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To think my employer isn’t allowed to do this? (Expecting staff to be on call but not paying them)

(150 Posts)
Nurserytroubles9 Sat 23-Jan-21 12:51:16

I’ll try and explain as best I can.

I work in a private day nursery and have done for the last two years. Due to a lot of our parents being key workers, we are operating as normal so to speak and still have a lot of children attending. The owners are always coming up with ways to try and save money, the newest being expecting staff to be on call but not paying them.

For example: I will be put down on the rota to start work at 8am. When I arrive, if there aren’t many children in the building yet they will send me up to the staff room with a phone and they will ring me to come down when more children have turned up. This could be 30 minutes later, 1 hour later but I will only be paid from the time I’ve been called down and started looking after the children. They do this with every staff member. The parents have paid a set rate for the day (we’re open from 7am-6:30pm) but might not bring their child in until say, 9am, so the nursery haven’t lost any money as the parents have already paid for the session. Does that make sense? Due to child/staff ratios the nursery have to make sure there are enough staff members in so the rota is set up to make sure a staff member starts every 30 minutes after the other.

I know times are hard for everyone, especially businesses but AIBU to expect to be paid from the time I come into work (the time they put me down to start on the rota)? We are only paid minimum wage and I think it’s an awful way to try and make a quick buck.

OP’s posts: |
addictedtotheflats Sat 23-Jan-21 12:52:47

They are taking the piss, I think your union/HR would also agree

Wishitsnows Sat 23-Jan-21 12:54:33

No, they can't do that

UrAWizHarry Sat 23-Jan-21 12:54:42

They are taking the piss, and possibly acting illegally if you are in fact not getting paid min wage for the hours you are on site.

Rumblebear Sat 23-Jan-21 12:55:03

Pretty sure NMW should take all time at work into account - you may find they are breaching NMW regulations

BikeRunSki Sat 23-Jan-21 12:55:41

If they want you on the premises they need to pay for your time.

AStudyinPink Sat 23-Jan-21 12:56:56

You are at work; you need to be paid. End of story.

Freddiefox Sat 23-Jan-21 12:57:11

No it’s not allowed but not that always uncommon in nurseries. However there are plenty of nicer nurseries out there. Are you qualified? If so you can have your pick of jobs at the moment.

Freddiefox Sat 23-Jan-21 12:57:40

And then report them for breach of minimum wage

Berthatydfil Sat 23-Jan-21 12:57:48

I think that’s probably illegal as you are attending work as requested and it’s not your fault there aren’t enough children. I assume from your post you can’t go off site or go home.
I think it’s common practise in nurseries to do this at the end of the day but staff are free to go home.
I think this will bring your wages below nmw and you can report them for it - or you could bring it up with them first. They may not realise.

whoamongstus Sat 23-Jan-21 12:58:55

It depends on your contract - if there's nothing in there about being required to be on call without pay (and that usually means you can do what you like during that time, i.e. you shouldn't have to be physically on site) I'd tell them to get fucked.

Speak to your union if you're in one (and if you're not, join one!). I think if you're on site you should be be paid but I'm not 100%, but your union or ACAS will know better based on your contract.

dontdisturbmenow Sat 23-Jan-21 13:00:53

Totally outrageous. Speak with ACAS.

KatieB55 Sat 23-Jan-21 13:01:16

That's dreadful - you should be paid from when you arrive

Nurserytroubles9 Sat 23-Jan-21 13:02:50

Thanks for all your replies so quickly!

@whoamongstus I will need to get my contract out and have a read through again but from what I can remember it doesn't say anything in there about being on call. If I arrived at work, wasn't needed and told them I was popping out to the shop or for a walk, I don't think they would be best pleased as they would need me there "just incase" more children turned up.

OP’s posts: |
Nurserytroubles9 Sat 23-Jan-21 13:03:44

I'm not part of a union by the way but can always join one. It is a private nursery chain, they have 5 nurseries in total.

OP’s posts: |
AnyFucker Sat 23-Jan-21 13:03:57

That is out of order. Get a new job first then report them

UrAWizHarry Sat 23-Jan-21 13:05:59

Being on call is different to being onsite and not being paid.

I would raise it to management first of all and if you don't get anywhere, report to ACAS. The nuclear option would also be to tell the parents because negative publicity like that kills the reputation of nurseries.

AStudyinPink Sat 23-Jan-21 13:08:16

In jobs where you’re genuinely ‘on-call’ (not just on a zero hours contract) you get paid for being on call (less, but it’s still money). This is just a zero hours contract where you are also expected to go to work.

Eleganz Sat 23-Jan-21 13:09:28

They should be paying you from when your work starts not from when you have to be working with children. Being at work in a room with a phone waiting for work related calls is working.

What do you think your boss/the owner will do if you put your foot down on this? Nurseries are notoriously bad at treating staff fairly as they are often full of young girls on training that don't know any better (I remember friends and friends' daughters working at nurseries after school, get shafted and then sacked when their training ended and their wages had to go up).

Nurserytroubles9 Sat 23-Jan-21 13:12:28

@AStudyinPink - sorry, I don't quite understand what you mean? It isn't a zero hours contract. I'm contracted to work 40hrs per week.

OP’s posts: |
Eleganz Sat 23-Jan-21 13:14:16

OP you really need to check your contract.if you are contracted 40 hours a week and there is nothing in there about variable hours and you have not signed any variation to your contract they should be paying you for 40 hours when you are physically turning up for that time and are able to work.

Godimabitch Sat 23-Jan-21 13:15:26

You're not on call, you're at work, you should be being paid.

TooTrueToBeGood Sat 23-Jan-21 13:16:24

Even if this is covered in your contract you should still check with ACAS. As a general rule, you cannot be contracted out of your statutory rights and I'm pretty sure that a clause that attempted to effectively deny you NMW would not be legal.

UrAWizHarry Sat 23-Jan-21 13:16:36

If you are contracted to work 40hrs per week at min wage, and they aren't paying that they are breaking the law, it's as simple as that. You are entitled to that money.

insancerre Sat 23-Jan-21 13:19:58

If you are on the rota to start at 8 then that’s when you should get paid from
I would refuse to go to the staff room and start work from 8, find something to do, planning, cleaning etc

Op, are you in the northwest of England?

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