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Do part timers get paid lunch hours ? Calling HR professionals.

(38 Posts)
kaz33 Fri 31-Oct-03 20:38:46

I am a solicitor who has previously worked full time. My stated hours are 9.30am to 5.30pm, though you are expected of course to work longer hours than this.

As part of my return to work I have asked to have slightly shorter standard hours of 9am to 4pm, this will be a deduction from standard hours of 40 to 35 hours a week. This has been agreed. I will still be required to work longer hours if work needs to be done.

However , I have just received my amended contract from my firm with my new renumeration. They have calculated that my hours are dropping from 35 to 30 hours as obviously they have decided that I do not get paid for lunch. So I will get less money once they have prorated my existing salary. To be fair we are only talking just over a £1000 before tax but I am interested is this normal ?

As I understand the only people that don't get paid for lunch breaks are pretty menial jobs. I am considering accepting this on the basis that if I work over lunch time I can leave at 3pm !!!!

Starsky Fri 31-Oct-03 21:23:08

I work as a Customer Services Manager and do not get paid for lunch. I didn't get paid for lunch when I was full-time, nor do I get paid now that I am part-time. I am quite surprised that you got paid for lunch in the first place,
However as far as I understand, if you work 7 hrs or more you legally must have a lunchbreak. This could either be paid/unpaid.
Hope this has been of some help

philippat Fri 31-Oct-03 21:36:43

I don't get paid for lunch hours. Middle management, local authority, flexitime. Have to take at least half hour lunch break.

kaz33 Fri 31-Oct-03 21:56:11

Thanks Ladies, I am shocked.

Our full time salary is not on an hourly basis, but on an annual rate and therefore the issue has not arisen before. However, if work needs to be done then you do it - even if it is outside normal hours or at the weekend. This will not change now i am part time and therefore I feel a bit aggrieved at the penny pinching mentality.

SofiaAmes Fri 31-Oct-03 22:03:55

kaz33. I am an architect and I work not quite a full work week. I am paid on a salary basis, but as I used to get paid by the hour, my boss calculated my salary on a 7.5 hour day which means that I don't get paid for my lunch hour. (my hours are 9:30-6). I think this is pretty standard. The way I rationalize it is that if I were paid on a salaried full time basis I would be expected to work far more than 40 hours a week, so even though I'm not getting paid for my lunch hour, it still works out much better per hour than it would if I were working full time on salary like the others in the office. I suspect that as a solicitor, you would face much the same type of scenario. (the only thing that you have to be careful of is that your colleagues don't become too jealous of your abbreviated working hours)

Dinny Sat 01-Nov-03 00:55:47

Kaz33, I am in broadcasting and work part-time, and no, don't get paid for lunch either. Once you go part-time, they have to calculate everything by the hour, not annually, don't they?

SueW Sat 01-Nov-03 08:54:40

When I worked I was paid an annual salary but it was based on a 35 hour week. My usual hours were 9am -5pm and I was entitled to an hour's lunch break. This was the same throughout the organisation but the difference was when it came to overtime - once you reached a certain grade, you were no longer paid for hours worked on top on the standard hours. Everyone is entitled to a lunch break if they work over ?6 hours a day.

Surely you can only pro-rata any salary by reducing it to an hourly basis? Even if you were contracted to work 30 weeks per year, you'd still need to define a working week?

kmg1 Sat 01-Nov-03 09:56:53

I've never been paid for lunch. In my last job the contract was 35 hrs/wk, and you had to take at least half an hour (unpaid) for lunch, but could flex the hrs, as long as you were in by 10.

miriamw Sat 01-Nov-03 11:15:10

I'm in an in-house legal team, and again don't get paid for lunch. When I went part-time I simply dropped a day, so the issue wasn't as black and white, but did come down to the fact that my theoretical working hours were 9:00 to 5:15 with an hour for lunch (ie 7.25 hours per day).

I was advised against going for shorter days, partly due to this skew, and the fact that you also had commuting time still, but also it was more difficult to leave promptly. It seemed to cause my clients less hassle that I would never be available on a Thursday, rather than I would have to finish a meeting promptly!

Due to case load I did sometimes just have to work the full week (esp when travelling). Although I on those occasions I got paid for the extra days, I was still shortchanged as annual leave, car allowance, bonus, options etc were all based on part-time rate.

Good luck with negotiations!

hoxtonchick Sat 01-Nov-03 11:29:54

I am contracted to work 17.5 hours/week (actually work a 2 week rotation with 2 days 1 week & 3 the next. Very civilized), nominally from 9-5 so I don't think I get paid for lunch either. Huh, never thought about that before. Still, we do get free lunch, so it's not all bad...

zebra Sat 01-Nov-03 11:41:36

I have a PhD and do social science research for a University, so wouldn't call my work "menial". I always understood that lunch was unpaid, but I had a "right" to two paid 10-20 minute tea breaks. We also do long hours and the number of hours is completely unspecified; my contract just says "60%" of full time. However... I worked for another university which stated specifically that a full time week was expected to be typically about 37.5 hours. Therefore, for my current employer, I decided that 60% means 22.5 hours/week -- not including lunches. If they are counting minutes, I think you have a right to do the same; even if you do extra hours some weeks, you get should get the time back, later. HTH.

