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I work as a field service engineer and my contract states that I am home based.
I live approximately 50 miles from head office but due to roadworks and congestion this drive usually takes from 75 to 120 minutes and am expected to travel into the office to collect and return items. In the last few months I have been required to work at head office regularly due to lack of call outs.

I am contracted for 40 hours per week and anything above this is paid at overtime rate.
Recently as I say, I can be in the office most of the week and I have to be there for 9am which means I must leave home around 7-7.30am but I do not get paid until 9am and cannot leave till 5pm meaning I don't get home till 6-30pm ish

My contract as I said, is home based and says my usual place fo work is my home address and mentions nothing about working at the office.
Overall if I work in the office most of the month I am effectively working an extra 3 hours per day so 60 hours per month that I do not get paid for.

Is this legal?

I feel that I should either have to leave home at 9 and arrive around 10-30am or get paid from when I leave home until I return

 

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Under present UK government guidelines, time spent travelling at work does count towards your working hours. However “normal travel to and from work” and “travelling outside normal working hours” does not.

https://www.bishopandsewell.co.uk/2015/10/05/when-is-commuting-time-working-time/

 

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Andy


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I understand this but my contract states my normal place of work is my home address so I should get paid from when I leave home shouldn't I? My role is field service, not office based. When I am out in the field I am paid from leaving home to returning.

My issue is, not only do I often have to work in the office sometimes but I often have to travel to the office to collect items before a job which could then be 200 miles away and so I drive to work, then start getting paid ( as I said, a good hour or two commute to work) and then travel to the job. If I leave home and go straight to the job I get paid for the full day.

I hope this make sense

 

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It's helpful if you stick to one thread. 

You have been working there for six months. What was said when you raised this issue on the many occasions it happened over the past six months? 

Contracts are not what you think they are. They are not a few sheets of paper, even if they (incorrectly) say contract at the top. They are the written statement of main particulars (that's those papers I just mentioned) plus all sorts of policies, practices and customary things. So if you have been traveling to the office for many occasions in the last nearly six months, you'll have raised your objection to this practice on many occasions? If not, you've effectively accepted the practice and there's probably very little you can do about it. 

 

Very little you can do about it, also, because you have no employment protection  and your employer is (according to what you've said) looking to get rid of you anyway, AND there's obviously not enough work anyway. This isn't "writing on the wall" - it's skywriting in multiple colours with the Red Arrows! Get out. Get out now.

 

It is possible that after you have got out, you might be able to raise a claim for payment for these hours. But it's likely to have to go to a tribunal (for jurisdiction - it isn't straightforwardly a debt), not small claims, and it's likely to get messy. On the other hand, you might some sort of compromise position and get something just to avoid the costs of a tribunal. I can't guarantee that. However, right now, if you want to exit your employment even faster than it appears you already are, raise it as a grievance with your employer! If you can't afford unemployment, and few people can, keep your head down and hang on to your job as long as you can. Then when you have a new job, consider whether it's a fight you want to take on. And don't forget, if they do dismiss you, an employer can still screw with you - it's called a reference. So my advice is head down and hope you can last until you find something else. Not palatable perhaps, but neither is Universal Credit. 

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I have raised this with my employer but each time I get told I knew this when I accepted the job and my reply is always that I did but I also knew I was field service and don't work from the office. Obviously being on probation means that I can't push the issue. Time to start job hunting I think.

 

Thanks again for your help

 

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Unfortunately that probably means that you don't legally have a case. They've told you repeatedly that this is how your working time is arrived at, and you don't get travel time to the office. If you didn't accept that then it was on you to formally object. Had the travel been to anywhere else, you could have possibly made a stronger argument, but given its your employers office the argument is weaker - especially since it also seems that you are not entirely "field based" and have been working significant amounts of time at / from the office. 

 

There are two lessons to draw from this. Three really. Lesson one - clarify your terms of employment before starting a job or, if you  can't, as soon as possible; and if you don't agree then you must do something about that or you are effectively accepting the terms no matter what you think the contract says or means.

 

Lesson two - probation is meaningless (and you are still discussing it like it matters). With the exception of a few circumstances such as unlawful discrimination, you can be sacked even without a reason anytime in the first two years. Thinking that something changes when you complete probation is a huge mistake. Nothing changes.

 

Lesson three - join a union. If there's anything that can be done (and sometimes there simply isn't - the law isn't generally on your side, especially not in the first two years) then you need someone to back you up. 

Edited by sangie5952

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