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New role 48 hour working directive

(21 Posts)
shelbeee Sat 21-Sep-19 20:57:50

Hello, hoping for some advice...

I've verbally accepted a new role with a large well known company and received the contract etc to read and sign yesterday. There's a couple of things in there I feel a bit hmm about, but DH says it's normal contract stuff and not to worry.

First thing is there's a clause in there saying by signing the contract I opt out of the max 48 hours a week working directive (meaning my work could exceed 48 hours a week, even though they're not my base hours) Does anyone have any experience of this? There's a separate sheet they're asking me to sign which says I opt out (which I could just not sign).

The contract also says I consent to a full medical examination, results of which would be shared with my new employer.

I am coming from an organisation where I had a 5 pg contract max, nothing like this. By my current employer is pretty disorganised.

Tia

OP’s posts: |
EBearhug Sun 22-Sep-19 02:35:22

The 48hr opt out is a standard thing on our contracts, though you could in theory refuse to sign it (probably why it's on a separate form.) It's okay to do more than 48 hrs in any given week - it's if the average over a certain number of weeks comes out as more.

Don'to know about the medical.

Maskin Sun 22-Sep-19 02:41:03

Pretty much every professional organisation makes you sign out of the working time directive. It was a ridiculous piece of legislation that could ever be enforced.

Maskin Sun 22-Sep-19 02:41:31

No way would I sign the medical though!

Maskin Sun 22-Sep-19 02:41:46

*never, not ever

EBearhug Sun 22-Sep-19 02:48:16

It was a ridiculous piece of legislation that could ever be enforced.

Why could it never be enforced?

Teddybear45 Sun 22-Sep-19 02:57:51

What is the role? If it’s physical or involves a lot of travel both clauses make sense.

daisychain01 Sun 22-Sep-19 05:21:51

Working Time Directive was not ridiculous legislation - the fact this employer is prompting the OP to sign away their rights is concerning. WTD was put in place to control the trend towards excessive hours an employee is forced to do over a successive period of weeks. That isn't a ridiculous concept.

I have personally fallen foul of a previous employer flouting the law, by me being indirectly forced to work excessive hours, just through sheer volume of work, with no attempt to acknowledge or support me (US culture). My current employer has a completely different mindset, there is no need to opt out of WTD because management don't drive people into the ground.

OP signing away your rights may not seem significant now, because you have no way of knowing what your workload may become, but the rot could set in months or years down the line and the balance of power will be skewed towards your employer not you, especially if your industry is known for a long hours culture.

daisychain01 Sun 22-Sep-19 05:33:02

The contract also says I consent to a full medical examination, results of which would be shared with my new employer.

In principle I wouldn't have concerns about a "full medical examination" if you know for example your job has safety implications and by passing the medical it means that you are capable of carrying out the required duties of your role. Caveat being, only you know what the job will be and how appropriate it is to undergo such an examination. If you will be sitting in an office or working in a shop, then it would beg the question far more than if you were going to be an airline pilot or operating specialist machinery where safety is a priority.

It absolutely does not give them license to discriminate against you, so they will need to treat carefully on any findings that give cause for concern that they aren't treating you fairly. You have the right to see the results of the outcomes report and know what will be placed on your HR record.

daisychain01 Sun 22-Sep-19 05:33:48

tread carefully

CloudsCanLookLikeSheep Sun 22-Sep-19 07:00:01

Cant OP sign back it to the 48 hour limit later down the line if she wishes to?

luckyrabbits Sun 22-Sep-19 07:25:27

I think this pretty standard in most professional services firms. It just allows for more flexibility, it's not abused by the company I work for.

purpleolive Sun 22-Sep-19 07:40:53

I would challenge the medical on GDPR grounds, depending on the role I would argue this type of medical information is excessive, intrusive and not necessary for the contract. Since GDPR came in such situations are much more dubious. But will basically be down to who has the best argument as I doubt it's been challenged in court yet.

MarieG10 Sun 22-Sep-19 07:59:39

Not sure I agree with @Maskin. To actually breach the 48 hour week average over 17 weeks takes a hell of a lot of doing when holidays etc at standard hours get factored in. It usually happens when you continually work rest days.

