I currently work as a software engineer at a company in Europe. One detail that's going to be important below is that everybody here has a contract for 40h/week. If you work more, you can use the extra worked hours as a buffer, or even use them to get more free days. If you drop below a certain level (something like 40h below the expected number), management will start to ask questions.
One of the perks of working here is that a handful of us employees can attend foreign language courses 2-4hrs/week at the company's premise at no cost. The only downside is that although these courses usually take place in the middle of the day, the time spent there does not count towards the weekly working hours.
So, when I joined this course, I got an email from HR with the schedule, and they also informed me about this rule. So far so good, everybody was checking out of the company premises and then back in after the course.
At some point, we got a new colleague that also joined this course and the only difference between him and us is that he did not get this email from HR. Simply speaking: HR either forgot or because the course was already running, they did not bother with the details.
Because he was not directly informed by HR, this guy told us (the other guys attending the course) that he is not going to obey this rule and since then he simply counted the hours spent at the course towards his working hours. Of course, he had no plans to check with HR to clarify this issue.
The catch is that it's quite difficult to recover these lost working hours and then almost impossible to gather some extra on top of them.
So, at my annual review, I've asked my manager if it's possible that I count these hours as "worked" hours and because he was happy with my performance, he was OK with that. However, HR was not. So, I was back to square one.
This was quite some time ago. Me (and the others besides that guy) had to recover a lot of hours (in the hundreds range) and of course, that led to frustration, when you see that, let's quote Orwell: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Only a couple of us know about what this guy is (not) doing, the manager and HR have no idea.
I'm slowly getting more and more frustrated. Staying at work to recover those hours while he is long gone counts to that. Also seeing him how carefully he tries to keep this advantage as low key as possible by even suggesting to the others not involved in this course that he does obey the rule like the others.
Is there anything more intelligent that I can do besides what I did till now, i.e., ignoring this issue and minding my own business?
This was quite some time ago. Me (and the others besides that guy) had to recover a lot of hours (in the hundreds range)it sounds like your manager said one thing and HR another. This is what you should be dealing with. If you got in "debt` hours wise you should be taking this up with manager and hr