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CONTRACT - pressure to accept 48h week limit doesn´t apply

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Hi,

 

I´m a creative that has been freelancing with a company for roughly 6 months.

 

I started as a freelancer with the promise of a permanent contract that took 6 long months to materialise. I have finally been offered a contract that´s almost 20 pages long (my longest one to date had 6 pages) with the weirdest clauses.

 

One of the them regarding working hours states:

 

a) Your normal hours of work are 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday inclusive. You are, however, expected to work such additional hours as may be required for the proper performance of your duties. You will not be paid overtime.

 

b) You agree that the 48 hour maximum working week limit in regulation 4 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 shall not apply to You. During your employment You may give the Company three months' written notice that You wish this opt out to cease to apply.

 

 

Now, provided I get all materials I need from other departments my work is always done on time, no need for extra hours.

 

I have in the past worked longer hours because someone didn´t do their job and their incompetence dragged to extending my work day up to 2-3 hours making it a 10-12h day- which I don´t intend to experience again.

 

I don´t mind occasionally working longer hours if and when needed but only when it´s my choice to stay late.

 

I have flagged this with HR and also said I wasn´t interested in accepting to work more than 48 hours a week - clause b)

 

The reply I got is that it´s a standard clause in a standard contract and that clause b) is written in the contract as a "default by law" - and that if I wish to refuse I´ll have to give 3 months notice to do so but they cannot take the clause out of the contract.

 

It seems unintelligible to me that I´ll have to be a slave - should the company wish so - for 3 months until I opt out of that clause when I´m flagging it before I sign the contract.

 

Is this really the law or are they bluntly trying take advantage of me?

 

Advice please...

 

Thanks in advance!

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they can remove the clause at the outset if they want to.

 

you can score through it and initial it.

 

but the "hours required to do the job" clause above it kinds negates the arguement.. and is common for jobs at your level.


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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All seems perfectly normal and legal as you are being offered the opt by way of a contract, you have the right to refuse it. If they were to not offer you the job under the new terms solely because you refused the opt out that would bring rise to a claim under the WTD in my opinion (but would you actually want to test this?)

 

as far as the overtime clause that is also standard as long as the extra hours are paid (prob standard rate) as you can't be forced to work without pay

 

You have two options, write back telling them you are happy to accept the contract with the opt out removed or sign and you have then agreed to it.

 

The real question is what would the company do if you do refuse, some will say fine, others may your life less happy and others will be a total bunch of [insert whatever profanity you wish] Only you have any idea on this.

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as far as the overtime clause that is also standard as long as the extra hours are paid (prob standard rate) as you can't be forced to work without pay

 

.

 

Um, it's a salaried not per hour job as I read it - so no extra cash unless the overtine takes hourly rate below minimum wage.


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Well that´s my worry - why would a company demand me to sign such clause if they didn´t intend to explore it to its fullest?

 

I know my work will be done on time and I have stayed longer to cover for others. It´s seems to me that´d be self-explanatory to a good employer with good intentions.

 

It´s very odd that it needs to be written down that I automatically agree to deny such a basic right of not being made to work more than 48hrs a week.

 

I requested for that clause to be taken out and the response I got was "We can´t take it out, it´s standard law to have it in the contract therefore it´s not negotiable."...

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They're confused about the 'standard law'.

Considering that the WTR has been in place since 1998 they really don't have much excuse for failing to get to grips with it by now.

 

The correct version is that the maximum average working hours per week is 48.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1998/1833/regulation/4/made

 

If you choose to do so, you can elect to opt out of the maximum 48 hour week.

But it's your choice.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1998/1833/regulation/5/made

 

They can't penalise you for refusing to agree to opt out of the 48maximum working week.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1998/1833/regulation/31/made

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My contract states the same, but my employer has never demanded I work 48 hours :)

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