“I was recently asked to work longer hours at my job, even though I need to leave on time every day to pick up my kids from school. I feel like my company is trying to push me out. How do I explain to my manager that I simply can’t stay longer?”
Unexpected changes can throw a wrench into your work-life balance, so we understand why you would be so upset. But before assuming the worst, talk with your manager directly about the new schedule’s demand and how it affects you. It’s possible it was just a simple mistake or your boss didn’t realize your situation and how important keeping your current hours are to you.
According to Angioni, it looks like you probably don’t have any legal recourse against your employer in this case, though. “There is nothing illegal, per se, about imposing new requirements on a position, provided they aren’t being used to discriminate against an employee or group of employees, but rather are to further legitimate business objectives.”
Schedule a meeting with your manager to talk about why you aren’t able to work later. Make sure to discuss any alternatives to the new schedule and clarify any changed expectations your manager may have of you, Pastore says. “Explain the entire pickup situation and come to the meeting armed with facts, such as how you get all of your work done within your pre-existing, agreed-upon schedule and a list of all of your accomplishments to-date.” Make it clear that you care about your role, and be prepared to discuss ways to complete all of your tasks.
If your manager tells you it’s absolutely necessary for you to work later, then suggest some reasonable alternatives. One option, Huang says, is to ask if you can work remotely after you bring your kids home from school. “Your manager might not realize you are willing to log back on to do your work and simply need flexibility to step out of the office for school pickup,” she explains. If working from home isn’t possible, see if you can start your day earlier, and therefore end it earlier, or switch roles with a colleague.