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Zero hour contract - Exploiting daughter

(40 Posts)
Djm1 Sat 22-Apr-17 07:23:13

Today 07:16 Djm1

Zero hours contract exploiting my daughter.
My 19 year old just got a job as a care assistant for a home care company. She's on a gap year and due to start mental health nursing at uni in Sep.
Her employer hasn't given her a copy of the contract so I can't see what she's signed but to me she is being exploited.
She has been told that she has to do every job that is offered. She ifilled out a form when she started showing her availability and being completely available all week and they are trying to say this is a legally binding document and therefore means she has agreed to be on 24 hour 7 day a week unpaid standby. They were literally giving her jobs on the same day and telling her she had to do them because she had said she is available.
She is being told that she can only take 2 weeks holiday despite it being zero hours so surely she could simply say she is working zero hours for a week if she wants?
They say she is bound by her contract to work whenever they tell her. Some days she is having jobs at 6.30am then having unpaid gaps throughout the day till 11pm at night.
My question is is this legal and can they tell her she can't turn work down?
Next week she needs Thursday off. As she hadn't yet been given a Rota she emailed them to say she was unavailable. They said that it was too late as the rota had been done and she had to work. She still hasn't seen it!
I suspect they are short of staff but I am so frustrated by what they are telling my daughter and she is so shy she won't argue. They are in essence telling her that because she said she is completely available they own her and she has no rights over her own life. Please advise!

insancerre Sat 22-Apr-17 07:27:15

She needs to start saying no
What would really happen if she said she wasn't available? The worst they could do is sack her
And to be honest, they would be doing her a favour. She would be better walking away and finding something better

redexpat Sat 22-Apr-17 07:28:08

She should join a union.
She should create a paper trail.

SuffolkBumkin Sat 22-Apr-17 07:29:49

Typical care stuff I'm afraid. I am bombarded by calls even on my day off,and management can get quite nasty.

Djm1 Sat 22-Apr-17 07:30:51

Also forgot to say.., she is only paid for the time she is with a client so they don't pay her for driving time between jobs. She was unpaid for the first week as was told she was shadowing yet she was the only person on some jobs.
I want her to pack it but she says she needs the money and it will take too long to get another job. She just wants to be treated right but thinks her contact means she has signed her life to them.

RebootYourEngine Sat 22-Apr-17 07:32:37

Contact ACAS they should be able to advise your daughter.

BBQueen Sat 22-Apr-17 07:40:03

I think she just needs to quit, are there other jobs available?

NotMyPenguin Sat 22-Apr-17 08:00:30

She needs to contact ACAS for advice and get a copy of the contract for her records (and for getting clear independent advice on what it means).

Clearly they are used to treating their staff like this, and if she complains she may be out of a job. Since employment protections were reduced in recent years, as a fairly new employee (under 2 years) she can simply be asked to leave for any reason and has no right to contest this.

However, there may be ways of making it work better for her if she can get her hands on the contract itself and negotiate cleverly with them.

Penfold007 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:00:42

A call to ACAS would be a good idea. DD is totally being taken of advantage of. Legally she has to be paid for travel time between clients, she should have been paid for the alleged shadowing and she can decline work. Sadly this is all to common in the care industry. Could she look for another job?

Trickie03 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:01:36

This sounds par for the course I'm afraid. I used to work in home care and never got paid for any gaps in between calls (which there were a lot of) or driving time either.
Although the company I worked for always tried their best to get our calls covered if we couldn't work at short notice. In regards to holidays, I'm sure ours was about four weeks total, we couldn't just say I'm not going in this week. Zero hours or not it was still our job, and it would give everyone a free reign on when they wanted a week off, leaving service users without carers. Not saying it is right, just saying it is normal within this industry.

Djm1 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:02:51

She's been told if she quits within 6 months she has to pay back £50 for the cost of the course.

KP86 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:07:30

Report them/seek advice from ACAS.

The website very clearly says that staff on zero hour contracts are under no obligation to be given, or ACCEPT work offered.

She is eligible for at least 5.6 weeks of holidays each year, inc bank holidays, but since she is zero hours it accrues for hours worked (the rate is around .11 for each hour worked). Again, the govt website can help, there's a calculator for irregular hour workers.

Sounds dodgy and if she can get another job she should leave. Or know in her head it's for six months only and disappear ASAP after that.

sniffle12 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:09:08

The care sector is desperate for staff. I'm sure with this job on her CV, she could easily jump ship to somewhere else that would offer her regular hours.

