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Thread: Anyone clued up on the Working Time Directive? Does this shift sound sane?

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  1. #1
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    Anyone clued up on the Working Time Directive? Does this shift sound sane?

    A friend has an office customs type job which does involve once a month being on call to assist at home with calls.

    Whats being proposed is:

    Fri Ė work 11am till 7pm (with breaks) Ė then be on call overnight from 7pm to 7am Saturday.

    Sat Ė work 7am till 3pm office/home

    Sat Ė 3pm on call till 7am Mon

    So essentially a combination of fri/sat shifts with oncall Fri/Sat/Sun and essentially working 11am Friday to 7am Monday. If calls received overnight Friday its to be discussed whether they can start late with a supervisor.

    Does that sound reasonable or even legal? Ive said it doesnt sound very workable, nor fair - given you cant really rest or sleep properly with the thought of getting a call at 3am but legally Im not sure. Any ideas from any HR types please?

  2. #2
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    I’m not sure that being on call counts towards the WTD but maybe it depends on how likely you are to be contacted. I’ve been on call 24/7 in some of my roles.
    Last edited by Mr Curta; 15th January 2022 at 10:36.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post
    Iím not super that being on call counts towards the WTD but maybe it depends on how likely you are to be contacted. Iíve been on call 24/7 in some of my roles.
    They have said calls arent many at all overnight to be fair. Maybe its more a question of not being an attractive shift pattern as opposed to breaking any employment laws. Not sure if id fancy being on call let alone 24/7!

  4. #4
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    It kind of depends on how likely they are to get a call and what restrictions are in place do they have to be at home to riccive a call or be within x minutes of home or work, can they take alcohol or not etc.
    (This relates to how likely the on call time is to be counted as working time even without taking any calls)


    I’d suggest they talk to there union rep about it but I’d agree it certainly doesn’t sound like they are getting there 11 hours rest between shifts if they do t have a union then acas might help confirm

    As may these links
    https://www.peninsulagrouplimited.co...working-hours/

    https://www.acas.org.uk/the-maximum-...loyee-can-work

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
    It kind of depends on how likely they are to get a call and what restrictions are in place do they have to be at home to riccive a call or be within x minutes of home or work, can they take alcohol or not etc.
    (This relates to how likely the on call time is to be counted as working time even without taking any calls)


    Iíd suggest they talk to there union rep about it but Iíd agree it certainly doesnít sound like they are getting there 11 hours rest between shifts if they do t have a union then acas might help confirm

    As may these links
    https://www.peninsulagrouplimited.co...working-hours/

    https://www.acas.org.uk/the-maximum-...loyee-can-work
    Thats interesting, thanks. Calls can be sporadic but likely to increase overtime and must be answered within 20 mins of home or work. Its not specified but no alcohol can really be taken if needed to travel into work and really so you can deal with the nature of the calls without being impaired. I'll let my friend now.

  6. #6
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    I wasn't allowed to be "on call" until I had a break before doing it.

    https://www.unison.org.uk/content/up...g-in-ver12.pdf

    Not sure if Brexit or working for a government department may change this.

  7. #7
    Master stoneyloon's Avatar
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    Being on call is really common in my industry (oil and gas) and I've done it since moving onshore 23 years ago.
    I've never been paid extra for it until with my current employer. We are on call 24/7 for a week at a time and do our normal hours for the 5 weekdays we are on call.
    It is a pain if you get a call at 2 in the morning, especially if you have to sort something out immediately but it's not every week and I guess we're all used to it.

    I can't remember if I've opted out of the WTD at this job or not, certainly did previously....

    Cheers,

    Adam.

  8. #8
    Craftsman NCC66's Avatar
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    Itís possible to opt out of the WTD. I spent my entire career working shifts and calling people out. I and those I called, were fortunate in receiving a very health recompense for screwing our lives up.

    Whatís being proposed to your friend, doesnít actually sound all that bad to me. Thatís only my opinion though and now Iím no longer in that environment, I realise how much it impacted me and would never go back to it!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NCC66 View Post
    Itís possible to opt out of the WTD. I spent my entire career working shifts and calling people out. I and those I called, were fortunate in receiving a very health recompense for screwing our lives up.

