My Dsis is employed as dental nurse in a small practice and my instinct is that they are absolutely shafting her (and her colleagues), with their working conditions.
- she and her colleagues almost always have to work through their lunch break (because the boss's wife, who is also the practice manager, books appts over the lunch break). So she often works from 9-5 without a break of any kind; - the practice is closed for a week between Christmas and New Year because the boss and his wife go back to their home country. The other members of staff's holiday allowance is docked for these days, despite them having no say in it; - bank holidays are also deducted from their 20 days' allowance, so between that and the enforced Christmas/New Year closure the staff only get about two weeks off that they can book and take at their own convenience; - the staff are all FT, yet they get no sickness days. If they're ill they have to come in or they aren't paid. As a result my Dsis has worked through multiple bouts of tonsilitis, heavy colds and other nasty viruses. Her job involves bending over clients' mouths and working with sterile equipment; - no time off is given for hospital or doctor's appointments. An unpaid or holiday day must be taken for any personal needs. This makes it almost impossible for her to attend essential appts at the hospital for a very serious problem she has with her back, means she cannot get appointments for a therapist to treat her depression (all NHS appts are between 9-5), or interview for another job; - the management refuse to get a FT receptionist, requiring the nurses to cover reception on an ad hoc basis, and the practice is desperately understaffed, which means its really hard for anyone to take any time off ever. An urgent appt for my Dsis' back has had to be delayed until March (from Jan), because there simply aren't enough staff to cover her for a day off until then.
She is entitled to 28 days paid annual leave but the employer is perfectly within its rights to have a shut down week and say that bank holidays come off that. In fact the employees could say that the employees have to take off the first 28 days of every year and can take no other leave. Choice as to when to take leave is not an entitlement.
The rest is legal but crap. Is she a member of a union? And how long has she worked there? If she's worked there for 2 years then she can threaten them with an action for unfair dismissal (but that's pretty expensive now if she's forced to go to tribunal) or reporting them to this lot.
Thanks all. She's worked there for more than 2 years, but she could never afford to take them to tribunal. She is also not part of a union, unfortunately, but thank you for the ACAS link - she could certainly use their advice line for help. Can she report them anonymously?
The statutory minimum leave allowance is 5.6 weeks per year which is 28 days for someone who works 5 days a week - but it is perfectly allowable for bank holidays to come out of that taking that non bank holiday allowance to 20 days - sounds like there has been some wires crossed with the employer misunderstanding the rules here. Employers dictating when leave can be taken is perfectly allowable too. Working for more than 6 hours without a break is not.
I don't think any of them know about SSP and it certainly hasn't been offered by the employer. AFAIK they're all just aware that they either come in and work or they don't get paid, regardless of how ill they are.
I think looking for another job has got to be plan A because even if she manages to threaten her employers into obeying the letter of the law they're always going to be bastards (restraining myself from stronger words). I'd shop them to anybody I could think of the instant I had a better offer in writing.