A cut above the rest??!!

Apologies for the hairdressing puns, but today’s HR problem relates to a Hairdressing Salon I work with.

Cindy is around 40, and a junior member of the hairdressing hierarchy, but a valuable one, nonetheless.

Cindy is contracted to work 4 evenings a week, Monday to Thursday because they don’t open late on Friday. Her hours are between 4.30 and 9pm. Because Linsi was seconded to a sister-salon, Cindy was asked if she would mind doing two evenings and two mornings for a while, until Linsi came back. Cindy was happy to, so the Salon Manager got in a temporary person called Jan to cover the other two evenings.  

Sadly the sister-salon closed, and Linsi had to come back after about 9 months, putting Jan out of a job, and Cindy back to her 4 evenings a week. Jan was sad, but knew this was on the cards at some point, and went to find another job. Linsi went back to her job during the day, and Cindy was therefore required to revert to her old work pattern.

Except, in the 9 months, Cindy’s husband had changed jobs, leaving Cindy with a child-care problem on a Thursday evening. So what did Cindy do?

Did she find a babysitter? No

Did she start looking for another job? No

She came to her manager and demanded her work pattern remain at 2 evenings and 2 mornings a week.

Well, her manager told her she could not accomodate her in this work pattern any longer – as all the day work was covered, and Cindy’s contract was for 4 evenings a week, so that’s what she’d have to do.

So Cindy sulked and cried and stamped her feet because she said the hairdressing salon should be accomodating her personal needs because she’s got children………………………………………………….

So what do you make of that, aspiring HR managers???

What do you think my advice was?


3 Responses to “A cut above the rest??!!”

  1. 1 hoverfrog 21 September 2008 at 8:21 pm

    I have some sympathy for her. 9 months with a different work pattern is a long time. She is certainly within her rights to ask for her working hours to change and, I believe, the employer has to consider them and provide a reason why they can’t accommodate a change. The reason that the day shift is fully manned is reasonable and I think it also reasonable to give her the opportunity to change her shift if anyone working during the day leaves. You clearly can’t sack someone who works during the day to accommodate her or employ her during the day when there isn’t enough work to justify it.

    I think your advice would be to see if anyone is willing to swap shifts but be prepared to work to her contracted hours. No?

  2. 2 drunkenspaniel 22 September 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Yes, you’re right, Frog. Thing is, she always knew it was temporary, and its not the business’ fault that her husband has a new job. People seem to think we run businesses to accomodate people’s home lives, and that annoys me.
    On the other hand, she has the right to ask, and the business needs to see if they can make it work. If not, she has to go back to her contracted hours. We aren’t obliged to let her do what she wants, we’re only obliged to seriously consider her request.

  3. 3 wakeupscared 24 September 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I’m wondering if she’d settle for 2 evenings a week (as that’s what’s available, with the salon then employing someone else for the other 2); then offering her daytime/morning shifts as they come available (unless the Salon is considering extending it’s hours Friday/weekend?)

    I guess a question comes of whether her husband’s job changed to accommodate her change in shifts; not that that would be the fault of the Salon.

    I would assume that, had the sister salon been a success, the change in shifts would have been a permanent affair (even if the original contract stated “4 evenings”)

    I would have thought, when the sister salon folded, the owners would have had a consultation with the staff; there were too many staff and not enough hours, and in fitting everyone back into the single salon could be an issue. I agree with Mr Frog that she should be able to change her shift pattern – if there are other employees willing to swap.

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