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Work advice needed for my missus

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Hello and thanks for reading this,im here for some advice from people who understand abit about work law.

Right my missus works part-time 24hr's and get family credit but yesterday her bully of a boss told her she has to work almost full time next month ( september )as the were short staffed, well she rufused stateing she had a life outside work and that her mother is poorly and needs looking after and also it would affect her family credit but the store manager would not have it and phoned the area manager who also said she will have to work these hours.

To me this is bullying my missus into doing she dos'ent want to do,it's stressing her out i hate to see her worrying about some crummy part-time job.


My question to you guys is can they force her to work more or less a full month of work?


Surely not !! she has other commitments outside of work, ill mother and a son who's 16 but still a little dependent of her.


Any advice would be greatly appriciated.

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I really could do with some advice on this matter A.S.A.P.


Another thought i had about this is the reason she is being forced to doing this overtime is due to another member off staff walking out of work claiming her farther is really poorly in hospital and she wanted to be with him,but hence the word poorly not dying so why has she been given a full month off!! now call me a cinic if you like but to me the other member of staff is PARTLY using this as an excuse to get off work for a bit,

What would happen if her farther had'nt recovered by October, would they then give her another month off and then try and force my partner to work full time in october,surely the company should get some part-time cover in for her.

Ok i know by law you are intitled to time off if a spouse or member of close family dies but what time off are you allowed if they are only i'll in hospital? but there is a good chance they may pass away but no one knows when one month/two months etc

Sorry about my ramblling as im not good at expressing things in written words,but i really could do with some help on this matter.


Thanks Andrew

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1. How long has she worked for this Company?


2. Has she always worked these part-time hours?


3. What does it say in her Contract of Employment about her working hours? Is there a clause that says, something to the effect, that she may need to vary her hours to meet business needs when required?

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Thanks Marie.


To your questions


1 She was worked in the same job and building for 22 yrs although the company has changed hands a few times in that period,and the recent owners have been in charge 3yrs now.


2 She has worked part time and the days of Mon,Tues and Friday now for most of the 22 yrs she has worked there.


3 In her contract,or company hand book it states......Due to the nature of our buisness you will be expected to work whatever overtime is REASONABLY expected of you..


Now the problem i see her is the work REASONABLY ..How vague can you get,what is reasonably? what one person see's as reasonably may not be what the other persons see as it to be..


She is expected to work an extra 16hrs per week for a month is that reasonably considering the commitments she has outside work an ill mother and a son that needs feeding etc..


Your opinions are greatly welcome

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If her employer was making a permanent change to her hours she would be in a better position to defend her rights because, regardless of the contract terms, her long service of her part time hours establish implied terms and conditions through custom and practice.


However, in the current situation we are talking about 'overtime reasonably expected' of her by her employer.

As they have, so far, stiplulated that this is a short term requirement to cope with a colleague's period of absence it seems reasonable.


Is there anyone else working in the company who could cover/share this overtime to reduce the pressure on your wife?


If not, perhaps it would be an idea for your wife to write a Grievance letter to the company describing how the increased hours in September would negatively effect her.

i.e. The care she provides for her poorly mother, (it might be an idea to say how much time is involved here if it's a substantial amount) her son, and the effect on her family credit entitlement.

She could also say that as there's a possibility that the situation may continue past September it may be more appropriate for the employer to consider hiring temporary help to deal with this issue.

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There are another 3 members of staff who could share the workload, but as far as we are aware my partner is the only one the are trying to forcefully do this overtime and have not even asked the other members of staff.

I think what my partner needs to go into work on Monday as state the fact that she is prepared to help out but it is unreasonable to expect her to do all the days and the other members of staff who could help out not to do so,to me that would be unreasonable.


Do you think something like that could work?


Thanks Andrew

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But if her boss, refuses to ask the other members of staff to help out, and threatens my partner with having her contract changed the my partner would be well within her rights to say no to doing the overtime as its unreasonable to expect her only to cover the member of staff that is off.

