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Idea employment contracts

2 years 10 months ago #40378 by Cookaburra
I know there are people on here who know a bit about this sort of thing. This year the school has decided to disaggregate the two PD days that would have been the Monday and Tuesday before the summer break. The teaching staff have been required to participate in meetings, training etc at the end of their days to make up the extra hours. We, however, have been asked to make up the hours in our own time after we finish (1645hrs in my case) or at the weekends, but this has to be training related and not just doing the job. They tell us we can use the teachers' sessions if they are appropriate but only if it falls outside our working hours - which it doesn't. My question is, as my contracts states a 37 hour week, 40 weeks a year, can they make us do this?

This is apart from the fact that we don't usually do training on the PD days anyway apart from safeguarding etc, we usually get on with what needs doing. As I have been a technician for getting on for 20 years I'm not sure what training I could usefully do after 5 o'clock at night or at weekends.

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2 years 10 months ago - 2 years 10 months ago #40379 by TecHKnow
The simple answer is NO
Okay, now here comes the explanation bit.

We, however, have been asked to make up the hours in our own time after we finish (1645hrs in my case) or at the weekends, but this has to be training related and not just doing the job.


There is the important part. Your contract says that you do 37 hour week, 40 weeks a year. So if you are actually working those hours during a typical week and your contract states what your start and finish time are, then they cannot make you work outside of those hours.

Now without a full inspection of your contract, if you have been working your hours in certain way through agreement or even custom and practice, then management would have to make every effort to reach an agreement with you if they wish to propose any change to this. Any change should also be reasonable and also such change should have clear business reasons,

They are also required to give you at least twelve weeks notice in writing if they wish to make the change. This is to allow you the opportunity to file any appropriate grievances or perhaps make any appropriate changes to your lifestyle to accommodate such change - if you decided to go ahead and do this.

Let me give you two examples here of what we mean by a reasonable change.
Let's say a company is making a product and the workers have a standard nine to five contract. The company now has won a big contract. To fulfill that contract, the business now decides to change the contract terms of its employees that they must now do shift work around the clock. That is defined as a clear business reason because the company needs to make such a change in order to honor the contract.

Now here is an example of an unreasonable business change. This one is actually true and concerns myself. I work 0815 -1615, Monday to Friday. Other non-teaching staff members work 0845 - 1645. On Monday's and Tuesdays after work, I head down to my City radio studio and do a two and a half hour radio broadcast from 1630-1900. Management decided that they wanted to standardize every non teaching staff member contract so that everybody now starts at 0830 - 1630, which you can see from my example would not suit me at all. I wrote to management as a grievance explaining my refusal to comply with the request and i cited as my excuse that their request was unreasonable - effectively a unreasonable and unfair demand on my personal time and commitments to my local radio station and secondly there was no business reason for them to make such a change. In other words, the College where I work, could not lose any money or be at any detrimental loss by the fact that I refused to agree to their change

So what do you need to do?

If you understood my two examples above, you need to write to management as a Grievance stating your reasons for refusing to comply with their request. it is best if all of you do this collectively. This is because it will add considerable weight to your case. Secondly, you need to ask management to provide their business reasons (not just that it makes it convenient for some person) why they need to make this change. Such business reasons must clearly show that by failing to make the change, your workplace will be at a serious financial loss (or serious loss of work output leading to a financial loss). If they ask why, then your reply should include that you need to run this past your solicitor. Then tell them, if your solicitor agrees with management and recommends that you agree to this change, you will of course comply.

After taking this approach, management effectively have dropped the idea and I continue to work 0815-1615 and I continue to do my radio show on Monday and Tuesday.

In final, remember, management must negotiate reasonably with each person who is affected by this change and they must also be seen to take each persons concerns seriously into consideration, before even trying to force through any change.


Hope this helps

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2 years 10 months ago #40404 by DampSquib
We have something similar - but the time is in lieu of CPD inset days that we had as holiday (domiciliary days, ie having the day off before Christmas hols/ summer hols) Therefore, we are not actually working over our total contracted hours per year (Ha, ha, I'm yet to meet a tech who doesn't work over their contracted hours!)

