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Anybody give employment advice?

(38 Posts)
Newquay Mon 07-Aug-17 21:12:31

I have a dear friend, aged 62, on her own. The small family firm she works for suddenly moved from not too far to where she lives to nearly an hour away which is closer to where all the family lives but not her. She said straight away that they would have to pay her petrol which they did. Trouble is, it's added this extra two hours a day onto her working day. In addition the daughter of the family has been on maternity leave since Feb and she's just been expected to pick up the extra work. Last week she suddenly, at work, got chest pains. She went to the doc that night who sent her to A&E for EEG which was, mercifully, clear but doc said it's obviously stress and to take a couple of days off which she did as she was exhausted. So. . . . Wise old birds. . . . Would she be entitled to say she's given it a go but needs travelling time to be part of her working day?

tanith Mon 07-Aug-17 21:36:03

Nothing ventured nothing gained, that's a lot of work hours each week they would lose and if they are a small firm they may not be able to afford it. She loses nothing by asking but they don't have to agree.

Newquay Mon 07-Aug-17 21:42:38

Thanks Tanith I thought that too. I think it frightened them when she was taken ill. When she returned a couple of days later (cos the whole family were going on holiday leaving her on her own again) she said I just can't carry on like this. They were just concerned about their holiday. She is a doormat. Has tried to get other jobs but her age is against her. I will suggest she has a serious talk with them on their return and she just needs to do what she can while they're away and not try to do everything like she always does and they've come to expect.

Anniebach Mon 07-Aug-17 22:46:08

Depends if she has a contract , be a problem for her employers if the stress caused her to go on the sick whilst the daughter was off work too!

Charleygirl Mon 07-Aug-17 22:52:50

I would be amazed if travelling time became part of her working day. I cannot see them agreeing to that although a lot depends on how much they want to keep her. I have never heard of that before. Good luck.

Newquay Tue 08-Aug-17 00:55:48

Yes I know. It she can't carry on like this. She's heading for a breakdown and then what would they do? They tried a couple of temps who just couldn't stand it either!

maryeliza54 Tue 08-Aug-17 01:08:58

Would she consider asking for redundancy? But that wouldn't make up for long term lost income. Could she afford to reduce her hours? It's a hard situation for her

gillybob Tue 08-Aug-17 07:08:06

Newquay your friend should not have accepted the move in the first place without negotiating some revised terms of employment. When a company moves (it does happen quite a bit for all sorts of reasons) they usually make provision for those who will be forced to travel much greater distances from home to work than they did when their contract began. Some people decide that they are unable to do this and might be asked to be made redundant. Your friend should approach her employer and say that she has tried to accommodate the move but is finding the traveling times to be unacceptable and it is adding a lot of time onto her working day and causing her to be very tired and stressed. She should ask to be either compensated for this and/or to have the additional traveling (which was never part of her contract) taken as part of her day. Really she should have done this prior to moving but she could say she has tried it out but the impact of the additional traveling is making her ill. We are a small family company (only 7 people) and we literally bend over backwards to help our employees. We have one guy who's wife works shifts and we allow him to come in an hour later every other week to accommodate this. I could give you lots of other examples too. Small employers are usually very helpful and accommodating where possible and I would be glad to allow a valued member of staff extra time for traveling especially if by moving premises it was me that caused the problem in the first place.

gillybob Tue 08-Aug-17 07:13:10

Just read your second post Newquay I think your friend has an excellent chance of renegotiating her terms of employment. If the family rely on her to hold the fort to enable them to have a holiday then they must trust her. Would they want to be forced into taking someone else on at short notice if your friend becomes Ill from stress and fatigue ? I doubt it. She must be strong and list her values to them and ask to renegotiate her terms/hours based on the move and the impact this has had on her life (making sure they realize what an awkward position they would be put in if she left suddenly) it mustn't come across as blackmail though!

M0nica Tue 08-Aug-17 09:23:49

Perhaps she could go part time, only working 3 or 4 days a week but be willing to fill in a specified number of weeks a year when the family are away.

At 62 she cannot be more than five years from retirement and when she reaches that age the company will have to do without her, indispensable or not. Perhaps now is the time for them to slowly start the process.

Bluekitchen192 Tue 08-Aug-17 10:30:52

Part time is the most likely solution for your friend. She should know which is the lightest day if the week for her employer and not work that day.

If her type oc work allows it, another idea is to work from home one day a week. This is increasingly common as communication improve. I did it myself. Works like a charm on tiredness.

