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Tom87

Lunch breaks & permission to sit down at work

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Two quick questions, thanks in advance for any help.

 

1) My working day is from 9:00am to 6:30pm. We are entitled to just 20 minutes' unpaid break around lunchtime, and no breaks at any other time (except quick toilet breaks). Is this legally enough, given the very long working day?

 

2) It is a retail environment. The boss insists that all employees remain standing up at all times, to "look professional". This even includes when there are no customers whatsoever in the shop, and anyway to be honest I don't think the customer could care less whether you were standing or sitting at the till. It is incredibly exhausting standing up for 9 and a half hours...if we were moving around it would be OK, but standing up in exactly the same place without moving from the till for this length of time is physically painful and exhausting.

 

Are either of these two issues OK legally? Is the boss allowed to declare that we may not sit down for this length of time, irrespective of any individual's health situation etc.?

 

Re: question 1, no-one actually ever takes this 20 minute break in reality, because the clocking-in/out system is done on a 15-minute rota basis: so if you clock out at 1pm and clock back in at 1:20 after your break, you don't get paid until 1:30. So people either take a 10-minute break (to guarantee being back before the 15 minutes is up) or no break at all.

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what does it say in you're "contract of employment" concerning breaks?

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Hi,

 

The Working Time Regulations 1998 state

 

If daily working time is more than six hours, adult workers are entitled to a minimum break of 20 uninterrupted minutes. They must be able to take this break away from their workstation.

 

 

So if you are taking shorter breaks because you do not get paid for the 5 minutes then your employer is breaking the law.

 

As far as I know there is no stipulation regarding posture during working time as long as you are not in a special needs class of person ie pregnant or suffer from a disability that would render you incabable of standing for a working day.

 

Beau


Please note: I am not a lawyer and as such any advice I give is purely from a laymans point of view;-)

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what does it say in you're "contract of employment" concerning breaks?

 

Nothing.

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Hi, just thought I`d sub to this, as this sounds quite interesting.

 

What does your contract say about standing/sitting?

 

Are there any other policies scattered around the shop/store?


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so what does it say in you're "contract of employment" about hours of work and standing up.

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do you belong to a union ie USDAW or not?

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Also, is the shop part of a nationwide chain, or is it a private shop ran by some empty head, with an empty head?


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Just another angle on the standing problem.

 

Do you have a Health & Safety Officer or a person in charge of Health & Safety ? We all are responsible for H&S at work.

 

You could find out if there is a Risk Assessment for standing in your employers work place.

 

You could raise the issue with your line manager ?

 

Beau


Please note: I am not a lawyer and as such any advice I give is purely from a laymans point of view;-)

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There should be a risk assessment of the job, this must be carried out for every job, regardless if the person has a health issue or not.

 

Every person who is able (physically) to mobilise should do so at least once an hour. - Although this is a recommendation, it is not law.

 

If a person does have a health issue which would be exacerbated by remaining stationary for long periods of time they should have "reasonable adjustments" made.


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I work in the nhs and only get 20 minutes from half seven in the morning till ten to three, we are supposed to finish at half passed two but have to pay the 20 minute break back, its the same for the late shift but we get half an hour at seven at night, thats after starting at quarter to one in the afternoon, and finishing at half passed nine at night. The union isnt interested so its accepted. As far as sitting is concerned, if we need to sit for a few minutes, even while busy we will, as long as the work is getting done there is no problem, i think the person in charge needs to be sensible about this, as sometimes you just need to sit. But I too am interested if there is any legal information here?

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I work in the nhs and only get 20 minutes from half seven in the morning till ten to three, we are supposed to finish at half passed two but have to pay the 20 minute break back, its the same for the late shift but we get half an hour at seven at night, thats after starting at quarter to one in the afternoon, and finishing at half passed nine at night. The union isnt interested so its accepted. As far as sitting is concerned, if we need to sit for a few minutes, even while busy we will, as long as the work is getting done there is no problem, i think the person in charge needs to be sensible about this, as sometimes you just need to sit. But I too am interested if there is any legal information here?

 

As I posted in post 3 I believe there is no legal "standing" excuse the pun.

 

Also the point here as ErikaPNP pointed out there should be a Risk Assessment for the Job. This would show what "risks" were involved in doing the task and it would be then down to the employer to minimise any risk to its employees.