The reality is that if employers breach it, there is no enforcement of it at all. The only remedy is usually by complaint by the employee to an employment tribunal

The reality is that the only organisations that attempt to enforce it are in the public sector and the reality is most of them ignore it as well

MajesticWhine Sun 22-Sep-19 08:04:31

I would agree with your DH that it is normal and not to worry. However you don't have to sign. The contract is there to be negotiated so you can politely ask if these clauses could be removed and see what they say.

daisychain01 Sun 22-Sep-19 08:17:52

It just allows for more flexibility, it's not abused by the company I work for.

Being covered by WTD doesn't stop flexibility, but it does give the opportunity to the employee to hold their employers feet to the fire if they force them to work excessively long hours. And I agree that it tends to be something highlighted in an employment tribunal, when the situation has already become adversarial (eg harassment / bullying). ime it's easy for it to become the frog in the cauldron of boiling water, insidious over a long period of time.

The OP can chose whether to opt out. The company isn't acting unlawfully, they are just mitigating again the potential of being accused of flouting law. Some people like the ability to chose to work longer hours and see it as a positive advantage I've seen both sides!

shelbeee Sun 22-Sep-19 13:04:04

^^ this is what I'm worried about

'OP signing away your rights may not seem significant now, because you have no way of knowing what your workload may become, but the rot could set in months or years down the line and the balance of power will be skewed towards your employer not you'

I have no reason (other than the contract) to think they would force me to work excessively long hours, it's not that sort of role. Occasional travel to another office in the UK, they mentioned an office in Europe with staff that they see once a year. Non physical, office based role.

If I was child free I wouldn't hesitate about the 48 hour thing, I used to be a bit of a workaholic and used to putting the hours in. But I've got a 1 and a 4 year old and I am just not wanting to take on something that's going to overwhelm us.

OP’s posts: |
shelbeee Sun 22-Sep-19 13:15:30

I should say for transparency that I'm leaving a job that expects far too much informal working in evenings/weekends anyway, even though they've never asked me to sign anything like this

OP’s posts: |
SmudgeButt Sun 22-Sep-19 13:25:56

I have in the past not signed and not returned the 48H WTD when returning my contract. No one noticed. It only was an issue 2 years later when I said I couldn't work some excessive hours and my twonk manager said I couldn't refuse as I'd signed my rights away. I asked him to prove it which of course he couldn't. My reasoning was that I don't mind working very long hours when the job calls for it but if it's an ongoing thing the job is not organised correctly and either I would have too many duties or the department wouldn't have enough staff.

As for the medical - I know this is standard for many companies where there is medical insurance included as a benefit. Particularly also where the role is fairly high up in the organisation. I would ask would the medical entails and see if there is anything you might want to object to. I would object to anything that gets into what might be considered personal lifestyle choices like HIV testing but even having my BMI registered might be a step too far. I would have no objection to a doctor saying I'm fit and healthy enough to sit at a desk for 8 - 9 hours a day and travel around the UK for work.

daisychain01 Sun 22-Sep-19 15:50:33

It only was an issue 2 years later when I said I couldn't work some excessive hours and my twonk manager said I couldn't refuse as I'd signed my rights away.

@SmudgeButt you've got it - people on here need to consider that legislation is there for a reason, not required when everything in the garden is rosy, it's when the stuff hits the fan and your employer turns on you, that's when the protection comes into its own.

Not saying that you should turn down the role over that waiver OP, maybe do as Smudge did and say nothing but don't return the form. They shouldn't force you to waive your rights, especially not in your situation with childcare responsibilities. If they do take issue, it starts to creep into the realms of discrimination.

EBearhug Sun 22-Sep-19 18:51:33

I couldn't work some excessive hours and my twonk manager said I couldn't refuse as I'd signed my rights away.

Even if you had, that doesn't mean you're available to do any excessive hours - most people still have a life outside of work, which also needs managing. I can work late some days, but I need notice to rearrange things on other days. (In practice, this isn't an issue for me but managers do sometimes think the own you 24/7.)

Not that this is relevant to the OP.

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