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mum2toby · 02/05/2003 08:53
HELP ME!! I've got another 4 days before I stop taking the pill. AAAAAAARGGGH!
To make matters 100 times worse I may be getting laid off at work. And as a Contractor I'm only entitled to 1 weeks notice and NO REDUNDANCY PAY!
Maybe Maternity Allowance would come in handy then
I'll keep you posted.
Meanmum · 02/05/2003 09:59
Are you sure that is all they are entitled to pay you? Are you being paid by them or through a third party like an agency? I know the redundancy laws in this country are antiquated and outdated but the courts do recognise that and companies understand that they must actually be fairer than what the law stipulates otherwise they will end up in tribunal and may pay more than they would have if they had been fair to start with.
You need to investigate this further. Understand exactly what your entitlements are by law so this gives you a basis and also what they have done in the past. It is rare that a company will make a redundancy scheme contractual and will reserve the right to change it each time they undertake one but they generally stick to the same principals so you need to know what they did before. You do have the right to ask for this information although I probably wouldn't advise you do just yet. Do a bit of digging behind the scenes. Talk to colleagues that work there now and see if they know what has happened in the past. Talk to old colleagues that no longer work there and find out what their settlement was. You don't need to know the figures just how it was worked out.
We are very favourable to our fixed term employees. Fixed term means employees who we pay through our payroll and who have signed a contract direct with our company. In fact due to the change in laws last year there is no difference between fixed term and permanent employees so I hope this is what you are as then they should pay in based on the same rules they are applying to permanent employees.
If you are a contractor working through a third party then it will be very difficult for you to get anything out of them but check what deal your agency has with your company as if they have a 4 week notice period clause you may want to put your foot down and tell them you want your portion of the 4 weeks notice period. No reason why you can't ask for this.
mum2toby · 02/05/2003 10:03
Thanks Meanmum. Unfortunately I an a Contractor and I'm employed thtough an Agency. There have been about 100 people laid off here in the past 6 months and they haven't been entitled to anymore than the weeks notice. It's crap and I really want a fixed term or staff position, but in the current climate I don't think that's likely. I hate living like this. I just want a bit of stability.
Meanmum · 02/05/2003 10:06
If you are contracting through an agency have you set up your own personal company. This way you will save on loads of tax and there is no reason you can't do this with the agency you are working with. They can pay either you or your company and should have no qualms about doing this. I am no tax expert so I don't have loads of information for you but it is very common to do and quite easy. There are companies that will set it up for you, do your taxes at the end of each year, ensure you get a payment from your company on a weekly basis that will be under the tax threshold so you don't pay high tax and so on. Obviously they take a commission but I do know it isn't that high and every little bit helps. Think of it for the future if you contract again.
Meanmum · 02/05/2003 10:08
I forgot to say that of course the others only got 1 weeks pay that's because they wouldn't have asked for more. It is rare for an agency to have a one week get out clause as they all like to have a minimum of 4 weeks. Most companies never notify agencies until the last minute but still have to cough up the 4 weeks notice period money. My advice, for what it's worth, if it does happen to you approach your company and ask them what the termination clause is in the contract between them and your agency. They shouldn't have any reason not to tell you although can claim it is confidential and then you just have to let it go. Explain why you are asking as it won't affect them at all. They still need to make the payment to the agency no matter what and really it is between you and the agency.
What harm is there in asking. Worst case scenario is you will be told no. Fine you can live with that as you aren't expecting much anyway. Best scenario is they will agree or give you a little more.
GillW · 02/05/2003 11:14
meanmum - sorry to hijack the thread, but you seem to know what you're talking about re HR issues - so can you give me some advice from an HR angle on this one.....
I've been having a lot of problems lately at work with a new manager who thinks it's reasonable to expect me to be in the office for 11 hours a day, with no breaks, and to arbitrarily cancel weekends, etc. All this came to a head a week or so back, and I ended up writing to our HR people to confirm what the working time regulations say (knowing full well that in this instance they were being broken). Well it looks like they've taken the hint and contacted management (I'm not sure if it's all, or just mine) reminding them of this.... so now I've been told not to enter into the company's official time recording systems any hours above the contractual 7.5 a day Monday to Friday, but to record actual hours for charging purposes seperately. It sounds like this is another attempt to make it seem like he's operating within the law, when he doesn't have any intention of doing so.
