stress..

  7. #7

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    Yeah I have no idea if they can ask me to resign, so I have not done so yet! I am waiting till monday so I can call the industial relations commission and get their advice on that one.

  8. #8

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    Karina - I'm not a lawyer so don't take my word for it but I think there's two issues here. Legally, I think you are only entitled to your FT job back so they're within their rights to say come back full-time or if you don't want to, then please resign. HOWEVER, obviously morally they have done the wrong thing by reassuring you that you could come back part-time and then basically, changing their minds. But I would think if you don't have this in writing, then legally it will be your word against theirs. But if there is another part-time job in the company, I would speak to HR about that one (perhaps dropping very big hints that you're taking legal advice about the change of mind) and maybe they can just slot you into that one.

    I would also say that if they're so far behind then why not get a FT contractor person for your original job with you coming back to work part-time in addition to that person. Then perhaps down the track you might want to go FT again and you could have your old job back.

    I agree it completely sucks - this inflexbility is exactly why so many mums don't re-enter the workforce at a time when they are telling us there's a skills shortage.

    Good luck with all of this and DEFINITELY find out your rights.

  9. #9

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    Thanks Fiona. Yeah unfortunately they didnt give me anything in wrting to confirm it was ok to return part time, so youre right, it is just my work againt theirs. I did ask for a letter confirming PT but they never did it. Stupids!

    Really, I didnt really like the job - its not really my thing - so I'm not upset as such about not being able to go back. Its the whole principle of the situation that upsets me; how they have stuffed me around like this when I did everything they asked, handed in the required paperwork on time etc.

  10. #10

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    I know - I hate it when people behave like this and it's really unforgivable in this situation when you've lined up childcare etc.

    What d'you think you'll do - look for a different part-time job? I'd be inclined to explore all part-time options with them first because you can swap jobs down the track but I'm not sure there's that many good part-time jobs around.

    I think it's still worth getting the legal advice. They've behaved really badly but don't let them bully you into resigning without exploring all your options first if your family budget relies on you working.

  11. #11

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    Its not that we are in such a bad position financially that I NEED to work, but the extra moey would be nice. We would like to get a new car (ours is craptastic!), so the extra money would be nice but we could live just fine without me working.

    I might just call the contact on the part time job and see what she says. Its not in the same location as my current job, its in a differnt office in another part of sydney but its a bit more convenient for me to get to anyway.

    I'm not sure how to go about getting legal advice, but I am planning on calling the workplace relations thing on monday and seeing what they say. They'll probably say there is nothing they can do but its still good to know so if the are doing the wrong thing I can tell them and maybe sort something out.

  12. #12

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    Hi Karina

    I'm not sure what state you're in but in Victoria the peak body for lawyers is called the Law Society and on their website they list which legal practices specialise in what area. In your case, you'd be after someone who specialises in industrial relations. Down here, you can have a 30min consultation free of charge so it's worth looking into if your state has something similar.

    Good luck with it all.

  13. #13

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    Thanks ladies. I ended up just writing a fat arse letter to them on monday. I wrote about a page and a half just outlining the things I was told + when, and how I added an extra point on my contract & offer of employment that I would come back PT, and that I know they have PT positions available so they cant tell me they dont employ people PT. I also rambled on about how I had made attempts to negotiate something but all my offers were rejected by them, and they were the ones being inflexible...

    Anyways, I got a call from my manager telling me that there is a part time position available in another office (the pt job i mentioned earlier) and he'll get the person advertising it to give me a call. He said I might be suitable for that job.

    DH answered the phone when my boss called and he said that he sounded really quiet and apologetic/guilty. When my boss called last week, DH said he sounded differnt - like more confident and annoyed as if I was just taking up his precious time.
    So I think I may have made him step back and consider the situation.

    I am just waiting for a call from the person about the part time job. If it suits my (ie hours and location etc) then I'll consider taking it. If not, then at least they tried to help me, even if it wasnt until I had told them off.

  14. #14

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    I thought he was too.. but I havent heard back from anyone regarding the other job. Unfortnately I get the feeling they are just trying to sweep me under the carpet and hope that I'll just go away. I havent even heard back from the HR person at all. I thought she'd at least call me and let me know what it happening. I've been trying to call her but no luck getting in touch with her. I spoke with someone at the workplce infoline thing and explained the whole situation. I was told it might be worthwhile getting some legal advice.

  15. #15

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    Definitely worth getting legal advice Karina. Hopefully you won't need it but no harm in finding out what your rights are.

  16. #16

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    Karina Just for my 2cents worth - I would get onto your HR department and find out what your entitlements are for your job. It does vary from company to company. As a big company they would have a policy on returning PT or FT. I have found that unless you work for the govt your rights are generally fairly crap re mat leave.

  17. #17

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    Yeah I dont work for the government , so my rights are rather crap, but I do work for a relatively large organisation (employees in the thousands and an offices in heaps of countries). Still, it doesnt mean much. I'm just one person and they dont really care about me. So, I ended up getting in touch with the HR person and she told me they are "working very hard to sort something out" for me. I suppose my big issue was that they agreed to something, I wrote it as an extra point on my employment contract, they accepted and agreed to my contract - so I planned everything around that, and now they they are imposing extra (and stupid) conditions on me at the last minute with no notice. Theyre telling me they are "soooooo understaffed and urgently need me back" and that "the other girls are struggling" without me.. so I dont get their logic or management decisions, but it isnt really up to me to tell them that their management decisions are stupid.
    I spoke with the HR person and I left a message on my boss's phone today, so I am expecting a call on tuesday. We'll see how it goes.

  18. #18

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    Ok well, I wrote my letter in, and recieved a letter back from them offering me a part time position 3 days a week. It is my old position, but just on a part time basis. So, I got what I asked for. They want me to start next week (yeah right!) but I'm trying to delay it till March.

    I feel a bit funny about going back - like I'll be treated poorly because I caused trouble for them. They made it sound as if it was a bit huge effort for them to offer a part time position to me.

    I dont know what to do though... should I trust my instinct that they'll be crap and not go back at all? Or should I just go back, work my butt off, see how it goes, and if theyre being crap then resign?

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