 

Beau


Please note: I am not a lawyer and as such any advice I give is purely from a laymans point of view;-)

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Quite simply, the boss here is a clown who himself is, unprofessional.

 

Some people prefer to stand at works, others prefer to sit.

 

I honestly don`t think anyone ever has anything in their contract regarding seating/standing arrangements.

 

If he expects his staff to stand all day, then that could be considered unfair, especially when he, himself will be sitting on his arse in a back room.

 

Till operators at Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys all have seats at their disposal, and these stores are VERY professional. The boss is NOT professional. One could say he is a bully even.

 

What does Tom87 say? He/She`s gone very quiet.


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Sounds very much like when my partners works, she had the same problem and the manager would not give her a seat to to sit at tills despite two different OT confirming that she should have a seat due to a disability. My partner to take out grievance and even then they do not comply which was clearly a breach of health and safety act. All USDAW said was for to keep putting in grievance so they were just useless and more of a hindrance therefore she got rid of them why pay union subs when you need help and they are more interested in looking after the employer.

 

Anyway due to my partners GP and her taking action directly herself she still employed and has a seat to site on at tills.

 

Speak to your line manager and if that does not work.....asked to an OT if there is on where you work....if there is an OT make a request to see one of them and tell OT that you have difficult is standing all day long with very little breaks and see what they say. If that does not work go an see you doctor and tell him/her that that you have difficulty standing at work and a seat should be provided....your GP will advised the OT accordingly.

Edited by Allwood

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I always thought that if you worked over 6 hours, you were entitled to one hour dinner, depending on how many hours you're working? I know that part is normally included in your working contract, but, are you saying that 9 and a half hours you only get 20 mins break? That is so wrong!

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being an employer i have to keep in line with ACAS, Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. i find i have to adhere to at least these regulations.

 

The Working Time Regulations.

Which provides you with the rights to:

 

  • a limit of an average 48 hours a week on the hours you can be required to work, though you may choose to work longer
  • 5.6 weeks' paid leave a year
  • 11 consecutive hours' rest in any 24-hour period
  • a 20 minute rest break if your working day is longer than six hours
  • one day off each week
  • a limit on the normal working hours of night workers to an average eight hours in any 24-hour period, and an entitlement for night workers to receive regular health assessments.

but iam nice to work for,:D my employess in eight hours get 45 mins to there own choosing,:) at my expence.:mad:

 

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Hi all!

 

Sorry for my prolongued absence, I was away for a few days but am back now (obviously!).

 

Thank you for all your advice, and it's great to have several people contribute: the more opinions/angles, the better.

 

Skonk: Yes, you have understood it perfectly. 9 1/2 hours work, all standing up, with 20 minutes' unpaid break, which in reality is just under 15 minutes because we won't get paid for the remaining 10 mins if we take all 20 mins for the break. E.g. Start lunch break at 1pm, back to work at 1:20, means we won't be paid until 1:30. So we take just under 15 minutes so we can be paid from 1:15...or we just don't take a break at all, because it takes a good 5 minutes to sort things out and get out of the workplace and go to the staffroom or to your car and another 5 mins coming back in.

 

Work starts at 9am. If we arrive at 9:01, we don't get paid until 9:15, as the clocking in machine measures in quarters. So we can be working for up to 14 minutes unpaid. Surely this is illegal? Yes, it's your responsibility for arriving to work on time, but even if you are late, you should still be paid from the minute you get there...shouldn't you?

 

Likewise: work finishes at 6:30pm. If we clock out at 6:29, we will only be paid up to 6:15. Again, up to 14 minutes' unpaid work.

 

Yes, the big boss is one of those people who sits on his arse all day in a big comfy chair in a backroom, doing what appears to be very little at a computer.

 

The business is an individual business, not a chain. Sadly I am not in a union, but I am only a part-time summer worker for this particular business. Does the fact that I'm part-time change anything regarding lunch breaks or unpaid work? Perhaps some of my full-time colleagues are in a union, but I don't know.

 

Thanks.

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I just can't get over the fact you don't get a dinner break! Most jobs I been in, from 9-6 gave you 15 mins in the morning, a 45 min lunch break and 20 mins afternoon break. I'm sure dinner breaks are normally part of your written contract, depending on who you work for. From what I can gather from the working times regulations stated on here above, as long as you get your 20 mins if you work 6 or more hours, then that's all they're legally obliged to give, although not letting you have an unpaid dinner hour seems very unfair.