How do you think HR would react if I was to tell them that this was happening? Would it put me in an even more difficult situation, or would they keep it confidential who had raised this with them? It's such a (bad) joke that all this is going on, when just this week HR have put out a policy document on "encouraging work-life balance". Yeah, right!
mum2toby · 02/05/2003 11:26
Meanmum - I have looked into going Ltd to save on tax and I've got the forms to sign, just getting a bit nervous about all the catches.
You pay yourself the minimum wage and the rest of the money is paid as a dividend. If I then go on Maternity leave, would my entitlement be calculated at 90% of what I bring in each week OR 90% of the minimum wage?????
GillW - Meanmum knows her stuff..... she'll sort u out!
Meanmum · 02/05/2003 11:42
Happy to help and offer advice. I would be very concerned about not recording full hours onto the company time card system. A few reasons for this are that HR should run checks on their staff on a regular basis to ensure working time regs are being taken into consideration. Of course businesses generally need staff to do more hours than the working time regs allow for and I don't believe you are saying you won't but at the same time any decent HR professional should be reviewing staff hours and where there are excessive hours should be writing to/contacting the staff to discuss the issues.
Also, the majority of companies that undertake redunancy programmes tend to use utilisation as one of their scoring mechanisms. Especially if they have a time card system. Utilisation has good and bad points but if you are being asked to record your actual hours elsewhere and HR aren't aware of this then if your business was to undertake a rationalisation process you may score badly in this area due to your time cards not being correct. Of course you would be able to raise this at your briefing session and obviously this is not the case for you at present but who knows what is around the corner. If I found out that I had undertaken a process based on system information that was being manipulated I would be furious as it would make me look like I didn't know what was happening in the company and also the plonker who did it never came clean and would undoubtedly know about the process we were undertaking as it would be announced throughout the business and as a manager he/she would probably have some input into the initial scoring anyway. Bluntly, if he worked in my company and did that his life would not be worth living.
Two final points about time cards are, companies implement these systems for various reasons. One of the main ones being it allows Finance to project profits and I'm assuming Finance use your current time card system to do that. Mind you if you have to fill in a differnt sheet for client charge outs maybe they don't and then what is the point of a time card system other than to check up on employees and ensure they are doing the hours they should be which you could have any decent manager do anyway.
In terms of work-life balance documents you need to approach someone in HR to find out what their true view on that is. Nearly every company will espouse it as a policy but very few actively encourage and support it. You need to understand whether it is a mission of your companies to achieve a better work-life balance or are they just paying lip service to staff and IIP or other accreditations. The only time things like this work is if they are supported by the MD and filtered down through the organisation.
All in all, if you approached me on a confidential basis about these issues I would ensure no one knew it was you who raised these issues but I would ensure that the issue was dealt with and resolved. I don't know your HR team but would believe they would treat this in the same way.
Do you have any relationship with anyone in HR at all? Can you have a friendly chat over a coffee or even just pop into their office quickly? Do you need to go to HR or can you raise this with your boss. I am very concerned at him manipulating the system. It doesn't surprise me as it happens all the time but when I find things like this out where I work I'm like a dog with a bone as I know people don't hide things unless they are doing something they shouldn't be.
Ask your boss (innocently) why you should not record your full hours on the time card system. Don't let him give you an answer full of waffle. A little bit of pressure to put him on the spot won't hurt him. I appreciate you need to be aware of your relationship with him so may not want to do this.
Final long waffly answer for you is, if HR aren't doing their job properly then someone needs to give them a kick up the butt. They have a responsibility to the company but also to the staff. It would be very unusual for them to be audited on their hours in terms of working time regs but at the same time they have a duty of care to their staff. In fact if you use the words "duty of care" when talking to HR this generally puts the frighteners up them. Most forget it but it's always part of their remit and when courts hear they have failed at this - big trouble. Hope this helps.
In a nutshell (boy do I go on) I don't think you should be doing what your boss wants, I have serious concerns and think someone needs to be aware of it. If they do nothing about it then that is their responsibility but at least someone has been notified.