I am shocked that soliciters consider lunch to be a paid/working part of the day! Maybe because you do a lot of meetings over lunch? My dad is a judge in California, though, and I don't think he would consider his lunch time to be on the taxpayers.

kaz33 Sat 01-Nov-03 12:39:14

Gosh this is an eyeopener.

I work for a city law firm who expect you to work all night and at the weekend if so required, so lunch is normally not an issue as you are expected to do what is required to get the job done.

I suppose logically this means that part timers who do 4 days a week - only get paid for 28 hours a week ( 4 days x 7 hours ).

More research at my firm is required as this does sound like a overly zealous human resources dept.

kayleigh Sat 01-Nov-03 13:54:36

I am an office manager for a company in the city and I do some HR. You do not normally get paid for a lunch hour. When you are working over a certain amount of hours per day you have to have a break (unpaid) and the minimum is 30 mins. When i went part time I cut my lunch breaks to 30 mins so i would get paid more for the hours I was working. I do 3 days 9:30 to 4:45 with 30 mins break per day and the 30 mins is unpaid. However kaz, if you were to work through your lunch hour you should be able to leave at 3 (if ok with employers) as you are working for an hour - just at a difeerent time (eg working 1pm to 2pm instead of 3pm to 4pm say). I often do this and leave at 4:15.

kaz33 Sat 01-Nov-03 14:55:33

Kayleigh - Thanks, personally I would love to lose my lunch hour and leave at 3pm. The difference in salary is only about £1000 a year ( gross ). Not sure how my employers will take this but this is the logical conclusion of there stance.

JulieF Sat 01-Nov-03 23:48:11

Although most people don't get paid lunch hours if yo did as a full timer and other full timers in your position still do then under the Part Time Workers(Prevention of less favourable treatment) Regulation 2000 you are entitled to the same rates of pay and conditions as a full timer.

This means that you should still get a paid lunch although it might be reduced slightly on a pro rata basis.

The dti website has more information on this \link\dtiwebsite{}

JulieF Sat 01-Nov-03 23:48:51

Sorry try \link\dtiwebsite}

JulieF Sat 01-Nov-03 23:49:07

I give up on the link sorry!

GillW Sun 02-Nov-03 09:16:54

I don't get paid for lunch breaks - but thanks to current rotten boss don't currently get any (and don't get paid extra for working through them either )

bluestar Thu 06-Nov-03 12:37:10

I work 3 days a week, with no lunchbreak and therefore get paid for all the hours I am at work. I do however have the opportunity to take a walk to the shop or sit down for a quick bite to eat without anyone remarking on it. Guess I am lucky really.

Bozza Thu 06-Nov-03 13:15:10

I used to work a 37.5 hour week which was notionally 9 - 5.30 with an hour for lunch (unpaid). Now work 22.5 hours (ie 3 days) notionally 8.30 - 5 with an hour for lunch (still unpaid). If Dh can't do nursery drop I get in quarter of an hour later and take 3/4 hr for lunch. I work in IT.

Are you positive that you were getting paid for lunch before?

Also my DH (key accounts manager) in his contract it states he works 37 hours (9-5 with 1/2 hour lunch and 4.30 finish on a Friday so again lunch not paid). Since he is on the road so much and away over nights and his own boss this is actually a load of rubbish.

mears Thu 06-Nov-03 13:20:22

I am now full-time and working 37.5 hour week. Lunch break unpaid, same as when I was part-time.

AussieSim Thu 06-Nov-03 13:24:01

My HR experience is in Australia and Asia, but in my experience no one gets paid for the lunch hour. For example, you might have to work 8 hours per day between 8.30 - 5.30 and it is assumed that you will take an hours break in that. In my experience the biggest issue for part-time mums was payment for public holidays. If you work Mon - Wed and Mondays are normally when the PH falls then you get paid for it, but if you work Tues - Thurs, then no PH payment. I just thought it might be something else for you to consider. HTH

Bozza Thu 06-Nov-03 13:33:17

Too right Aussiesim. Thats been my biggest gripe since returning to work Tues-Thurs. But at last its been sorted as of next year. Christmas, Boxing and New Year's Day we will get if they fall on our working days. But the five fixed Bank Hols (Good Fri and 4 Mons) I will get pro-rataed - so will get 3 days. Thats an extra weeks hols. Course don't really need it next year as will have 6 months maternity leave but thats sod's law.

Presuambly if Kaz is doing 5 shorter days she will just get the Bank Hols the same as everyone else. Because by her day being shorter the holiday is already pro-rata'd down.

SueW Thu 06-Nov-03 20:49:06

A fair few people I know who have returned to work doing Mon-Wed, actually have 'first three days of the week' contracts so if there is a Bank Hol they have to work Tu-Th instead.

Eeek Thu 06-Nov-03 20:52:55

sorry but under health and safety you shouldn't be allowed to have no break - not good for you even if you do want to get home. Often the minimum allowed is 30 minutes.

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