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Lunch Break Woes!

(38 Posts)
ICanEatWhat Wed 25-Oct-17 22:17:59

Evening all,

Looking for some advice! I've just started a new temporary​ job where in the interview was told my hours would be 8-4:30 with an hours lunch break, they were very firm on the hour break as I asked (always been half hour in previous jobs!)

Problem is I've now been the job almost a week and not a single person there takes an hours break. Not only that they sit at their desks to eat and usually continue working throughout. I've always been the kind of person to get some fresh air so have been going out for half an hour at lunch but any longer feels awkward as if I'm taking the mick!

I did pay attention to see if anyone left half hour earlier to compensate for lunch but to my dismay most people seem to be there well beyond 4:30. I've felt bad breezing out the door at 4:30 as if I'm getting away with something!

So I'm essentially working an extra half hour for free everyday. I wouldn't mind if I got to go at 4! As a temp I'm paid by the hour and contracted for 37.5hrs a week. I'm about to do my first time sheet. I really don't want to put an hour in for lunch but if I put down my actual lunches of half hour over the week my total hours would then be 40 which they may refuse to pay!

I'm going to talk to my line manager about it but having worked in the Public Sector my entire career until now I didn't know if this is normal in a private sector culture?! Should I just say sod it and disappear for an hour at lunch?

Any advice?

HundredMilesAnHour Wed 25-Oct-17 22:39:05

Not taking a lunch break (paid or unpaid) is very normal in the private sector. Have you not heard the saying "taking lunch is the new vacation day"?

I take lunch once a month, maybe.

ICanEatWhat Wed 25-Oct-17 22:48:22

But surely if you're paid by the hour you don't throw in some free time? Regardless of the sector?

BritInUS1 Wed 25-Oct-17 22:51:22

Sounds completely normal to me.

Are you hoping this will turn into a more permanent role?

BaDumShh Wed 25-Oct-17 22:51:22

Fuck that for a laugh, OP. You’re a temp and you get paid by the hour. Take your hour. You aren’t tied to the company and you don’t owe them your time for free.

FWIW I work private sector, me and all of my colleagues take an hour for lunch. If it’s really busy we’ll sometimes take half an hour/work through, but we get that time back in lieu.

thatstoast Wed 25-Oct-17 22:51:51

Try taking the full hour and see what happens. Are you sure people are working through lunch? I always eat at my desk due to the staff room being freezing cold but I'm not working.

LastOneDancing Wed 25-Oct-17 22:53:12

Are you hoping to get a permanent position there?
If not, as a temp, I'd stick to my hours - take an hours lunch, leave at 4.30.

HundredMilesAnHour Wed 25-Oct-17 22:55:21

Why not? I know more people who go above and beyond than I know people who "work to rule". It's your choice of course. Certainly everywhere I've ever worked, people who only do the minimum required don't last. I've never worked in the public sector so I'm only guessing that the private sector is a lot more competitive.

Gazelda Wed 25-Oct-17 22:56:06

Do you have to fill in a time sheet to get paid? If you do, then you should only fill in the hours your contracted for.
If you’re not, then it’s a bit trickier. In my experience working through your lunch is pretty normal.

phoenix1973 Wed 25-Oct-17 23:01:08

Temp on hourly pay.
Youve been told your hours
Work them
Complete time sheet
Get paid
On to the next one

ICanEatWhat Wed 25-Oct-17 23:10:35

Wow some mixed responses! I think it clearly depends on the company.

Hundred, honestly I think that's kind of depressing to accept working for free just because that's what everyone else does. I'm not saying that's your fault, I can see how it can come about and suddenly become the norm. Personally I don't want to be working in an environment where my employer doesn't value my health and well being, let alone the law of at least a 20 minute break. There are other ways of going above and beyond.

This job will be going permanent but I will not be going for it. This was more of a sideways move to gain experience in a specific area in order to progress

woundedbutwalking Wed 25-Oct-17 23:13:26

Would love to know where you can work in the public sector without working unpaid OT... <misses point of thread>

messyjessy17 Wed 25-Oct-17 23:14:34

You were expressly told to take an hour for lunch. You do not get paid for the hour. No-one has asked you not to take the hour.