Our work in this time cannot our usual job, so I adapt student worksheets (teacher job really) to come in line with current safety issues such as lower conc of CuSO4(aq) so not corrosive, or to take out silly wordy bits ie a 5 page sheet made to a sensible 2 page sheet, or change a method to be simpler/ or to use our equipment etc. Actually very useful to us and something I often do anyway - but technically not our job!.

Now, here's what we actually do... We have found that we can fit this CPD work into our usual day at times when it is quiet and 'swap' it for those times we are late out of the door, ie when we have to do a set up or wait to clear away! As nobody actually checks on us making up time, as long as we can show the work being generated for our CPD file and we make a note of when we have made up time, everyone is happy!
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2 years 10 months ago #40410 by Cookaburra
Our situation is basically the same as yours, we aren't being asked to work over our yearly hours, just per week. I don't do sheets as a rule but do occasionally add them or change them on an ad hoc basis - often when the method is wrong/uses unnecessarily large quantities of reagents etc. but keep no record of this. I resent being messed about like this and feel my time would be better spent actually coming in on the two days that are being collapsed and just tidying up. The teachers have no concept of reducing practical at the end of term to enable preparation for the next academic year and even have a year 6 taster day with hundreds of kids coming in on the last week!

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1 year 11 months ago #40921 by Fluff
Here we seem to be in the middle of something fitting into the "unreasonable change" example quoted below. Due to new ownership (we are an independent school) it has been decided that ALL contracts should be standardised to a new style. The reasoning for this seems to be to make managements job easier as currently staff who started at various points in time have a range of varying T&C's.
Generic draft contracts have been issued which were vague to say the least. There was a consultation period and staff were told verbally that should anyone raise concerns the whole staff body would go into consulation. 2 people stepped up. We are now told that consultations will only be with those 2 staff and the rest are deemed to have accepted the changes. Nobody has seen a personalised contract yet e.g. there are big gaps in the space for Name, Hours, salary etc so not really sure what we are accepting.

We are told new contracts will come into force in January and if you turn up for work after then you are accepting the new contract. This doesn't sound right but maybe it's too late to argue with?

Love to know what people think

TecHKnow wrote:
Now here is an example of an unreasonable business change. This one is actually true and concerns myself. I work 0815 -1615, Monday to Friday. Other non-teaching staff members work 0845 - 1645. On Monday's and Tuesdays after work, I head down to my City radio studio and do a two and a half hour radio broadcast from 1630-1900. Management decided that they wanted to standardize every non teaching staff member contract so that everybody now starts at 0830 - 1630, which you can see from my example would not suit me at all. I wrote to management as a grievance explaining my refusal to comply with the request and i cited as my excuse that their request was unreasonable - effectively a unreasonable and unfair demand on my personal time and commitments to my local radio station and secondly there was no business reason for them to make such a change. In other words, the College where I work, could not lose any money or be at any detrimental loss by the fact that I refused to agree to their change

Hope this helps


Biology is the only science in which multiplication is the same thing as division.

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1 year 11 months ago - 1 year 11 months ago #40923 by TecHKnow
The crucial part of your post is this part;
"Generic draft contracts have been issued which were vague to say the least. There was a consultation period and staff were told verbally that should anyone raise concerns the whole staff body would go into consultation. 2 people stepped up. We are now told that consultations will only be with those 2 staff and the rest are deemed to have accepted the changes. Nobody has seen a personalised contract yet e.g. there are big gaps in the space for Name, Hours, salary etc so not really sure what we are accepting."

Management are correct, that except for those two people who have voiced objections, it would be reasonable to assume that the rest of the staff body after a certain date have accepted any proposed changes.

So while its not too late to add yourself to those who are objecting, you need to move very fast. When you put in writing your objections, ideally this should take the form of a grievance according to your Grievance procedures and be in writing.

Management need to show in this situation that there is a clear business reason for making the change.

In other words, if they DO NOT make this change then the school will suffer financially or cannot run economically etc.,

You could slow things down by getting your Trade Union to formally request their business reason. Also, you are given a certain amount of time, not much, 90 day period from the date that you were notified to study any such changes, so that YOU can make an informed decision as to whether you are prepared to accept these proposed changes or not.

If not, you have the option of NOT turning up after the deadline and thus it could be assumed that you were unfairly dismissed by your employer. This leads onto employment tribunals which in the end will decide if the actions of management was reasonable.

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