    Whatís being proposed to your friend, doesnít actually sound all that bad to me. Thatís only my opinion though and now Iím no longer in that environment, I realise how much it impacted me and would never go back to it!
    To be fair, they can choose to be paid the additional rate on Saturday or take the day off in lieu and the oncall rate has been revised and the pay doesnt seem to bad to me with the number of calls they believe they would get

    Just the way things are these days in certain industries who operate 24/7. Whether they will agree depends what they value more with home/work life balance I guess.

  10. #10
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    I don't think it sounds bad. When you say Customs type role could you elaborate a little please?

    If it is work as an Agent or Broker completing customs declarations then I wouldn't expect the calls to come too often but that does also depend upon which routes and means of shipping are involved.

  11. #11
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    I used to do on call rotas in a previous role, we used to get a small supplement for being on call and then booked time at an enhanced rate if and when called. We did one week on one week off, I saw it as easy money with an occasional bit of inconvenience, the person on the other week hated it, the company then grew and had a permanent night shift.

    My current job has a shift pattern that is 14:30-22:30 then sleep on site in case of emergency from 22:30-08:00 then wake up and do 08:00-14:30 so on site for 24 hours but not necessarily working for all of it, in fact most nights they donít get called as we also have waking night workers so itís just in case of emergencies.
    There is a premium for the sleep shift but not sure what it is.

  12. #12
    I have lots of experience of EWTD having worked and on call rota for the NHS continuously since 1998 !

    This page from the BMA is very useful
    https://www.bma.org.uk/pay-and-contr...time-directive

    The basic rules are
    Time AT WORK PHYSICALLY is Work and not "On-call", so a non-resident shift is On-call, not Work.
    If you are allowed to go home and be at home on the phone, but you happen to live 100 miles away and have to stay in a hotel, then this is usually On-call, not Work.
    This is that basis of the SiMAP and Jaeger rulings ages ago, and what ruined things for the NHS !!
    If you are on-call, but you have to be in the building, then every hour waiting for the phone to ring is Work.
    ALSO: when you are rung at night when non-resident on-call (not at Work), then the phone call and all the things you say and do counts as Work !

    as for sleeping when you're on-call, don't worry, you'll get used to it. Just put the phone on the bedside table and treat it as a normal night.
    Although I've done this for 24 years, and I appreciate it is a learned skill!

    So once you've defined On-call (non resident) and Work, then the rules are:

    11 hours rest a day. - ie maximum Work shift is 13 hours continuously.
    a day off each week - no 7 day shift patterns,
    a rest break if the Working day is longer than six hours - these are the so called comfort-breaks for food, bathroom, etc.
    5.6 weeks paid leave each year.

    further enforced in the UK by mandating:
    a limit of an average of 48 hours worked per week, over a reference period, ie averaged out. You can do more hours one week if the next you do less.
    a limit of 8 hours worked in every 24-hour period for night work (Work not non-resident on-call)
    a weekly rest period of 24 hours every week
    an entitlement to 11 hours consecutive rest per day
    an entitlement to a minimum 20-minute rest break where the working day is longer than 6 hours
    a requirement on the employer to keep records of hours worked.

    Your shift pattern could be nasty, because you have a period of Work and on-call over Fri-SAt, but then followed by a huge on-call period until Monday. If you were called a lot, then this would break the rules really quickly. Is the on-call non-resident and how often is the phone likely to ring.

    Work diaries might be needed if this is enforced, and are in fact mandated to ensure compliance.

    As soon as you opt-out, you give up all rights to protection and you basically say to the employer "murder me"

    We sort of opt-out as Consultants, and I easily work 65 hours a week, but my on-calls are all non-resident (I was on-call last night) and I get rung about 20% of the nights and, only have to drive in to work 10% of the time. We have a voluntary agreement with our employer and we write our own rota, but the work still needs doing. Our pay bonus for the non-resident on-call time is about 6% of the monthly pay packet for a 1 in 12 rota. (12 people sharing the work)

    HTH
    Last edited by The Doc; 18th January 2022 at 10:21.

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