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Overtime
#1
Not sure if the Site Hut is the best place to ask advice, but some colleagues of mine who work for a unit, and IFA registered organisation that shall remain nameless, have been told they have been subcontracted out to another unit to a site that will take about 2hrs to travel to each way. They will not be given any overtime for this 4+hr travel and will have to leave at around 6am. One of my friends, who is one of the few able to drive, is seriously thinking about leaving the unit, and archaeology, over this. They are contracted to work a 37 hour week. Does travel over a certain amount of hours or miles constitute overtime? Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
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#2
Juliewren

Your colleagues should look closely at their contracts. These should stipulate the nomal hours to be worked in a week but may also contain some wording with regard to flexiblity, occasional overtime (paid or unpaid) and travel time. They should aolso check their employer's policies with regard to travelling to/from site and see if this proposal is in breach of either written policy or established practice.


Beamo
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#3
Seem to recall years back (mid 90s) that a certain county unit hads to change policy and start at least paying the drivers for the extra time because most of we license holders refused to take the council test to drive the minibuses so they ran out of drivers.... Big Grin
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#4
Actually the situation is slightly simpler and also slightly more complicated than any of the replies have so far suggested. Ask yourself this question? Who will be your employer during the time you are sub-contracted?.

Whilst you may be getting your wages paid through your original employer, all H&S legislation and employment law says that for the time you are engaged on that job you are an employee of the company that are contracting your services in. Therefore whilst you may have a contract that has terms and conditions that are applicable to your original employment for the time you are contracted out you should be seeking clarification of your employment rights, terms and conditions and H&S procedures from the contracting employer.

No doubt your current employer will say the terms are identical and therefore you have nothing to worry about, but I would suggest that a risk assessment needs to be carried out on the fitness of workers to work after a 2 hour drive and the reverse at the end of the day as an absolute minimum requirement. You should talk to your trade union about this. They have experts in these matters....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#5
Being subcontracted out does not change what your 'normal place of work' is, which is usually defined in the contract as being the office. You should be paid, or at least on clock, from the time you leave your normal place of work to when you return. Lots of contracts don't have a distinction between 'travelling time' and 'working time', this is usually made up by managers later. If they ask you to turn up to the office at 6, then that is when they start paying you.

all the best with this one.
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#6
As others have said I think the wording of their contract of employment is probably key here, however these often have a clause in them allowing temporary variations which fall in the employers favour... However to play devil's advocate (and I know no details of this case), this does not at first glance seem like a unit that is necessarily pulling a swift one. I doubt that there is any financial gain to be had for the unit to contract out their staff to another organisation. I am also assuming that the reason for contracting staff out is because the unit in question doesn't have enough work on their own books to keep the staff going.

Times are tough - I know this isn't a reason to accept bad terms and conditions - but it may simply be a case of the unit not wanting to let experienced staff go, but temporarily having no work and no money to pay them. Whilst your friend sounds pretty disillusioned with the company - and this may just be the straw that broke the camels back, there may be others who are more than willing to accept this short term hardship in order to be able to stay employed at the same unit/stay in the same house/not have to be made unemployed. This happened to me in the past - I wasn't pleased about being subbed out at the time and there was a lot of grumbling, but in the end I was happy to spend six weeks contracted out and keep my job. There's not a lot of work about in some parts of the country, and perhaps we should be applauding a company that is trying to maintain some form of continuity for their employees. The simple option may have been just to lay the least experienced staff off and be done with it. This company seems to have taken the perhaps harder route of trying to find some subcontracted work for its staff - in my experience this can take some considerable hard work behind the scenes to pull off. Maybe they should be thanked for the efforts they've gone to, rather than assuming the company has an ulterior motive...?:face-stir:
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#7
tmsarch Wrote:Maybe they should be thanked for the efforts they've gone to, rather than assuming the company has an ulterior motive...?

I wouldn't disagree with that sentiment, but for all the reasons you have suggested that benefit the company involved, you might think that a small compromise to allow traveling time to be paid would be a useful method of rewarding staff for their flexibility....Wink
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#8
kevin wooldridge Wrote:I wouldn't disagree with that sentiment, but for all the reasons you have suggested that benefit the company involved, you might think that a small compromise to allow traveling time to be paid would be a useful method of rewarding staff for their flexibility....Wink

Kevin - I agree flexibility has to go both ways. It is a delicate balance, some units are operating pretty much hand-to-mouth at the moment. Like you I think a comprimise allowing travel to be paid would be a sensible meeting point. But with my devil's advocate hat on again - if we say for example there are four members of staff being subbed out, four hours travel a day, five day week - that equals 80 hours (more if at an overtime rate) = two members of staff's wages. It might simply be a case of the sums not stacking up, maybe subbing out four was thought by the unit to be better than subbing out two and laying off two?
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#9
Hmmm...some units stipulate that the first half hour is 'your own time' as-it-were, but 4 hours a day unpaid travel? It does sound like they are being exploited to me and I can understand why they are upset by it.
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#10
To ask a stupid question, rather than speculating might it not be worth those affected sitting down and discussing with management what the reasons are behind this subcontracting and checking that no agreement can be made such as overtime at a flat rate or time off in lue at the end of the job? What is the day rate that they are being paid as subcontractors and is there room within the budget for something to help them out?

Unfortunately situations like this are coming up time and time again, and it is such a hard call to make between slipping of conditions for workers and unemployment.

It may be worth checking though, for drivers especially, that they are insured if they are not on the clock for a 4hour chunk of the day and what would happen in the event of an accident?
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