Contracted to do 30.5 hours, but am working 35 hours as standard - advice

Discussion in 'benefits and housing' started by Jon-of-arc, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    Hi everyone, just a bit of advice about how to approach my manager to highlight an issue with my contracted hours Vs my actual hours.

    I work in a residential rehab, and it's essentially a care home setting. I do waking nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Officially my shift starts at 10pm and finishes at 8am. My contract states that I work 30.5 hours a week.

    The reality is I start each shift at 9.30pm, so that the evening worker can do the handover to me and leave by 10pm. This is expected.

    I am also expected to leave no earlier than 8.30am, so that I can handover to the day staff. When I work Fridays and Saturdays, the clients get out of bed at 8.00, rather than 7.00am of week days, and the reality is that I end up working until 9.30am on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.

    So instead of doing 10 hour shifts, I am doing 1 X 11 hour shift, and 2 X 12 hour shift. A total of 35 hour, Vs my contracted 30.5.

    I am grateful to the organisation that employs me. It's a small charity with less than 50 employees. I have been doing this for less than 3 months, as a full time staff member, so am still on probation. I am keen to work hard and progress through the organisation. I believe in the work they are doing, and I believe that I can make a positive impact on the organisation.

    However, I am being exploited. And that isn't acceptable. I'm arriving early so that the 2-10 shift can get off on time, or more likely early. I'm leaving late, and no one is coming in half an hour early so that I can get off on time. The more I consider this, the more I have come to the realisation that it takes the piss.

    I spoke to a colleague, who was also previously my counsellor, about claiming for the unpaid work. He said that I can officially claim overtime for every half hour extra that I work, but that he personally wouldn't do this, in order to avoid seeming penny pinching. He's not management, though.

    I have supervision coming up at the end of the week, so I plan to raise this issue then. I'm not great at asserting my rights, and I am slightly concerned that I'm in a probationary period. Other former residents have come through the rehab, and presumably haven't raised a stink about this happening. They've gone on to get permanent jobs as day staff. If I continue doing what I'm doing, I'm quite likely to get the same outcome. This is a goal of mine.

    So I'm torn between not wanting to be exploited, and I absolutely am being exploited right now, and not wanting to upset the applecart.

    I currently do a lot of overtime (training, meetings, the odd day shift covering sick colleagues), and they are very good about paying this. However, I don't want this to be overtime, as it then doesn't end up getting reflected in my holiday allowance, which is less than a full time staff member as I get a pro rata amount of holiday to reflect the fact that I am contracted for less than a full working week.

    Overall, it's a good place to work, and the experience I am getting is invaluable. My CV is, ahem, chequered, to say the least, so this is an excellent opportunity for me to get back into the world of work, in a field that I feel passionate about. Working nights has its definite advantages, as well. I can binge Netflix to my heart's content, do college work, eat junk food, whatever, really. As long as the usually small amount of work I have to do is completed. I'm not even sure what my contracted breaks are, but the whole night is pretty much a break. I certainly don't want them tryna fuck with this, in retaliation or anything. I'm on to quite a cushy number, in a lot of ways.

    How would you go about approaching this with management? I don't know how aware they are of how much they're taking the piss. There is certainly the money to pay for what I'm asking - we're not a rich charity, but the rehab is a profit making part of it. They can certainly afford the extra £50 odd quid a week. I need the job, but they equally need good staff, and I am good at what I do - not irreplaceable, but good enough that I think it would be a pain for them to even consider tryna fuck with me. They're short staffed generally, with some sickness and the like, and good luck tryna find someone enthusiastic and with half a brain willing to work nights shifts with diligence and passion for £10 an hour. So they aren't holding all the cards.

    But as I say, I struggle with assertiveness. What I say can tend to be misconstrued as aggression, so some tips on how to present my case would be really appreciated.

    Soz for the essay. I think I know what I need to do, but Urban's input is always greatly valued.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  2. Epona

    Epona Down with battered parsnips

    I can't particularly help, but my husband is a substance misuse/palliative care nurse working in detox/rehab/residential care type facilities and often finds himself in the same position. It seems to be a widespread issue within the care sector that it's expected that staff do more hours than what they are contracted for - the usual seems to be that workloads/staffing does not fully allow for admissions paperwork or certain aspects of care (in the event of someone requiring a GP visit or hospitalisation for example) to be covered, which frequently results in staff working a lot more hours than is stated on their contract.

    Just because it is common practice does not make it ok though. I wish you luck.
    Jon-of-arc likes this.
  3. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    Also, what's the best union to join for the care sector? And is it even worth considering "dual carding" for a quid a month with the wobs? I let my membership slide a while back, due to not being employed, being on benefits, etc. There's no local branch, either.
  4. Epona

    Epona Down with battered parsnips

    OH is currently in Unison, he was in Unite while in a job where they were the recognised union in the workplace though (which is a major factor in deciding which one to join). If there is no union recognition as such, Unison have been awesome recently at supporting him through a work issue, he had a rep come out from the union HQ for advice and support in a meeting and was very impressed with them - there's no union organisation in his current workplace but was able to get support from HQ.
    Jon-of-arc likes this.
  5. Rutita1

    Rutita1 Scum with no integrity, apparently.