GillW · 02/05/2003 11:55
Meanmum - thanks but we never actually see anyone from HR (they're in a different town to us) so doing it informally isn't an option. And phoning them isn't really an option as it's a totally open plan office so anything that was said could be easily overheard. Talking to my boss wouldn't help - he's more likely to enjoy deliberately making things more awkward for you if you dare to question things. All that I can feasibly do is to put it down in writing to HR, but I don't want to do that if they would just forward it to him asking for a reaction....
Meanmum · 02/05/2003 11:55
mum2toby - thanks for the vote of confidence.
I'm not sure of the answer to your tax question. But my view is that as a limited company it should have policies and procedures like any other limited company. Therefore, write your own. Why can't your company say it will pay maternity leave for the first 20 weeks (or whatever) at full pay and then go onto SMP afterwards. You have the right to do what you want as long as the policy isn't worse than what the law stipulates. You obviously need to understand the tax implications but if you are paying yourself at full pay now based on minimum wage then state write yourself a policy that says it will do the same thing for any employees who fall pregnant. When do you get your dividends? Is that at the end of the tax year or quarterly? You may be able to wrap up the extra in these.
mum2toby · 02/05/2003 12:07
The dividends are paid weekly with your wages. You only pay coporate tax on the Dividends and no National Insurance which is where the savings are. But I don't know about writing my own maternity pay ..... that sounds a wee bit too good to be true! But I shall investigate. If so then where do I sign!!!!???
Meanmum · 02/05/2003 12:08
Gill - it's time your HR team got off their butts and walked the floor. What's the point in being in HR if you don't actually know what's happening on the floor. Some HR structures believe they should only liaise with the managers and I've even known one HR manager to delete messages from staff until they got the message that she didn't talk to them. Not my style at all but then each to their own.
I would also be hesitant to write to them as something in writing is a lot more official than a verbal conversation and it may go to an extreme that you don't actually want.
HR should be proactive rather than reactive and in my opinion this means they need to understand what is happening throughout the business and not just what the manages report so issues don't become blown out of proportion and cost a load of money when it could have been resolved by having a conversation or two.
I'm not sure what advice to give. It's easy for me to tell you to stand up to your boss and tell him you don't agree with what he has suggested and won't be doing it. I don't work there and I don't have to maintain that relationship. With a remote HR team it is even harder as my view would be they would take your bosses side of the argument before yours if he decided to complain about you. That may not be the case and is just an assumption.
The only thing I suggest you do is to ring someone in HR from outside the building so no one knows what you are saying. Or alternatively, send them an email but just state in the email that you would like to have a personal conversation with someone from HR about a very personal issue you have. What you don't want is for them to then ring your boss after they get the email to ask if he knows what your issue is before you get to the meeting. I wouldn't put your issues down in writing just yet.
Meanmum · 02/05/2003 12:14
If you think about it, all limited companies that employ people, like the one I currently work for and the one you are contracting for have personnel policies. I see no reason why your limited company can't have personnel policies like every other company in this country. It's just because you think it is only you that there is no need or that you can't. Not true. I'm happy to write one for you but would then advise you to have your accountant look over it to ensure it I haven't completely stuffed you when it comes to tax. I haven't had a really good look at the new maternity laws. I know I should have but other things have kept me busy lately. I know if you only just join a company you may not be entitled to the SMP component due to when your child is due and when you joined and all the other gumpf they suggest. However, we can fix that in the policy.
GillW · 02/05/2003 13:27
Meanmum - sorry, I didn't answer your earlier question. No, of course I'm not objecting to extra work, where it's justified. But since this new guy was appointed it has become excessive, and expected every day, even when the work is, at the client's own admission, not urgent.
I'm in a strange situation though as most of the people I work with are on different t's & c's to me (they transferred into the company when it took over an operational area of the organisation they used to work for and retained their t's & c's where they were better than ours, whereas I was moved there from elsewhere in our company) so that they get paid for overtime, whereas I don't.