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hello tom

i can't really help you much but i think i may noticed something that hasn't been picked up by others, if i'm wrong ignore me and sorry those who did :).

 

in post 11 you say "we are supposed to finish at half passed two but have to pay the 20 minute break back"

 

does this mean your employer 'lets' you have a so-called 20 mins (out the goodness of their heart!?) but you must make it up at the end of the day? in effect, stripping you of any entilted breaks completely?

 

sounds like your boss needs more staff but is too tight to pay for the labour so has decided to work everyone to death!

 

hope things work out in your favour.

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This is Greivance material Tom87. Your employer is breaking the law full stop.

 

We can help you, dont let employer ge away with this !!

 

Beau


Please note: I am not a lawyer and as such any advice I give is purely from a laymans point of view;-)

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hello tom

i can't really help you much but i think i may noticed something that hasn't been picked up by others, if i'm wrong ignore me and sorry those who did :).

 

in post 11 you say "we are supposed to finish at half passed two but have to pay the 20 minute break back"

 

does this mean your employer 'lets' you have a so-called 20 mins (out the goodness of their heart!?) but you must make it up at the end of the day? in effect, stripping you of any entilted breaks completely?

 

sounds like your boss needs more staff but is too tight to pay for the labour so has decided to work everyone to death!

 

hope things work out in your favour.

 

 

Actually it was Rusty24 who entered that post.

 

Still, there doesn`t seem to be anything that states they should get paid for their 20 min break.

 

They are still having their 20 min break, but they are paying it back later, so the bell end of a boss is not paying them for the break.

 

But, they Law states 20 mins in any 6 hours, which means, you could work for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 hours then have a 20 min break, then work for another 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 hours.

 

If you work 12 hour shifts, they can still get away with only 1, 20 min break, and I don`t beleive the company has to pay you.

 

The whole system should be challenged, because it simply sucks!

 

Also, the fact you may be only a temp (or whatever) shoud not make any difference at all. If you work the same hours as everyone else, you are entitled to the same benefits.

 

Perhaps it may be time to bite the bullet and move on? :(

Edited by N.P

If I have helped or made you laugh in any way in your hour of need, then please click my scales <<<<<<<<<< ;)

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hello tom

i can't really help you much but i think i may noticed something that hasn't been picked up by others, if i'm wrong ignore me and sorry those who did :).

 

in post 11 you say "we are supposed to finish at half passed two but have to pay the 20 minute break back"

 

does this mean your employer 'lets' you have a so-called 20 mins (out the goodness of their heart!?) but you must make it up at the end of the day? in effect, stripping you of any entilted breaks completely?

 

sounds like your boss needs more staff but is too tight to pay for the labour so has decided to work everyone to death!

 

hope things work out in your favour.

 

Thats exactly what it means, its the same for other shifts too, we get half an hour break at sevenoclock at night when we have been on since quarter to one and that half hour is added on to the shift to pay it back. The argument is that if we want a dinner break say, we would have to stop longer to pay that back too.

And yes they are very short staffed, with people leaving all the time it seems.

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This place just sounds like it's breaking the law at every opportunity. Personally, I'd leave, but I know how dificult it is to find a job these days, Have you got a contract?.

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Funny you mention contract, Iv just got a copy we think of the sister I worked with today, Iv only been there a couple of years and this is the first time Iv seen one. Im going to have a look over the next few days. And yes There are a lot of us on the lookout for other jobs all the time.

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This place just sounds like it's breaking the law at every opportunity. Personally, I'd leave, but I know how dificult it is to find a job these days, Have you got a contract?.

 

 

As in my previous post, they probably aren`t breaking any Laws at all, even though it sounds really bad.

 

You can work a 12 hour shift, and still only get away with a 20 min break if you have your break half way through the shift. You would then only be working 5 hour 50 mins either side of your break.

 

The none seating could be seen as unfair though, as their really isn`t a problem with sitting down on the job, as the job could be done either sitting OR standing.

 

Also, they in fact would not be required to pay you for your break, as you are not actually working during that time. Similar as if you had a longer break and you were allowed to leave the premises, some companies require you to clock out and in again during that particular break.

 

If you clock in late and wouldn`t be paid again for another 10 mins or so, although it is your responsibility to arrive at work on time, they can`t make you work unpaid. So, don`t start for another 10 mins, when you will be getting paid for it.


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