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Working time regs vs unacceptable hours

 
#1 Working time regs vs unacceptable hours
26/10/2007 14:53

Curious

Apologies if this has been done to death elsewhere but have searched and can't find it.

A lot of us have, from time to time at least, concerns about our hours. I'm wondering if anyone has ever used the working time regulations to protect themselves and/or their team from poor work planning/resourcing and the crazy 75hr+ per week work patterns that often result?

I don't have an agenda, just being curious.

The major relevant points from the working time regulations 1998 (amended) are:

- An employer cannot force an employee to work over 48 hours per week (on average, usually over a 17 week period) unless they sign an opt-out agreement

- Employers cannot force employees to sign an opt-out agreement. An employee cannot be (legally at least) fairly dismissed or subject to detriment for refusing to sign an opt-out

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#2 RE: Working time regs vs unacceptable hours
26/10/2007 15:01

jimmy jobby to Curious (#1)

Haven't they changed the rules more recently to change the averaging-out period to something like a year? Which effectively makes it impossible to prove.

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#3 RE: Working time regs vs unacceptable hours
26/10/2007 15:13

Curious to jimmy jobby (#2)

I'm not an expert but from what I've read it's up to six months maximum - though I might've missed an update somewhere.

Six months is a long time but it is feasible, certainly on longer engagements

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#4 RE: Working time regs vs unacceptable hours
26/10/2007 15:42

anon to Curious (#3)

1. My ex employer used to work its staff 90+ hours per week, regularly. 70 hours or so was considered a "normal" week.

2. They also made us record 8 hours per day on our timesheets, whether we worked 12 or 20.

3. They bleated on about "excellent place to work" and "we recognise the need for our employees to refresh themselves outside of work".

4. I had had enough of working long hours for no extra pay.

5. I thought about calling the Health & Safety Executive but then realised they sneakily put a clause in my employment contract saying that I choose to opt out of the working time regulations.

6. I thought it was more than my job was worth to make a point of opting out. "Fair treatment" my backside - they would have found a reason to fire me, don't you worry.

7. I wanted to tip off the Health & Safety Executive, and at one point was seriously considering doing so, but they made me redundant before I had a chance.

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#5 RE: Working time regs vs unacceptable hours
26/10/2007 16:24

Slave to anon (#4)

I think point 5. is the norm - not just in consulting but in any employer of executives or professionals. There's just a clause in your contract that states that in signing the contract you choose to opt out of the 48 hour week.

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