40 hr contract (exclusive of breaks)

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Mr D

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Feb 12, 2017
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Please try to understand, the only thing the employer has to do to be legal is to ensure the staff have the ability to take a 20 minute break in the course of, and not at the start or finish of, their shift.

If the employer finds that leads to problems between different contract holders, in that some are paid for a 20 mine break and some are not, or the employer cannot accept the reduced profit margin that results, the employer needs to discuss the situation with the affected staff and find a way to deal with those problems. Imposing a change to custom and practice without consultation is not the way to go about it.

by the sound of it the fact the employer was trying to do that is what triggered the initial post.

so wanting the staff to come in earlier or finish later in order to have that break in their day. that is a viable solution is it not/

and when the employee refuses to agree to change, do they carry on with what is a risk to the employer/
 
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Newchodge

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the employer needs to discuss the situation with the affected staff and find a way to deal with those problems. Imposing a change to custom and practice without consultation is not the way to go about it.

Did you miss that bit?
 
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Lj2019

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Feb 21, 2019
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I was given my contract yesterday NORMAL WORKING HOURS: The employees normal hours will be 40 hours exclusive of breaks & such further hours as may be necessary for the proper discharge of duties. However, the company reserves the right to alter the employees hours or time from time to time where this is necessary in the interests of the company, provided that 28 days notice in writing is given. However, the number of hours worked may not be varied without the employees consent.
I was told I’m gonna have to either do the new schedule ie extra 1/2 hr or amend my contract to 37.5 which would reduce my pay 1.5 days each month.
 
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Newchodge

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I was given my contract yesterday NORMAL WORKING HOURS: The employees normal hours will be 40 hours exclusive of breaks & such further hours as may be necessary for the proper discharge of duties. However, the company reserves the right to alter the employees hours or time from time to time where this is necessary in the interests of the company, provided that 28 days notice in writing is given. However, the number of hours worked may not be varied without the employees consent.
I was told I’m gonna have to either do the new schedule ie extra 1/2 hr or amend my contract to 37.5 which would reduce my pay 1.5 days each month.
Astated a long time ago, you need to take the whole contract to someone who may be able to help. Citizens Advice perhaps?
 
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Mr D

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I was given my contract yesterday NORMAL WORKING HOURS: The employees normal hours will be 40 hours exclusive of breaks & such further hours as may be necessary for the proper discharge of duties. However, the company reserves the right to alter the employees hours or time from time to time where this is necessary in the interests of the company, provided that 28 days notice in writing is given. However, the number of hours worked may not be varied without the employees consent.
I was told I’m gonna have to either do the new schedule ie extra 1/2 hr or amend my contract to 37.5 which would reduce my pay 1.5 days each month.

the employer sounds like they are trying to do the right thing.
you want to be paid for 40 hours then work 40 hours - and employer gives you a break partway through the day.
 
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kulture

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The wording you have pasted, if correct, graphically demonstrate the potential for confusion if you don't use a professional to draw up a proper contract. First let me say for any employee in this position, go see Citizens advice. If an Employer has this situation and this wording go see a solicitor who specialises in employment law.

Now look at the "contract" as written. Take the first sentence. " The employees normal hours will be 40 hours exclusive of breaks and such further hours as may be necessary". Notice it does not mention pay here. If the contract elsewhere says you will be paid £x per hour worked, then this sentence is acceptable. If however the contract says your weekly pay for the normal hours is £y, then the sentence becomes less acceptable since the sentence reads, without commas, ".....exclusive of breaks and such further hours ...." so it could be argued that the further hours are also excluded!

So details matter, punctuation matters, and being able to see the WHOLE CONTRACT matters.

Now the established practice has been to pay the employee for 40 hours a week INCLUDING short breaks, but not allowing time to have the 20 minute uninterrupted break. Again the wording matters. Does the contract actually say explicitly whether breaks are not paid? Because if it does not explicitly say breaks are unpaid then it is game over. Although the contract defines the normal working week, it has the option to change this (with 28 days notice). It could be argued that by working to 40 hours a week including short breaks for over FOUR YEARS it has effectively been changed by mutual agreement. So it could be argued that the employee's normal working week is in fact what they have been doing. In this case the employer may be better off just saying that the employee can take ONLY one break, and it MUST be 20 minutes, (because I bet that the "fag" breaks over 8 hours add up to more than 20 minutes).
 