A tbird possibility is to stay overnight near the new employment. Many people do that and negotiate two long days, with time off in lieu at the beginning or end of the week. Works well in jobs where being present is necessary.

Good luck. There are always options.

NotSpaghetti Tue 08-Aug-17 10:31:14

I was once given "extra" travelling time. The job moved to a town some distance away and I was given a mileage and time allowance for the difference it made to my day.
Whilst this is a good compromise it doesn't change the lem
Nothing of time you are travelling.

NotSpaghetti Tue 08-Aug-17 10:33:10

Sorry - correction - "it doesn't change the length of time you're travelling each day"
By this I mean it's still the same stress but you are in effect paid for it.

glammanana Tue 08-Aug-17 10:40:26

Newquay Just a wee bit off topic,make sure your friend knows that the extra 2 hrs travelling will make more wear & tear on her car and extra petrol so she should claim on her tax for the relief on a yearly basis,its not a lot but worth having.

ajanela Tue 08-Aug-17 11:39:22

If she reduces her hours she will be out of pocket and most likely doing nearly the same amount of work. The family have all gained at least an hour each by being nearer work, reducing their travelling costs, wear and tear on their cars and giving them more free time.

I think she should ask that at least one hour a day of her travelling time should be work time and arrive or leave earlier depending on which is better for all parties. Travelling costs are different to claiming your petrol. Working from home is another option if possible.

maryeliza54 Tue 08-Aug-17 11:47:38

As an employed person you cannot get any tax relief or allowances on travelling to and from work including car costs. No help there I'm afraid

craftynan Tue 08-Aug-17 11:59:41

I agree with bluekitchen's idea of working from home but would be inclined to ask for a minimum of 2 days a week. As far as the fuel costs are concerned, is she just receiving a payment for petrol? If so it might be better to try to negotiate a fixed rate per mile (the current standard rate is 41p per mile) which includes a small amount for wear and tear.

ClaraB Tue 08-Aug-17 13:26:43

I think if at all possible it would be good for your friend to mention two days a week working from home. I wouldn't suggest going part-time as although this often results in less hours and less pay but with the same workload - I know as this happened to me.

W11girl Tue 08-Aug-17 14:16:34

Personally I think it would make no difference including travelling time as part of her working hours. Its obviously too much for her whilst at work because of the alleged amount of extra work she has to do. Staffing appears to be the issue.

hallgreenmiss Tue 08-Aug-17 14:34:04

Your friend needs to put it on record that her Dr said the stress made her ill. She should seek some employment law advice from a solicitor or Citizens' Advice. If she cannot negotiate better terms and/or becomes too ill to work she could bring a claim for constructive dismissal. Alternatively it could become a disability issue which her employer is obliged to address. Tell her to get the correct advice.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 08-Aug-17 14:41:42

Is your friend in a union? If so, she should get them to help renegotiate her terms of employment. That is, if she wants to continue working, if early retirement isn't an option for her.
If she really needs to keep this job, then she obviously is badly placed to negotiate either shorter working hours or anything else. And at 62 it can be difficult finding something else.
The best bargaining chip would undoubtedly be, if she could find a job nearer home, because then she could tell her present employers that if they want to keep her, they will need to lighten her workload in one way or another.

I know it's a long chance, but reading job adverts might be a good thing.

Hm999 Tue 08-Aug-17 16:31:42

The chest pains and excessive work load may give her leverage to temporarily change her contract until family daughter is back from maternity leave as a Plan B if above advice does not bear fruit.
Good luck

GrannyBing Tue 08-Aug-17 17:03:20

Similar relocation happened in my company before I retired. Staff whose journey to work took over an hour longer were given 2 options. Either work the same hours in a 4 day week, or be compensated with a mileage allowance (taxable). We thought this was fair and reasonable. Most people chose a shorter working week, perhaps your friend could do the same? Some who didn't like the longer working day left when they got the chance. I'm afraid very many people have a long commute to work these days, over an hour not unusual. Is there any chance she'll get used to it? I rather enjoyed my journeys with the radio or a cd for company, gave me chance to wind-down!

Daddima Tue 08-Aug-17 17:12:11

ACAS helpline is very helpful.

(0300 123 1100)

Newquay Tue 08-Aug-17 18:54:34

Ooh you're all so helpful. I'll summarise what you've all said and pass it onto her. I fear she'll just carry on as she is. She cannot afford to earn less sadly and, of course, she's one of the women whose retirement has been pushed back. Thank you all so much.