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Anyone good with Employment Law?

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 Del 13:08 Thu

Currently in a bit of a dispute with my employers over overtime and wanted to see if anyone could provide any advice. 

Work is split as BAU (business as usual) and project work. All teams get overtime for project work and all other teams in our sector can get overtime for BAU work apart from my team.  The reason for this i have just been told, is because our overtime bill for project work is high already so they do not want to pay out anymore.
The way I see it we should be paid for the hours we work regardless of whether or not it is BAU or project but the business is expecting us to work additional hours for free. We are field based and do a lot of traveling which is included as part of our working day.

Is there a case for discrimination seeing as all other teams do get paid for BAU overtime and we do not with the only reason being, they don't want to pay?

Post edited at 13:20
 Philip 13:25 Thu
In reply to Del:

I've seen enough Just Call Saul and Suits to know you've got a case.

Although your description sounds a bit vague. Can't you do your BAU within your working hours and overtime for your project work. Are they actually restricting overtime or just asking you to prioritise your working hours.

 Del 15:07 Thu
In reply to Philip:

Its a pretty complicated situation to be fair and quite hard to explain.

We often have days that are mixed, but say for example im on a BAU day and im working in Swindon, like today for example.  Its a 2 hour drive each way to get there which leaves me 3.5 hours to do my work.  the problem is that there is often a lot more than 3.5 hours work to complete so we, out of the goodness of our hearts, put the customers first and stay a bit longer. This is what has become expected of us. When we ask to submit the overtime for those extra hours we are being told No. 
I proposed a set of controls based on travel times/time onsite etc to ensure the amounts of overtime to be claimed was controlled and not like a blank check.

We aren't asking for anything to be backdated but simply going forward we want to be payed for the work we do.
 

Other team members have suggested we refuse to do any overtime at all going forward. This would have pretty server consequences for the business but if im honest i'd rather not go down that route.

In reply to Del:

Working to the terms of your contract, seems to be the only lever that you have here. I would give fair warning that you will not work beyond contracted hours unless overtime is paid, getting agreement in writing, then let them deal with the severe consequences if they do not heed the warning.

In reply to The New NickB:

> Working to the terms of your contract, seems to be the only lever that you have here. I would give fair warning that you will not work beyond contracted hours unless overtime is paid, getting agreement in writing, then let them deal with the severe consequences if they do not heed the warning.

I think Nick's right, I also wouldn't describe the extra hours put in as out of the goodness of your heart, although I'd feel similarly inclined to maximise productive site time considering the travelling involved. However, if there's no overtime then 3.5 hours a day is all you can do and that's the employer's problem to solve.

Post edited at 17:36
In reply to Del:

Quite confusing. In the sector I work you won’t get paid overtime unless you actually work above 37.5/week. So, partimers only get paid single rate for overtime (over their set hours for eg 30 hrs) unless they accrue work over the 37.5. 
Not sure that this is what you’re saying is happening to you?

 Moacs 17:43 Thu
In reply to Del:

> Is there a case for discrimination seeing as all other teams do get paid for BAU overtime and we do not with the only reason being, they don't want to pay?

Only if your team comprises mainly people of one of the protected characteristics, so probably not.

Your starting point is your contract.  What does that say about overtime?  What does it say about travel/location?  Do you have a "home" base?

In reply to Del:

I can't see any case where some teams get overtime and others don't unless your basic includes x amount of overtime. That should be stipulated in your contract though. 

 Jenny C 19:38 Thu
In reply to Del:

Another way of working it would be for you to be able to claim back the extra hours as time of in lieu, so if you do 12 hrs today you can take a half day of tomorrow.

In reply to Del:

What's overtime? 

 Del 16:20 Sat
In reply to Jenny C:

The problem we have with this is that we are all averaging about 8-10 hours of overtime a week. There is also no other teams able to cover our work so all lieu hours do for us is create bigger delays for our work. We would pretty much have to do 4 day weeks which the business wont agree to.

Its a really awkaward position we are in.

 Jenny C 16:33 Sat
In reply to Del:

> The problem we have with this is that we are all averaging about 8-10 hours of overtime a week. ..... We would pretty much have to do 4 day weeks which the business wont agree to.

They are taking the piss. No way you should be regularly doing 20% extra unpaid hrs per week.

In reply to Del:

> The problem we have with this is that we are all averaging about 8-10 hours of overtime a week. There is also no other teams able to cover our work so all lieu hours do for us is create bigger delays for our work.

Yep. And that might inspire management to solve the problem.
As long as you're working for free, they don't have a problem to solve.

In reply to Del:

Tragically from what I can see without agreement on over time there is no obligation to pay (law at work 2018). However you could possibly go for unfair discrimination if other sectors get it and you don't

 Del 17:42 Sat
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

That was my thinking, the fact we are being treated differently to everyobe else. 

I have hallenged them and have asked them outright why are they refusing to pay us for the hours we are working when they are happy to pay other teams. Im yet to get a response but i suspect they will go quiet and hope i just go away.

Bare in mind i raised this issue 5 months ago with HR involvement too. I provided 2 possible solutions to them so they can control the amounts of overtime coming in.

I gave them 4 weeks worth of hours/travel time information. They asked for an additional 4 weeks, which i gave them. What i do know is that the extra info they asked for they havent even read (thanks to onedrive telling me when the document is opened). Despite me chasing them for a respone multiple times i am still yet to have a formal follow-up meeting.

The latest info i only got after asking my manager to chase the director and even then it was only a teams message with no formal follow up.

The whole way they are dealing with it, or not dealing with it, is just so frustrating.

 Del 17:45 Sat
In reply to Jenny C:

The other thing that i can say is our fault is that a lot of the time we simply dont want to let our customers down, we really dont want to have to stop half way a job and say "sorry im leaving you will have to wait for me to come back" for the sake of an hour or 2 in overtime. 

It just seems ridiculous

In reply to Del:

> The whole way they are dealing with it, or not dealing with it, is just so frustrating.

From their point of view you're dealing with it for them so why change anything?

> we really dont want to have to stop half way a job and say "sorry im leaving you will have to wait for me to come back"

Depends on how much loyalty you feel and how much you're prepared to do to avoid burning bridges, but if you wanted to force it to come to a head you could easily word it as "sorry, the boss won't pay for us to work overtime and my team are all at our contracted hours for this week so your Friday job will have to wait until Monday". And then if the boss has a problem with it it's suddenly up to them to explain to both you and the customer why you should work for free.

With the job market as it is now there's never been a better time to stop doing stuff you're not paid for. To put it another way, if you're going to do voluntary work, there are probably far more worthy causes.


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