    Unison is very popular in the health and social care sector.
    Jon-of-arc likes this.
  6. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

    I'd suggest you approach it in a confused and asking for advice/trying to be helpful kind of way. So, you're a bit confused because your contract says 30.5 hours but you're working 35. The hours you're working are for x reasons, what's the best way of dealing with this/handling it? Would it be better all round if they up your contract to reflect the 35 hours you're actually working or would it be better if you got time off in lieu instead? (Assuming you're happy with the latter. Or obviously suggest anything else that's reasonable and would work for you.)

    Try and keep it positive, upbeat and non-confrontational. Say that maybe they can have a think and you can then get together in a week or something to discuss the best approach to take. Make sure that you schedule the meeting in and see what they come up with -- then at least you've proposed various acceptable solutions and given them a chance to agree/come up with something else.

    You can then decide what, if anything, you want to do next. I'd also very informally talk to any colleagues who seem to be in the same boat. Are they also on 30.5 hour contracts or something else? Do they have toil or anything else organised?
    mango5, Riklet, Maggot and 9 others like this.
  7. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    Yeah, that makes sense. I can certainly do confused!
    AnnO'Neemus and Sue like this.
  8. BristolEcho

    BristolEcho Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you are in a strong position, and I think being open about it is a good approach. Are there other colleagues than the one you already spoke to that have the same experience? Have they challenged it before? It's good to think about who would be a good person to speak too.

    I think bringing it up lightly is a good way at first and Sue has given you lots of good advice there. Particularly if others can bring it up too.

    Personally I've always found unions to be rubbish within health and social care, but seems others don't have that experience on here.

    Remind yourself that what they are doing is wrong. It might be an oversight, or it might be intentional. How they react will give you a good idea on who they are. Do you want to work somewhere that exploits it's workers?

    I really hate that this sector thinks it can treat workers like this and often pull the "greater good" card out.

    Good luck.
    Jon-of-arc and Sue like this.
  9. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

    Have you accounted for breaks in your calcs? I could see them saying something like you're expected to take an hour (unpaid) for 'lunch' each day. What does your contract say on this issue?
    sheothebudworths and Jon-of-arc like this.
  10. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is a good point.
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  11. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    I haven't checked that, but it's a good point and one I'll keep in mind. As said, the whole night is a break, except on the odd occasion when it gets really busy. I'm very sure that my contracted hours are 10-8. It makes it a bit confusing that they contracted me to do 30.5 hours, when the sum total of that is exactly 30 hours.

    But yeah, as Sue suggested, I'll play it a bit dumb and just be all "I'm trying to get to the bottom of this", and see how they respond.

    Just found out my manager is not gonna be back from holiday in time to do my supervision this week. :(
    BristolEcho and Sue like this.
  12. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    I wouldn't feel confident in trying to get other colleagues to collaborate with me on this. No one else there has expressed any kind of desire to organise or start unionising. There's a little bitching and moaning about this and that, but not this particular issue. I don't think I'd get a positive reaction from anyone, colleagues or management, if I started trying to organise within the workplace. I don't have the energy, anyway.

    I suspect it is an oversight. I hope if I approach it right it will be resolved. They certainly aren't shy about dishing out the overtime dosh for even small things, like coming in for a meeting.

    Thanks for helping me strategise. I'll report back on the outcome.
    BristolEcho likes this.
  13. Thora

    Thora Differently Ethical

    Does the extra unpaid time take you below minimum wage?
    Wookey and AnnO'Neemus like this.
  14. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    Doubt it. I'm on about 16.5k for 30.5 hours a week. Can't be bothered to do the calcs, but I think this is probably well above minimum wage. OT is paid at £10.80 an hour, I believe.
  15. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

    I had this issue with a job doing nights in that they said they didn't have to pay us for our 'lunch hour' even though their lone working policy meant we weren't allowed to leave the building, we were required to remain in the building and also be on standby and available/willing to return to our desk/work at any moment. (There was a kitchen/break room with a kettle and microwave and chocolate/drinks vending machine and some tables and chairs, but me and my colleague mostly stayed in the office rather than go and sit in the freezing cold, empty break room. Because heating. Because computers.)

