The Student Room Group

Student and working more than 4x my contracted hours

I work part time in retail and have just finished the first semester in my 3rd year at uni. I still have assignments to do for the beginning of january but have been scheduled 53 hours between 22-29th dec with only christmas day off (I have an 8 hour contract). I don’t have my rota for the week after so cannot plan time around work to finish my assignments. Would it be unreasonable to ask for less hours when it will be busy due to boxing day sales etc?

Note- I also have anxiety which leads to me getting very overwhelmed very easily. My manager is aware of this and it was previously agreed that I would stick to my contracted hours only.
Reply 1
Yes, it’s reasonable, discuss it with your manager and agree a reduction. You’ve probably got precious few employment rights but if it’s a reputable company hopefully they’ll do the right thing. Also join a trade union for advice and support
Reply 2
Original post by Zarek
Yes, it’s reasonable, discuss it with your manager and agree a reduction. You’ve probably got precious few employment rights but if it’s a reputable company hopefully they’ll do the right thing. Also join a trade union for advice and support

Thank you! I’ll have a look into joining a union :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by shannonch022
I work part time in retail and have just finished the first semester in my 3rd year at uni. I still have assignments to do for the beginning of january but have been scheduled 53 hours between 22-29th dec with only christmas day off (I have an 8 hour contract). I don’t have my rota for the week after so cannot plan time around work to finish my assignments. Would it be unreasonable to ask for less hours when it will be busy due to boxing day sales etc?

Note- I also have anxiety which leads to me getting very overwhelmed very easily. My manager is aware of this and it was previously agreed that I would stick to my contracted hours only.

Joining a union can be useful (USDAW is the usual one for retail) although often you need to be a member for a few months (unions differ) before you can get advice and support specific to you. However, there might be a union rep in your store, depending on its size, who might be willing to offer you informal advice. There's lots of help on their website. With an 8-hour contract, assuming this 8 hours is over a week, as opposed to 8 hours a day, your employer is being incredibly optimistic thinking you would be able to work 53 hours over a few days! Unless you have an unusual contract, it's highly unlikely they can expect such service! Check out your contract and see if it mentions the necessity to do overtime at busy periods and whether it says 'reasonable' overtime, for instance, which can be debated between you and your manager, but 53 hours? Hardly! As you are in your third year (not sure if this is your final year) at university, if you haven't already done so and feel it might benefit you, speaking to a careers adviser about time planning and fitting everything in, could be useful.
Reply 4
Original post by Lilyanne2
Joining a union can be useful (USDAW is the usual one for retail) although often you need to be a member for a few months (unions differ) before you can get advice and support specific to you. However, there might be a union rep in your store, depending on its size, who might be willing to offer you informal advice. There's lots of help on their website. With an 8-hour contract, assuming this 8 hours is over a week, as opposed to 8 hours a day, your employer is being incredibly optimistic thinking you would be able to work 53 hours over a few days! Unless you have an unusual contract, it's highly unlikely they can expect such service! Check out your contract and see if it mentions the necessity to do overtime at busy periods and whether it says 'reasonable' overtime, for instance, which can be debated between you and your manager, but 53 hours? Hardly! As you are in your third year (not sure if this is your final year) at university, if you haven't already done so and feel it might benefit you, speaking to a careers adviser about time planning and fitting everything in, could be useful.

Thank you! Yes it is 8 hours a week sorry I should have specified. All that it says in my contract is that I’m expected to work a minimum of 8 hours a week but the actual hours I work each week will be agreed in branch- no specifications about overtime etc so am unsure how to go about this!
(edited 7 months ago)
Reply 5
Original post by shannonch022
Thank you! Yes it is 8 hours a week sorry I should have specified. All that it says in my contract is that I’m expected to work a minimum of 8 hours a week but the actual hours I work each week will be agreed in branch- no specifications about overtime etc so am unsure how to go about this!

There has to be some sort of negotiation, otherwise some employers try it on! Obviously they want to staff their stores, especially during busy periods when it can be hard to find enough 'workers', but there is a fine line between giving you a few extra hours (some managers might feel they are doing people a favour in these hard economic times) and working you into the ground! Mention in a very friendly way how you like working there, and appreciate some extra hours, but that you hadn't actually agreed to these hours in advance so you were surprised that there were so many. (However, how far in advance do they tell you about these hours? Ideally, you would be given a notice of at least a week or two. If these hours were given to you a while back, and you haven't mentioned it up till now, your manager might be slightly frustrated that you are bringing things up at quite a late stage.)

There has to be some sort of negotiation, otherwise some employers try it on! Obviously they want to staff their stores, especially during busy periods when it can be hard to find enough 'workers', but there is a fine line between giving you a few extra hours (some managers might feel they are doing people a favour in these hard economic times) and working you into the ground! Mention in a very friendly way how you like working there, and appreciate some extra hours, but that you hadn't actually agreed to these hours in advance so you were surprised that there were so many. (However, how far in advance do they tell you about these hours? Ideally, you would be given a notice of at least a week or two. If these hours were given to you a while back, and you haven't mentioned it up till now, your manager might be slightly frustrated that you are bringing things up at quite a late stage.)
Original post by shannonch022
I work part time in retail and have just finished the first semester in my 3rd year at uni. I still have assignments to do for the beginning of january but have been scheduled 53 hours between 22-29th dec with only christmas day off (I have an 8 hour contract). I don’t have my rota for the week after so cannot plan time around work to finish my assignments. Would it be unreasonable to ask for less hours when it will be busy due to boxing day sales etc?

Note- I also have anxiety which leads to me getting very overwhelmed very easily. My manager is aware of this and it was previously agreed that I would stick to my contracted hours only.

If you are only on an 8 hour contract, then its not unreasonable for you to ask for less hours.
53 hours a week is a lot, even for a full time person.
Ask to stick to 8-10 hours a week for a few weeks, a) to give you a break and b) to give you chance to get stuff done.
Hopefully it should be quieter in January anyway, so they shouldnt have too much trouble sticking to that.

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