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Day in Lieu Problems

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kurosaki88 | 11:43 Sat 12th Mar 2011 | Jobs
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My friend is employed as a computer engineer and works overtime on Saturdays and is on call Sundays on 1 or 2 weekends a month (not consecutive). His employer gives all the drivers a Day in Lieu when they work the overtime on weekends. Until recently, these Lieu Days were 'days off' but now all the drivers have been told that they have to be on call during those days.This has made it so if they work all day Saturday and Sunday and get called out on the Lieu Day, it could accumilate to 12 days work without a break. Unfortunately, none of the drivers have signed a contract but I need some advice on this. My friend is totally stressed out and wants to leave this company, as quite a few of them have already.

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Has he, as an engineer, signed a contract?
IMO a new contract stating that weekends are no long longer Lieu days needs to be set up. It may also effect how much he and the other employees are paid.
Question Author
No, he has not signed a contract. I had failied to point out that engineer/driver are the same thing as all the engineers are basically on the road all day. I am more concerned about the amount of consecutive days he has to work without having a break, as most days he is working from 6am until 5pm. This also means he does not have much of a life, which his employers do not seem to take into account...
Has he opted out of the Working Time Directive?
The fact that he hasn't signed a contract probably isn't relevant- a contract exists based on all sorts of things- offer letters, employment handbooks, notices, custom and practice, etc
Whenever one person is employed by another a contract exists between them. (If you offer me a fiver to do your shopping, and I accept, we've both entered into a legally binding contract).

While employers are not required to provide employees with a 'written contract', per se, they MUST (by law) provide all employees with a 'written statement of employment particulars' within two months of the employee starting work for the employer.
http://www.direct.gov...dConditions/DG_175704

Further, no employee can be forced to work more than 48 hours per week, when averaged out over a 17-week period. However individual employees can opt out of that limit as long as they do so voluntarily and in writing.:
http://www.direct.gov...ndTimeOff/DG_10029426

Working 12 days in a row is legally permitted but it would have to be followed by two days of rest. (Employees must either have a minimum of one day in seven off, or two consecutive days in fourteen):
http://www.direct.gov...ndTimeOff/DG_10029451

ACAS operate a help line, for employment issues, from 0800 to 2000 Monday to Friday, and from 0900 to 1300 on Saturday. Telephone 08457 47 47 47.

Chris
I can't add much to what's already been said except to support the idea to call the ACAS help line or to suggets your friend asks for a meeting with the manager or HR person and explain the problem.

Its not fair to be on call on lieu days. There needs to be some proper rest/relaxation days buit in here somewhere and I sympathise completely. Hope it works out without having to leave.

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