So what are you complaining about? You're making a fuss about nothing. Just take your hour as you've been told to and stop making up problems where there aren't any!

ICanEatWhat Wed 25-Oct-17 23:18:18

Toast - yes, definitely working through. It's not a huge company and it's kind of in the middle of no where so there's not exactly anywhere to go. So for that reason I totally understand people eating at their desks but most definitely still answering emails/taking calls/writing reports mid-chew.

Yesterday a lady announced she was going to lunch with her husband, she was back 20 mins later with a petrol station sarnie....

ICanEatWhat Wed 25-Oct-17 23:22:42

Messy, I'm not entirely sure what I've done to deserve such a frosty and rude reply. I was purely asking for advice having never worked in private before and in the awkward 'not knowing the culture of the company' first few days .... If you've got nothing useful to say kindly don't bother

messyjessy17 Wed 25-Oct-17 23:25:27

What now? Are you always so unreasonable.

You made up a problem and now you're being rude to people who are pointing out you don't actually have a problem? Take the lunch break you were specifically told to take, and want to take. It is very simple.

Don't tell other people where they can post hmm

ICanEatWhat Wed 25-Oct-17 23:27:24

Wounded - Council and police force. Accountancy for both. Besides year end never done any kind of overtime and even at year end it was always a case of building flexi to take another time. Core hours of 10-3, up to two hours for lunch. Extremely flexible so was always going to be a change going to private sector.

SheRaaarghPrincessOfPower Wed 25-Oct-17 23:28:23

God, some arsey people around tonight. Chill out messy, fgs

JaniceBattersby Wed 25-Oct-17 23:34:45

Not taking lunches is endemic in the private sector, as is working for free at the end of the day. I refuse to do it. I go out for lunch for an hour and leave pretty much on time. If they want me to stay extra then they can pay me for it. If they can’t afford it then they don’t have a viable business.

This bullshit about ‘goodwill’ is just hyperbole, because it only ever seems to extend one way. Ding allowed to go home half an hour early on the night of the staff so does not equal staying late every night for a year.

Private companies should not be factoring in people being made to work for free because they feel guilty if they don’t. I’m happy to report that since me and a colleague stopped giving our time for free about two years ago, the whole office now does the same. We’re all much happier.

JaniceBattersby Wed 25-Oct-17 23:36:08

Gah. being allowed to go home... on the night of the staff do

grumpysquash3 Wed 25-Oct-17 23:36:59

OP, Messy has a very fair point. Her manner may come across as a bit blunt, but read what she says. She states the facts.

If you simply take your hour lunch and leave at 4.30pm, it is very unlikely that anyone will challenge you on it. If they do, just explain that those are your hours.

ICanEatWhat Wed 25-Oct-17 23:39:35

It's entirely because I don't want to be unreasonable that I'm asking rather than just taking the hour and being frowned upon which is already the case when leaving the building for half hour. I'm not making up some issue where there is none, I want to be informed if this is the norm to be in private sector which will help me decide where I want to make my next career move...

TheEmpressWears Wed 25-Oct-17 23:41:28

Do you want it to become a permanent job?
If you do you have to do what the others do.

If you don't want it to be more than a temp job then don't give your time away. You're not a charity.

TheEmpressWears Wed 25-Oct-17 23:43:50

I agree with Janice Battersby. I got in early, took 40 minute lunches and stayed late before i had dc. I wasn't even paid 'big money'. Not a bad salary but i was an idiot. I should have done what suited me and if they'd sacked me it would have been a blessing to get me out of the city.

ICanEatWhat Wed 25-Oct-17 23:44:18

Thank you Janice that was very helpful! I want to be a team player, especially in a new job (even temp) but I don't want to be taken advantage of. I will be taking my hour lunch and leaving on time but I think I probably need to inform my line manager of such in a reasonable approach so she knows exactly what to expect from me.

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