Ok after my partner says no to the overtime and they do carry out the threat of changeing her contract and she refuses to sign it and they sack her, well i think we would have good cause for an unfair dismisal claim.


Anyone else got any opinions on this matter?


Sorry if im repeating myself but i have to get this embeded in my head..

Big thanks for you replies


Andrew xx

Edited by andy000223
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An other thing i need advice on is my missus has got to go to work on monday and face the store manager but she is such a soft, sweet submissive lady that the words just wont come out or she will just get too frightened to speak and may even start crying at the fact that she is falling out with someone and i wish i could go with her and have a word with the manager myself as i feel i will put her case across much better than she will but i feel if i do that i may make things worse, do you think i might make it worse if i do that?

What should i tell her to do? be confident,calm and focus on what your saying and even more so the managers responses, what advice can i give her going into a possible conflict?

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Her employers have no need to change her contract as they are already covered by the clause saying, 'Due to the nature of our business you will be expected to work whatever overtime is REASONABLY expected of you.'


It isn't really appropriate for you to deal with the manager.


If your wife doesn't feel comfortable with conflict or confrontation, perhaps a carefully worded letter would be best.

It could say that:

Although she understands that the store is short staffed because of the absence of another member of staff, and she would like to help, she has considerable family commitments that she is unable to delegate elsewhere.

So, because of these circumstances, she would find 16 additional hours per week exhausting and therefore of possible detriment to her own health.

Perhaps she could offer to cover either the Wedneday or the Thursday to help them through this temporary staff shortage and suggest that they ask one of the other members of staff to cover the other day.


As the instruction has come from the store manager and the area manager it might be a good idea to send them both a copy of the letter.


The links below may help:

Overtime : Directgov - Employment

Acas - What are the benefits of overtime for my company and my workers?

Acas - What are the benefits to me of overtime?

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My partner has the same problem with her employer, despite at a meeting the commercial manager where she said that it would be impossible to work extra hrs for them at the end of August. She also said that she would see if she could change any of her other commitment outside her employment to work to help them out but she would get back to them in due course. She found out yesterday that her employer has put her down to work extra hrs on Monday 31st, which distress her very much and when she tried to see the manager that she had the meeting with she had conveniently gone on holdiay until September. None of the other manager could help her.


My partner works 16 hrs per week and Monday's is not one of her working days with this employer. She has look at her contract of employment and it does not say that she had to work bank holidays.


She is in a union but they do not respond to her whatsoever, is this becasue they do not want to upset big employers that are not unionised. I have found unions that I have been in useless why is this so, does anyone know. :mad:

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Thanks Allwood,now i guess she is gonna be worried about what she's gonna do when the 31st comes round,let me know what happens.

Thanks Marie for all your advice.My missus is gonna talk to the line manager tommorow and find out why he has,nt asked others to help with the cover and we'll go from there.I'll let you know what happens tommorow night.

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If this was me in this situation there is Three things i would do, first i would use letters to communicate with them so there is a record, looks more formal and most of all your partner can't be intimidated when confronted face to face (keep copy's and don't immediately go over her bosses head). The second is Ask the Doctor that see's her mother to write a note explaining that the situation and forward a copy to work. Third Be nice, don't dismiss the idea of working the hours just suggest it would be fair if the hours where distributed over the other employees as well to reduce the hours your partner must work, if you appear to be helping them out of the situation they will often be more flexible, put simply if she wants to carry on working there she will have to Negotiate and if they decide to spread the hours over Three people at least that will be a bit better?


Remember to play it cool and not to sound like your being funny with them in the letters, be reasonable but don't give too much away. Why not ask if there is the possibility of getting Time and a Half for over time or some sort of reconpence?


I know this may sound a bit like giving in but look at it as short term (a one off) if you feel they are taking liberties start looking for another Job but don't give them a reason to give her a bad reference in the mean time.

Edited by K2edg
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