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If you're on NMW, can a firm demand you do 2 days' of training unpaid?

(11 Posts)
Corygal Sat 18-Jul-15 23:01:12

There's stuff on the internet already about this pub group, and not in a good way, so I shall pick my words carefully.

Employee A works 14 hours a week on NMW in central London. No perks are offered, and the working conditions are, while not illegal, right up against the limits of employment law. No break for food or drink during a shift in the 90 degree heat, fr' instance. But this is the main question:

After signing the contract, A was told that he had to complete 14 hours' training online, at home, to be certified for H&S in order to work in the restaurant. No pay has been offered.

The contract states: "You are required to comply with the Company's health and safety and food hygiene rules...yadda 1974 yadda Act.

"The Company provides H&S training via e-learning and you will be expected to complete the necessary programme within your first month of employment."

and that's it. But the pay rate A is working, once you add in the extra 14 hours training, drops to well under NMW per hour. Is this legal?

What would a suitable compromise be? I'm suggesting TOIL.

And the other thing - shifts are 6 hours long. But A has been told that he has to factor in an extra 15 min unpaid at the start and end of each shift to change into and out of the compulsory uniform. Again, this extra 30 min per shift adds to the time worked to push A below MNW rates. And it also takes the shift over the 6 hours maximum permitted without giving A a break.

Is this legal?

Corygal Sun 19-Jul-15 17:45:45

.

lougle Sun 19-Jul-15 18:08:04

The changing into and out of uniform is standard. If A can do that in under 15 minutes then they can do so. It isn't work. It's no different from a nurse in theatres - must wear scrubs but the time spent changing into/out of them isn't work.

The training. I'm not sure.

confusedandemployed Sun 19-Jul-15 18:10:46

I'd hazard a guess that if the training is 'required' then they are on very thin ice. It would only be a guess though.

lougle Sun 19-Jul-15 18:12:43

The gov.UK site suggests training must be paid.

FishWithABicycle Sun 19-Jul-15 18:22:07

Training that is compulsory at a specified place and time must be paid, but online training to happen at a time and place of the employee's choice is not required to be paid I think.
Having to change in and out of uniform unpaid in your own time is also pretty standard for nmw jobs - the employer doesn't have to start paying till you are actually working. E.G. call centre workers may be expected to arrive at 8.45 to get settled at their desk and get their pc logged in and check their headset works before starting work at 9.00 but won't start being paid till 9.00.

MargoReadbetter Sun 19-Jul-15 18:29:21

I don't know, I suppse it depends on the type of training. The employer could have specified training as compulsory or minimal requirement for the job. Then you do it before they even interview you. Or it's work-specific, something you couldn't envisage you'd need. So they'd have to do it in company time. My guess only.

The uniform bit - that's in your own time unless some complex scrubbing, showering etc work down the mine.

MargoReadbetter Sun 19-Jul-15 18:30:29

I get to work 10-20 min early to get settled and switch on computer.

Corygal Mon 20-Jul-15 12:20:09

Thanks - Acas tell me under the WTR I am entitled to be paid, as hours training count as work. Also this specific training has been requested by the employer and is necessary to me doing my job. If the employer doesn't pay me, it counts as unlawful deductions from my wages.

And it puts the pub group at risk of committing a criminal offence by reducing my wages to lower than the NMW per hour, so that should persuade them to cough up.

OllyBJolly Mon 20-Jul-15 15:26:45

I'd be careful with ACAS - not always as reliable as they used to be. ACAS advisers used to be HR people/Trade union reps who knew their stuff. Now it's largely call handlers reading from a script. If you want a definitive answer it would have to be tested in tribunal, and tbh - unless a TU takes up a test case, it's hardly worth it for a bar job.

Having to complete an online training course is probably not working hours - just as reading the employment contract or handbook wouldn't be classed as working hours. The new employee has a month to complete - I'm pretty sure that won't be judged as unreasonable. Having to attend a training course is a different matter - that's clearly working time.

The uniform thing is pretty normal. Call centre staff have to be at their desk and logged on ready for calls at their start time. This prep time is not working time so not calculated for breaks.

Andthenutlookedgood Sun 26-Jul-15 17:53:15

As a pp has said unless there are exceptional circumstances I can't imagine that many employees get paid for the time it takes to get changed into and out of work uniform. If you want your employer to take you seriously with the other matters it would probably be wise not to mention this bit to them.

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