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query with being told to work or face a disiplinary, can they do that?

(15 Posts)
worley Wed 30-Jul-08 17:33:26

dp works in specialist education with teenagers with challenging behaviour. Mostly kids that have been taken into care or parents cannot cope and they have gone to a "special school" with teachers and assistants that work with them, it is a live in place, the children rarely go home if at all, which is why there is staff 24-7

So he is contracted to 37.5 hours a week and only 33.5 is specifically rotaed (sp?) the last 4 hours are for if he goes out with the children and time runs over or they are going swimming or something on a day that he has to taken them etc, so he normally ends up in over time. However his boss is now saying that under emloyment law (he hasnt given dp a copy or wont quote actually regs)if they ring dp (or other staff members) on their days off then they have to go into work if they still owe lieu time hours. If they do not go in when rung they will face a disiplinary action against them.

can they do this?? dp has explained that he wont always be able to go in if they rung him and demanded he goes to work as 1) i also work weekends for the nhs so not a standard 9-5 m-f job and he would have the children if im at work and 2) we may have made plans for that day etc etc.

so if dp didnt go in can they legally give him a disiplinary action against him.
if they are so bothered about staff owing them 4 hours time, can they not dock their wages??

thankyou for any light you can shed on this employment law that i have not heard of before!

worley Wed 30-Jul-08 17:33:49

sorry that was sooo long!!

worley Wed 30-Jul-08 17:42:22


edam Wed 30-Jul-08 17:46:03

Is dp in a union? Then check with his rep. (And unions are jolly helpful if you ever get into a dispute with an employer - if you work for local government it's a good idea.)

Otherwise, look up the ACAS website or go to the Dept for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform - their predecessor, the DTI, used have all the employment law online (think it was

ilovemydog Wed 30-Jul-08 17:46:24

So, DP is only rostered 33.5 of his contracted hours? What happens if nothing is scheduled?

There are some companies where some of the workforce is not rostered, and a flexible approach works both ways - for instance if nothing is scheduled, then the employee can go home. Conversely, if there is work, then they will be expected to be somewhat flexible.

Much would depend on his terms and conditions and any union agreements.

But it is highly unlikely that DP is on an on-call rota where one has to be available at a moment's notice. Ask what the definition is of 'on-call' and 'available' ?

edam Wed 30-Jul-08 17:46:27

Oh, and what does dp's contract of employment say?!

worley Wed 30-Jul-08 18:34:19

hes going to find his contract up and check through it,
he has a separate on-call where they are expected to be on call at the weekends (but not paid for being on call!)

if nothing is scheduled then they dont do anything, but if one of the kids suddenly decided at the weekend they want to go to the cinema or something, then they will ring up whoever is in minus on their lieu time and say they have to go in!
this doesnt seem right to me though, he cant just drop what ever he was doing and go in unexpectedly.

hes not in a union, its only a small private company, but i might ask my union rep at work (luckily i work with her but havn't seen her today so though i would pick your brains in here)

worley Wed 30-Jul-08 18:35:28

not on call every weekend i should add, maybe once every 8 weeks or so.

but thankyou

llareggub Wed 30-Jul-08 18:38:08

"under employment law," the standard argument of the line manager who knows bugger all about it.

Can't post, now will be back later.

tiggerlovestobounce Wed 30-Jul-08 18:41:30

Wouldnt it make more sense for them to get the person who is on-call in, otherwise what is the point in having a rota?

worley Wed 30-Jul-08 18:56:37

you would think! but i guess they dont.

also during the week if some is sick and they are a person down then the others are expected to be called in on their days of to cover.

tiggerlovestobounce Wed 30-Jul-08 19:04:30

Sounds crazy. Cant believe this would be allowed, but if it is then this organisation will have big problems with staff retention.

flowerybeanbag Thu 31-Jul-08 09:25:54

I wouldn't want to advise on this issue without knowing what the contract of employment and/or handbook say I'm afraid.

Docking wages might cause them even more of a headache from people contracted for x hours and only being paid or allowed to work y hours, so it's not as simple as that.

If you can come back with details of what the contract/handbook say about hours, I will be happy to give you an opinion.

MeMySonAndI Thu 31-Jul-08 09:31:43

If he is on call only once every few weeks I would say that yes, the incoming call takes priority.

It would be unreasonable for someone to be on call every single free minute of their lives but if part of the job involves being in call only once in a while, I suppose its fair and legal.

Whizzz Thu 31-Jul-08 09:37:21

If I were him I would join a union ASAP - only because in working with kids it is advisable to have union backing should any make allegations (unfortunately that was what I was advised when I started working in a sec school)

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