Djm1 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:09:10

I understand that they don't want to leave clients without care staff and they use that guilt trip on her all the time however it was their choice to use zero hours contract staff so that is their problem. Also I read a CQC report about them saying they were understaffed and had taken too many new clients on. The only benefit for employees on a zero hour contract is the flexibility whereas for the employer it's win win all the way to the bank.

Djm1 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:11:59

Thanks that's helpful. I had assumed that she could take unpaid time off whenever she wanted as it's zero hours or are you talking about paid holiday?

SleepFreeZone Sat 22-Apr-17 08:12:08

I think you should be actively help your daughter find other employment, this company sounds horrendous.

insancerre Sat 22-Apr-17 08:12:31

What course did she do?

She needs to be more vocal and ask for her contract and to ask why she isn't being paid for her tome she ha worked
I get that it is hard when you are shy and quiet but she needs to do it, otherwise she is going to be taken advantage of her whole life
I'm not a legal expert but I'm sure contracts have to be fair to both sides and I doubt that the contract is legally enforceable
It's not reasonable to expect somebody to be available 24/7 on no pay
She should just do the shifts she wants to do

youarenotkiddingme Sat 22-Apr-17 08:14:13

They are breaking the law. And more importantly your DD could work for someone else at the same time until her 6 months is up and she can quit without being liable for the course fee

londonrach Sat 22-Apr-17 08:19:37

Ive had Friends on zero contract. Works both ways. If they were studying they just said not available that week. Report them as they not doing a zero hours contract they exploiting your dd. As for the one week unpaid..if with another person maybe maybe it can be considering shadowing. On her own shes working and they pay. Ill be telling your daughter to get another job. They crying out for care staff. Ask her to visit to local nursing home, other agencies.

Highmaintenancefemalestuff Sat 22-Apr-17 08:20:18

I work for a home care company. Contact acas, this doesn't sound right to me. She doesn't have to say yes to work.

Some care companies, if they pay a higher wage than others don't pay travel time. My company only pays travel time after 7pm as an incentive for people to work nights.
Unpaid gaps in the day are the norm I'm afraid. Does she at least get paid mileage? Some companies either pay mileage or travel time, not both, sounds the same but works out less if it's mileage. When our travel time kicks in at 7pm we get that plus mileage.

Trickie03 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:21:50

She is legally allowed to take whatever time off she wants unpaid, but companies are also legally allowed to not offer her any hours. The company your daughter works for don't sound that great to be honest, so I would be concerned that if she were to take days off whenever she wanted, they would reduce her hours just to spite her. Sounds silly but I have known this to happen to some people.
If she is starting nursing soon, it may be a good idea for her to join the nurse bank. Hospitals are absolutely crying out for staff, she can work any day she wants and she is gaining experience in her chosen field at the same time.

Dunkling Sat 22-Apr-17 08:22:42

Yes, she is legally entitled to paid holidays. I took a previous employer through a grievance process for this and won.

It can be done different ways though, this is allowed to long as she doesn't get less than a typical worker.

I was calculated on the previous 12 weeks average hours. It is PAID!

londonrach Sat 22-Apr-17 08:22:50

See cab or report them. Take a note for the hours worked. Demand your contract..write demanding it. Make a paper trail. Tbh i think this job is awful and the company is taking advantage of your dd need to earn money. Id wrote them an invoice for time shes worked and not paid but after id got another job. Hope dd is ok. X

KP86 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:23:02

See this:

FACT: Zero hours workers have the same statutory rights around travelling time or waiting between jobs as other workers
There are specific rules concerned with travelling time and the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wagege*_, which generally mean that a worker (with the exceptions of a workers commute) should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage when they are travelling as a requirement of their job. For example when a care worker is travelling between customers for the same employer. This right is the same for those on 'zero hours' contracts.
Equally, it is generally the case that a worker who is required to be 'on-call' and remain on the employer's premises should be receiving at least the National Minimum Wage on average for doing so. Again, there is no special different rule for zero-hours contracts, the right is the same.
However an employer needs to consider any contractual enhancement to these basic rights. For example, permanent workers may have additional pay or conditions attached so the employer needs to ensure that they do not inadvertently discriminatete*_ against workers with specific protected characteristics (like age and sex).

Mind you, I suspect most care organisations are not following this requirement...

Djm1 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:24:40

Oh and they've also told her she has to have her phone switched on at all times!!! Her own phone that I pay for!!!!!!i wish she would stand up to them as they are bullying her but she's not assertive at all.

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