    I looked it up and the case law is a bit ambiguous as to whether people should be paid for all hours or not, it depends on the circumstances.
  16. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

    I think that (sadly), they can get away with it. I suspect it'll turn out that he's there for 35 hours, but that they'll something like he's entitled to one hour for lunch and two 15 minute breaks each shift, which brings the total worked to 30.5 hours. He needs to check hs contract, speak to the other workers, and speak to the union.
    sheothebudworths and Jon-of-arc like this.
  17. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    Yeah, I'm definitely gonna check my contact for info. I can't seem to find the bloody thing. It may be that the extra hour on Saturday and Sunday mornings is what I should be asking for. Cheers.
  18. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    In fact, I think it's likely that I am contracted to work 9.30 until 8.30, with a half hour break, and it just says on the Rotas 10-8. That would make a lot more sense.
    Rutita1 likes this.
  19. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    Can a mod delete this thread so's that there's not a permanent reminder on record that Jon-of-arc is a total idiot, please? :facepalm::D
    TopCat, Rutita1 and Supine like this.
  20. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

  21. mojo pixy

    mojo pixy unquantifiable hazards

    It's difficult because the CQC put a lot of emphasis on how important good handovers are (handovers relate directly to three of the KLoE's, Safe, Responsive and Effective) but they don't give any specific guidelines. Which is shit, really.

    At the very least at your place, handovers should be done half in one shift and half in the other shift. It could be brought up at a team meeting but it could be it has been and nobody cared. Is it a recognized issue by other people working the same shift? Is it always the same people giving their free time, or not? A politics issue?

    How does the company justify the discrepancy between hours contracted and hours worked? Emotional blackmail, or is it just don't like it, leave?
  22. mojo pixy

    mojo pixy unquantifiable hazards

    If you want to get temperatures raised in a care setting, have a read through the CQC inspection guidance and then start asking random questions from it at (in)appropriate moments :thumbs:
  23. Sapphireblue

    Sapphireblue Well-Known Member

    i would still potentially raise the issue that you're expected to get in early to do the handover at the start but then stay late to do the handover at the end. these should both be in the same direction and it may well be that one of the other shifts is taking the piss.
    Jon-of-arc and kalidarkone like this.
  24. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    The way to avoid sounding arsey is def to be a bit disingenuous and ask some innocent questions when you have your rescheduled meetings.

    The biggest issue isn’t really the hand over time (because if the contract had said 35hrs for the same money, I get the feeling you’d have taken it), as much as it is that you are absorbing that time at both ends. So, you’re in early, but no one comes in early for you.

    I’d ask how this works on the other days of the week (when you’re not there).

    I’d ask to look at the weekend mornings “I think maybe I’m doing something wrong because handover is taking me 90mins at the weekend. That can’t be right, can it?”.

    Make notes and then after the meeting send a “just wanted to confirm what you said” email, which gives you evidence of these requests if you do want to take things further.
    Jon-of-arc likes this.
  25. sheothebudworths

    sheothebudworths Up the bum - no babies!!!

    Yeah, looks like unpaid half hour breaks to me (normal, now :rolleyes: :mad: ) and with the half hour hand overs accounted for at each end - but so you're still doing an hour over on each of the weekend days.
    I'm guessing they've calculated your hours on the weekday timings, if the 8am lie in on the weekends is a standard thing.
    It might be a simple mistake but fuck working for nothing, too.
    Defo do *confusion* in clarifying it. :thumbs:
    Jon-of-arc likes this.
  26. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    I'll still bring it up - specifically the staying late repeatedly on Saturday and Sunday mornings - see if we can't get it agreed that I should stay a bit later as standard and work that into my contract. But I'm not feeling exploited any more, at all - it's a really good place to work (money could obviously always be better - I would say that as a rule about any job ever, though - but I think I'm doing ok as far as entry level care work goes). I'll double check what it says in the contract (I've contacted the HR guy to send me a copy on email, as I have definitely lost mine) but I think it's quite likely that I've got an "on paper" break of 1x 30 minutes and 2x 10 minutes, which would match exactly with 3 X 11 hour shifts and 30.5 paid hours. If that's the case, they aren't taking the piss at all, and I got myself into a tiz-woz about nothing.

    I think the confusion arose because the rota puts me down as a 10-8 shift, when I'm probably contracted for 9.30 to 8 30.

    What would the EU Working Time Directive say about working an 11 hour shift and mandatory breaks over that period?
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  27. kalidarkone

    kalidarkone Bringing YOU round.....

    I work in the NHS and do 12.5 hr shifts including an hours break (I take two half hours) which I don't get paid for.
    Jon-of-arc likes this.
  28. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    I have a vague recollection that the amount of mandatory breaks goes up once your shift goes past a certain number of hours. It's 20 minutes (unpaid) if you are working a 6 hour+ shift, but I'm sure there's another mandatory rest period over a certain amount of hours. once you get into double digits or something.
  29. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat meh

    ACAS page on working hours etc here
    mojo pixy and Jon-of-arc like this.
  30. Jon-of-arc

    Jon-of-arc Ransom'd, Stoopid & Roofless

    That's really helpful. Thanks.

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