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My employer wants me to provide unpaid out of hours support, can they do this?

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serenzrp | 16:43 Wed 17th Sep 2008 | Jobs & Education
4 Answers
My current employer has recently branched out into a new business venture which requires someone working extra hours on a regular basis.

My current contract says I work 9 to 5, 5 days a week with a half-hour for lunch. This new business venture is like Avon or Tupperware and what my boss has done is given me a mobile phone, given that phone's number to all the salespeople and told me my contract has been changed so that I now, in addition to my 9 to 5 job, also support these salespeople from 6pm to 10pm each evening and also from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

When I said this was a lot of extra hours for no extra pay just to keep my job with them, they informed me that I shouldn't expect to get many calls and so this was reasonable for them to change my contract for me to provide this service. I've also been told that as I'll be also working from home, I'm not allowed to drink, take drugs and must have my new work mobile phone on at all times and answer it within 4 rings.

I feel this is completely unreasonable and would like to know where I stand. I've not signed any new paperwork and have no intention to unless I absolutely have to because I have a mortgage to pay. Surely this can't be legal for my employer to do this? Is there anything in the European Human Rights Charter I can mention? I'm really worried about this. Thanks in advance for any help.

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First you should contact the Citizens advice centre or your local law centre.

But my 2 bob for what its worth:

If your contract is in writing, and you have a copy - refuse to comply and point to the contract of employment which is a legal document. If at any point you are spoken to or warned as to your conduct take in a collegue as a witness and minute it, try to get it signed by all parties.

If you should be dismissed contact a solicitor. If it persists and you should leave you have a strong case for constructive dismissal.

If you have been employed for less than two years contact the Ministry of employment (or whatever they are called these days) and check your rights.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) offers free, confidential and impartial advice on all employment rights issues. You can call the Acas helpline on 08457 47 47 47 from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday.
so your employer thinks they have the right to keep you on call for most of the waking hours you have daily, dictate what you can and can't do in your own time - and not pay you for it?!! i don't think so. tell them to get stuffed, pay you for it or find some other sucker to do so. i bet its not in your contract and is pretty much unacceptable whichever way it is looked at. acas and the cab or a solicitor will be able to set your rights out for you and i'd love to watch you telling them to stuff it! good luck x
by the way - as you have already been given the mobile phone and not officially refused to do the extra hours - stop now! the longer you continue to comply with the extra demands of your boss may make it look like you have been compliant with the changes. go give them the mobile phone back, say you are not happy and are checking out your employment and personal rights before accepting any changes in contract - as is your human right to do so. also - are you a member of a union? if you are call them now, too...

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My employer wants me to provide unpaid out of hours support, can they do this?

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