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Where can I find legal/Equity guidelines on working hours of technical


Napoleon

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I've searched but haven't been able to find guidelines on how to manage working hours for technical staff. The questions I have are:

 

1. How long can you work without a break?

2. How many hours can you work in one day?

3. How far in advance do you have to arrange your hours? (Eg. Do you have to be told by Monday if you will be working late on a Tuesday?)

 

If you could answer these questions or point me to a web page, that would be great!

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The working time directive will have a large input to your policy, as would any standing agreements with unions. Where no agreement exists perusal of other agreements might suggest a best practice you could follow.
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Questions 1 and 2 would be largely answered by searching for the European Working Time Directive - with your contract of employment having a bearing on 1 with regard to things like overtime payments for break infringements.

 

Question 3 is something that's determined by whatever contractual agreement is in place between you and your employer.

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Most people get you to opt out of the EWTD, so if you are willing, you can do whatever hours you wish and negotiate suitable compensation. If, however, you really are trying to reduce the hours they wish you to work, perhaps you might find the hours completely reduced if you play up. What you are entitled to doesn't really stack up to what really happens. My daughter in law gave up the entertainment business and now works in an office she works 8.30 to 7 or 8 each day, with no lunch break. They all eat at their desk, the office never closes and yet she gets a basic for a 37 hour week. If she doesn't wish to do it, she would really have to leave. If you've been there over a year, you have some protection, but even then, they can do all sorts of things to make life a misery, without breaking employment law.
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Most people get you to opt out of the EWTD

 

I think that's overstating it a bit, Paul. An employer can, if they wish, *ask* an employee whether they'd be willing to opt-out of the framework of the Working Time Directive. Such an opt-out can be temporary for a fixed period, or permanent for the duration of a contract ; it must be agreed in writing between employer and employee ; and it's entirely voluntary, with no obligation on the part of the employee and absolutely no right on the part of the employer to treat the employee any differently, or to discriminate in any way at all, if they elect not to undertake such an opt-out.

 

Personally, I often choose to waive my right to the 48-hour weekly maximum (and, to a lesser extent, the daily and weekly rest entitlements) under the EWTD - but that's because I get paid a decent rate of overtime to compensate for it (which makes production weeks very lucrative ;)). However, I, like many local authority employees, am currently awaiting the outcome of my employer's decision as to how they're going to implement Single Status across the workforce. It's an unknown at the moment, but there's every chance that its implementation will obliterate overtime premium payments as we know them at the moment - that's something which is going to make my colleagues and myself far less inclined (that's to say, not inclined at all!) to work a 60-hour production week, which in turn is going to have a major effect on how such things are scheduled and staffed. But I digress ...

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I must admit that maybe to say "most employers" was probably inaccurate,but every job my son has done where he's worked in venues and places where they insist on PAYE status for everyone has handed each new person the form as a matter of course. None of these jobs paid a premium for over hours either! A couple did hint, no form, no job.
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There's a couple of holiday centres near me that have an amazing hire 'em fire 'em attitude - and I suspect the local authorities could well be the best people to work for. Even General Managers are not safe - job security doesn't exist. They're not all like this, another local one has a really good record and very good people.
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So to answer the OP's direct questions:

 

Assuming that you have not signed away any of your rights under the Working time Directive, are 18 or over and are not party to any specific agreements that alter your normal rights:

1: You are entitled to one 20-minute break per day as long as you work more that 6 hours. There is no specific requirement in the regulation as to where in the shift that break falls.

2: While the act does not specify a maximum, it does require that you get 11 hours rest in every 24 hours, which implies a maximum of 13 hours on a regular basis. Although longer shifts are possible on an infrequent basis.

3: There's no regulation that specifies this.

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