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Deduction of Wages


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I'm a driver for a pharmacy, I work part-time anything from 4.5 - 7 hours per day.

 

Last month we received a memo saying that if we worked 6 hours or more in a day we would have half an hour deducted from our pay, that this was the law and it was non-negotiable. The memo went on to say that it was nothing to do with the working time directive but instead came under the domestic driver rules.

 

I checked out these domestic driver rules and they say that if you are driving for 5.5 hours you must take a 30 minute break. The thing is I'm never driving for more than 4 hours so this can't apply to me.

 

I got my payslip yesterday and sure enough they've deducted 2.5 hours for the 6 hour shifts I did last month.

 

What should I do about this? I haven't been there long enough for a tribunal, and this has come straight from one of the directors so any form of grievance procedure would be a waste of time.

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Hello. I'm not sure what you're asking exactly. You say you never drive for more than 4 hours and then you say you did 6 hour shifts last month. Have I missed something please? Would it be practical for you to take the 30 minute lunch break and continue your round afterwards?

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Well I start work at 4pm, we're supposed to be out of the depot by 5pm but that never happens it's usually 5:30 at the earliest. So that's at least 1.5 hours each day I'm not driving. My job is delivering to care homes, so all the time I spend in the homes isn't counted towards driving time either.

 

I don't take a lunch break. This is purely about them taking a part of the domestic driver rules, changing it a bit and using their own version to try to cut down on the wage bill.

 

What I want to know is what course of action can I take against them? Since my efforts to resolve it informally have ended in the lovely HR lady at head office screaming at me down the phone that it's not negotiable.

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I have to say that this sounds the most suitable solution. The employer is saying that breaks are mandatory, so take them!

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I doubt in this case that ACAS will be of much use - driving legislation will be outside of their remit.

 

I don't see any other route than to raise a grievance challenging their use of the legislation. As far as I am aware, as a driver carrying out van driving duties for 4 hours or less of driving time, even GB domestic drivers' rules do not apply. Even if they did, then the only restrictions are a maximum duty time of 11 hours and a maximum driving time of 10 hours in a 24 hour period.

 

The Working Time Directive specific to Mobile Workers however IS applicable, but states that you must have a break of at least 30 minutes AFTER 6 hours of work (but not driving) or a 45 minute break after 4.5 hours of driving. Therefore, if your total shift time is 6 hours or less, and you are not driving for more than 4.5 hours, then the employer cannot deduct 30 minutes pay on LEGAL grounds. What they would appear to have done is masquerade a contract change to make the 30 minute unpaid break a contractual requirement rather than a legal requirement. Exactly as you suspected I think?

 

So, Grievance letter, asking for the precise legal statute under which they have amended your contract to make a 30 minute unpaid break mandatory when your shift does not exceed 6 hours. If no legal requirement exists for such a break to be taken, then complain that this constitutes an Unlawful Deduction from your wages. Don't argue with the HR lady - she hasn't a clue. This should be answered by the Transport Manager/CPC holder at your employer for they should be aware of the relevant legislation and how it is applied.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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