I recently changed to a new job in Ireland. I have found something different in how to manage to do external/personal stuff, as most of the things are open only during working hours.

For example, where I lived before, you can find banks open until 7 or 8 P.M., and even on Saturdays. The same for medical appointments, car mechanics/services, property rental viewings, stores, and other things you need to do in your personal life. In that case, you don't need to ask for a day or half day out, just arriving an hour late or leaving a bit earlier if there is no option to do these things during the weekend.

But here in Ireland, most of the stores, banks, medical centres, etc. have the same working hours as my workplace, and they are not open during weekends. My concrete questions are:

  • How is this commonly handled?

  • Should I take a day or half day off for every matter I need to attend and deduct it from my holidays?

  • Is it just here or is it common across Europe?

  • 1
    Where do you come from? What service do you need? Typically in Europe one would bring their car to the mechanic, has it fixed whil at their work and gets it back after. If you need Medical attention you go and see your doctor. They say if you are fit to go to work. Banking is done online in most of the cases. Jul 3, 2019 at 8:53
  • Hi @BernhardDöbler, I come from Colombia, The problem is not accessing the services, is the working hours of them. For instance, I have to make an appointment with the mechanic, first for inspection, and after that, he will decide what should be done and schedule another appointment. Then, I will need to pick the car up. That means that I need to be absent of my work 3 times for a car fix while in Colombia I could do it on weekends or outside working hours Jul 3, 2019 at 9:14
  • 3
    Could this question eventually fit more the Expatriate.SE forum maybe? This seems like a cultural habit issue more than a workplace issue IMHO.
    – ChrisReact
    Jul 3, 2019 at 9:27
  • Welcome to the World, dear American friend!
    – David
    Jul 3, 2019 at 9:27
  • 1
    I'm guessing you're not on flexi-time ?
    – Smock
    Jul 3, 2019 at 12:03

3 Answers 3


Commonly handled in a way:

  • You don't need car fixed very often, usually you can find mechanics that open at 7 when you start at 9. You don't have to set second appointment. Usually people are informed about what need to be done and pricing right away and they leave the car for fixing. Then they pickup car earlier in the morning or arrange mechanic to stay late
  • Medical appointments - I never had an issue with making appointment after 18 or on sunday/Saturday. If you are sick you just go to the doctor and get sick leave
  • Banking. Well that can be problematic apart from one thing, you will notice that you have lunch time. During that time you might visit the bank
  • Rentals/ home viewing - no problem with making appointments on weekends or later in the day.

Usually those things are not done very often so I haven't meet a manager that would frown upon asking to come to work hour late or leave hour early to do those things. Especially if you are an expat and you need to be present physically to show your documents/ legal papers to set an account or sign rental deal.

  • 1
    I guess it's a bit different in every country. In Germany general practitioners close their offices at 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Other doctors are available in case of emergencies but they do not give appointments. You have to wait there when you decide to go there. Jul 3, 2019 at 19:44

Talk to your colleagues/HR manager

You can talk to your colleagues/HR to understand how things work in the local context (as you are an outsider). How do they handle such chores? (As it appears) you have relocated for the job. That way you may have additional tasks such as looking for a rental place and procuring necessary household stuff.

I don't think it would be fair (even required) to deduct such time off from your holidays.

  • 1
    @IDrinkandIKnowThings Neither are the colleagues. The intent is to understand from the perspective of an outsider how things like this work in local context. Jul 3, 2019 at 13:22

I've never had an issue with taking an hour or two during the day to do a doctor's appointment or go to the bank. When asked, most employers and managers will be flexible enough as they have the same difficulties themselves. Usually you might be asked to make up the time at the end of the day or throughout the week even if there is no official flexitime, which is fair.

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