Carer requesting no overtime

Hi All,

We have a member of staff that is telling us his wife is disabled. He works full time, but says he is unable to work extra hours to go and look after his wife. However, his Manager asked him during the meeting, whether he had a second job, which he admitted he had worked part time in the evenings for the previous 5 years.

We discussed his wife's problems and he is unable to get any other help of support for her as the local government won't accept she is disabled.

I am unsure how to tackle this one and was wondering if anyone could offer their advice?

On the face of it, it feels like he is exaggerating her needs, but I am also very aware PIP is not paid to many people in need.


  • What's the contractual position on overtime in your organisation? Does he have to accept it if offered, or is it voluntary?
  • A little like I am wondering what the issue is here.

    Is his work during his contractual hours OK? Why do you need him to work extra hours and on what basis?

    As he has had this extra job for years and it hasn't been a problem why do you think it may be now?
  • I worked in an industry where overtime was regularily offered and worked. But not by me!!!! Unless an employer and employee agree otherwise I am a firm believer that the time outside contracted hours is the employees time and not the employer's to force when the employee works beyond those times.
    (I'll get off my soap box now)

    Oh, so have a look at what the contract says.
  • The overtime is compulsory in this instance
  • In reply to Rachel McDonal:

    He has had an agreement not to work overtime to care for his wife. The second job has only just come to light.
  • In reply to Rachel McDonal:

    The compulsory overtime is due to the seasonality of the business. Usually no more than 60 hours per year.
  • Well, contractually you've got an agreement releasing him from working mandatory overtime.

    The problem is primarily one of trust, in that you've discovered that he works a part-time job outside work. But I think at least some investigation is required. The part-time work might well be very flexible, or very nearby to his home, allowing him to "pop out" if his partner needs assistance. Or it might even be in a setting where his partner receives care or support at the same time as he is working. Or it may just be for fewer hours that your seasonal spikes in demand would require from him.

    It may well be easier for him to do regular bar work, say, where he has a degree of control (perhaps it's a zero hours thing) rather than to be committed to 12-hour days for one month per year.

    Trust, as they say, cuts both ways and he may not have trusted you (his employer) to understand or appreciate the nuances in his needs that your mandatory overtime doesn't account for. But now you know, and there is an opportunity - either to reach an understanding and simply keep the existing arrangement in place, or to develop an approach to mandatory overtime that accommodates his needs and perhaps pays him better than whatever part time work he's doing to try to keep body and soul together.

    I wonder if the problem is not that he has exaggerated the needs of his partner, but that he has underplayed the extent of the financial struggle inherent in supporting and meeting those needs.
  • In reply to Robey:

    Thanks Robey.

    I do see the need to be mindful this may be a very difficult time for both him and his wife. We always want to support our staff as far as its possible for us to do so.

    The part time role was one close to home, it was pizza delivery and a cash in hand job.

    Given how poorly his wife is, I am really surprised he is unable to get any other support. It must be very difficult.

    Thank you for your views, its always helpful as a standalone HR professional to get some other opinions.
  • In reply to Rachel McDonal:

    Sadly I wouldn't be surprised at all.

    My dad had dementia, and was frankly a danger to himself and my poor mum, and he couldn't dress himself, wash, make meals, literally couldn't do anything. We were offered ONE 15 min visit a day funded, and even that was very begrudgingly after weeks of begging.
  • In reply to Samantha:

    Its really disgraceful, that in this day and age, our vunerable people are being treated this way.
  • This is a complex situation. Firstly, I suggest there is an informal meeting with him, his line manager and you. Explore his actual situation: (a) is he still working part-time in the evenings and, if so, who looks after his wife (he says he needs to), (b) if he is no longer working part-time in the evenings then it is more likely that you would need to accept his statement at face value after asking (c) is he happy to explain his wife's needs and do they seem a genuine reason for him being at home with her in the evenings? Not everyone with care needs receives state benefits. (d) If he has not worked overtime since starting working with your organisation, then unless there is a specific business need, and his contract states he will be required to work overtime, it could be unfair to insist he does work overtime. He could possibly claim a breakdown of "trust and confidence" in you as his employer to treat him fairly. Good luck!