Telling your boss that you do not want to work on weekends can be tricky. Whether you can choose not to work on weekends depends largely on your job. While some companies have regular hours and you can work 40 hours a week by working for 8 hours a day from Monday to Friday, it is possible that some businesses consider the weekends their peak working period.
Most employees are okay with working on a weekend every once in a while. The problem happens when some employers consistently ask their employees to sacrifice their weekend, and you might not be okay with it.
The workweek can be hectic enough, and if you have to work on weekends, it can take a toll on your physical and mental health. It is important to communicate your availability and expectations with your boss early on, including your willingness or reluctance to work on weekends. This helps to set clear boundaries and avoid any misunderstandings or unrealistic expectations from your boss.
Hence, telling your employers that you do not want to work weekends is important, but you should know how to do it politely.
Why Working Weekends Consistently Can Be Harmful to You?
It is okay if you sacrifice an occasional weekend for work. However, working weekends continuously can be harmful to you in several ways.
- You may experience burnout and fatigue by working nonstop.
- You miss your precious family time; in most cases, your partner or children will not understand why you stay away on weekends.
- You suffer from poor work-life balance, and that takes a toll on your mental health.
- Your physical health suffers because you do not get time to recuperate from the tiredness of the previous week.
- You may develop health issues like high blood pressure or diabetes from the additional stress.
- You do not get time to indulge in your hobbies and do what you like, leaving you unhappy.
Why May You Be Required to Work on Weekends?
You have to understand that some businesses have more work on weekends than on weekdays, depending on the nature of the industry. For example, the food or entertainment industries have more work on weekends because they have their maximum customers on those days.
For example, if you work at a restaurant or a movie theater, you can expect employers to want all their staff on the weekends as that is when families go out together after a hectic week. It’s also the case during holidays.
On the other hand, even in regular 9 to 5 jobs, there may be occasions when you have to work on weekends. A new project deadline may emerge, or an urgent project may come up that is too good to pass. You may also have to fill in for an employee who might be called away on an emergency.
However, once you have gone through the job description and agreed to work on weekends by signing a contract, you cannot simply refuse to come on weekends later, as that will allow your boss to take action against you as a breach of contract.
Therefore, decide whether you want to work on weekends before opting for a job.
How to Avoid Working on Weekends?
While you may not mind occasionally working every weekend, if your boss constantly tells you to work on weekends, you should think of ways to get out of it. Here is what you can do.
1. Set Your Boundaries Early
Inform your boss early on about the number of weekends you can work every month, and you should do this when you join a new position and your boss tells you about the company policies.
You can do this when the employer offers you the job and states the rules and company policies. However, if the employer is not okay with you setting down the rules initially, they might no longer proceed with the job offer.
2. Pay Attention to The Contract
Most employers lay down clauses about leaves and working hours when they offer the job to a new employee. Some state that although the employees must work 40 hours a week, they may be called in during weekends for additional work required and will be paid overtime.
However, you must remember that once you accept the offer, you cannot say later that you will not work weekends, especially if the employer adds it to the contract.
3. Complete Your Work
Finish all your work during the week so that your weekends are free. If you let your work pile up, it will be your responsibility to complete it on time, and you will have to work on weekends to finish it.
You can tell your boss you are on call, but if they have yet to inform you beforehand and you have completed your work during the week, employers cannot force you to come to work.
A lot depends on the rapport and understanding you share with your boss, and you can work out a balance here.
How to Tell Your Boss Politely You Cannot Work on Weekends
Here are some ways to talk to your boss politely if you are not open to coming to work on weekends.
1. Tell Them Your Issue
It would be best if you told your boss why you couldn’t come to work on weekends.
You may want to spend more time with your children; you may have volunteer work at the community service program. You may visit your sick parents at an institution, or you may have been pursuing a part-time course to further your career or prepare for an examination.
You can tell your boss about the other obligations you take care of during the weekends and why doing so allows you to focus on your job entirely during the weekdays. Talk to your boss reasonably; when they see you doing your work properly during the weekdays, they might not ask you to work during weekends.
2. Make an Excuse
If you cannot come in during the weekend, you can make an excuse for it. You may have to keep a doctor’s appointment, you may have to appear for jury duty, or you may have to visit a sick friend who is at the hospital.
However, scheduling this in advance is important so your boss can get someone else to fill in for you on weekends. Write an email to your boss stating the reason and also request a personal meeting so that you can explain the situation as politely as possible.
3. Talk About Your Health
If you notice that your boss calls you to work on weekends frequently, you can talk to them about your deteriorating health. Burnout from fatigue and stress is real, and you may notice you are falling sick more frequently.
You can talk to your boss about it, especially if any recent check-ups reveal you are not well.
Those in heavy, physical work need the weekends off to rest adequately. You can tell your boss that you must recuperate and that working on weekends will also take a toll on you.
4. Give Them an Alternative Option
If your boss asks you to come to work frequently on weekends, you can give them an alternative.
For example, you can tell them you will work an extra shift or two during the week for overtime but keep the weekends off. Or come for half a day or only on Saturday.
Additionally, you can tell them you will be available on call but will not come to the office or work from home on alternate weekends.
If there is work pressure, and you do not want to come across as a difficult employee, suggesting an alternative will tell your boss that you are not averse to working and will also respect your boundaries.
If your boss tells you to work on weekends and you do not want to, you can negotiate with your boss about an arrangement. It will depend entirely on your pay structure, regular working hours, and how much work you can get done even without working on weekends.
However, while negotiating, you need to be polite, and it is better not to present your terms as an ultimatum that may work against you.
Once your boss has agreed to the terms about the number of weekend hours you want to work and the pay allotted, you can also request to include it in your contract to ensure the terms stay in place.
Your boss cannot force you to work on weekends in the United States but, at the same time, promote other employees over you who are willing to do so.
Hence, it would be best to consider how and when to approach your employers about not working on weekends. Most employers will respect your request if you do your work properly at other times of the week so planning will address much of the problem.