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Inva

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Aug 10, 2018
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Astated a long time ago, you need to take the whole contract to someone who may be able to help. Citizens Advice perhaps?
Facepalm

Why do you keep suggesting this poor hapless guy goes for "help" left and right? The employer is giving him every option, and even leaving it on the employee to make the pick. Now he has to do just that, make a damn choice.

@Lj2019 your employer is reasonable, make your pick and don't waste your and everyone else's time
 
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kulture

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Facepalm

Why do you keep suggesting this poor hapless guy goes for "help" left and right? The employer is giving him every option, and even leaving it on the employee to make the pick. Now he has to do just that, make a damn choice.

@Lj2019 your employer is reasonable, make your pick and don't waste your and everyone else's time
The reason that both cindy and I am suggesting that they go to citizens advice is to see if either choice is legal.
The choice they have been given is to come to work the same hours and get paid less or come to work for longer hours and keep your pay the same. Now in conjunction with this the employer is saying that they will ensure that the employee has a 20 minute break. Something that is a right and not a gift.

The employer should really have explained this better and consulted and perhaps found a compromise.
 
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Newchodge

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The reason that both cindy and I am suggesting that they go to citizens advice is to see if either choice is legal.
The choice they have been given is to come to work the same hours and get paid less or come to work for longer hours and keep your pay the same. Now in conjunction with this the employer is saying that they will ensure that the employee has a 20 minute break. Something that is a right and not a gift.

The employer should really have explained this better and consulted and perhaps found a compromise.
It is also because other parts of the contract, if they are as poorly drafted as this one, may directly contradict this part, making the contract even less enforceable than it is at first read.
 
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Just been reading through this thread. The OP states they work a 40 hour shift EXCLUSIVE of breaks, but their shifts are 5 x 8 hours. It would appear that the employer hasn't previously allowed for a break period, otherwise the shift would be 1/2 hour longer, and the employer has expected them to grab a rest if convenient.

It would also appear that the Company has been taken over and the new management have been aware of the employees right to take an uninterrupted break, and have said the shift needs to be 1/2 hour longer to accommodate the break. As Cyndy points out, they can't just insist upon it, it needs to be done by negotiation with the employee, either by only paying for a 37.5 hours instead of 40, or increasing the shift to 42.5 hours. If the employee insists on being paid for 40 hours without an extended shift, then unfortunately the employer is stuck with it. They can of course take away the impromptu fag breaks but the employee has the right to take an uninterrupted 20 mins break no later than 6 hours into their shift.
 
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Lj2019

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Feb 21, 2019
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If the contract elsewhere says you will be paid £x per hour worked, then this sentence is acceptable. If however the contract says your weekly pay for the normal hours is £y, then the sentence becomes less acceptable since the sentence reads, without commas, ".....exclusive of breaks and such further hours ...." so it could be argued that the further hours are also excluded!

. Does the contract actually say explicitly whether breaks are not paid? Because if it does not explicitly say breaks are unpaid then it is game over.).

Thanks for all the info & help, I really appreciate it

The wording I have put is exactly the same as on the contract.

Is does not state anywhere else on my contract that I will be paid £x per hour worked, it also does not explicitly say breaks are unpaid on contract, I notice you said it’s game over but for who? I had a quick chat with main manager today & basically said I’m gonna sleep on it, speak to him again in morning but atm (past week) I’ve refused to do new schedule.
 
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kulture

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I can only comment on what you have said here. Basically what you have said that your contract says that your normal working hours are 40 per week excluding breaks. It says that this can be amended. For the past 4.5 years you have been timetabled to be at work for 40 hours been allowed short breaks (fag breaks) and been paid for 40 hours work.

Thus the established practice is to pay you for 40 hours and allow you to have some short breaks within these 40 hours.

If I were your new employer I would offer you the existing hours, the existing pay, and require you to have ONE 20 minute break AND NO OTHER breaks. OR offer you to carry on as now AND have an unpaid 20 minute break BUT that would mean you have to be at work for a further 20 minutes each shift. I would check this with an expert, but believe that this would be the legal way out.
 
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