Meanmum · 02/05/2003 13:49
I understand about the T&C's and TUPE issues. Have you asked if you can be paid overtime. How many receive overtime and how many don't. The company doesn't have to change your T&C's as you know but it doesn't hurt to ask. From what you have said on this and other threads I think your boss is being unreasonable and you do have the right to talk with HR. I can't emphasise enough though that I also appreciate that you may feel this isn't possible due to the distant relationship they have, the relationship you have with your boss at present and the fact you don't want to jeopardise anything and make your life harder than it already is.
All I can suggest is that you stand firm on your principals. Make sure you cover yourself at all times. I know you are not being unreasonable and are happy to pull out all stops when it is required but you don't need to do this all the time. It is give and take between both parties and as long as you do the work you should when you should and work extra as and when you feel the need then your boss will not have a leg to stand on and nor will HR. Bide your time, play it by ear but remember you have rights too.
I really believe you should approach HR about your concerns in relation to the working time requirements being placed on you. You are not being unreasonable, nor are you saying you won't work overtime when there is a need. What you are saying is that you are unable to work the excessive hours equested of you for projects that are not urgent and you are unsure of how to handle this. HR have an obligation to investigate this and to be honest have a need to talk with your manager about his working methods. They have an obligation to stand behind the policy they have just issued and this will be a good test for them in terms of that.
It doesn't matter if the work-life policy is pure lip service, they issued it and must now stand by it. Out of all of this, who knows you may just get overtime paid to you and if you play it right it could be possible. It really is hard to discuss things like this on the net as there is so much that can be inferred or misinterpreted but I hope this helps in some way. I'm happy to keep discussing this with you either here or offline.
GillW · 02/05/2003 14:22
Meanmum - you can't know how helpful it is to "talk" to someone who understands how this could work from the other side of the fence. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
As far as I know I'm probably the only one (of about 30) who doesn't get paid overtime in this area. But the company standard is that no-one who joins in the normal way (rather than transferring in) gets paid overtime.
Do you think it would help if I was to officially request flexible working under the new legislation which has just come in? A good proportion of my job can actually be done from home - in fact I already used to do one day a week from home before this guy took over and stopped it. I'm sure the answer would be no, but at least he'd have to give a good reason for justifying it - and I think the previous manager would probably say if pushed that it used to work ok before so there's no reason why it couldn't again if I was to challenge it.
Meanmum · 02/05/2003 14:48
I would be inclined to ask for the flexible working in your situation. You've proven before it worked so it would be hard to justify why it didn't. I'll ask mumsnet to copy you on a document I have which explains it quite succinctly and easily and pretty much tells you what information you should provide to HR when pulling your request together. Yes, they can refuse it but they should set up an appeal process for you so if you aren't happy with their answer you have an avenue to appeal against the decision and this will give you time to formulate responses to their initial reasons for declining.
Will this actually resolve the issue? Will you work less hours or more reasonable hours? Consider what costs may be incurred by the business if you officially start working from home. There is a difference between being home based and home working. For home based you would be paid for any mileage you undertook when leaving the house for business purposes and receive better tax concessions etc. If you were to become this (not what you are asking for) then they would need to ensure your working environment was HS&E compliant etc etc. It's a cost to them and the way to get your response approved is to keep their costs down to a minimum and for you to highlight this to them. If you just work from home on certain days I'm not sure of what their HS&E obligations are. I'm sure they would have to do the right thing but at the same time you might be happy with the set up you had before which may not have been 100% HS&E compliant. I don't want to advise you or your company to break the law but just be flexible.
Ultimately, any request you ever put to HR should be focussed around money. How little it will cost them in terms of return or what will the percentage of return be for the percentage of increase to their costs. It's very hard to argue with figures and even though people don't realise it that is what our job focusses on. How do we deliver for our employees and the employer whilst keeping costs to a minimum, increasing productivity and profit and maintaining morale and the culture.
By the way, you're more than welcome. Sad I know but I love working on issues like this.
GillW · 06/05/2003 22:29
Meanmum - thanks for the stuff you sent - unfortunately they forwarded your message about sending your email, but didn't actually give me your address. If you want to get in touch direct I've got a mail account (not my main one - I'll close it again afterwards) at [email protected] which you can use.
Well I was just starting to get a little less stressed over the whole situation after a couple of days off, but even if it is the first day back after the bank holiday, I've been thoroughly reminded that it doesn't mean I should expect to do any less hours this week. I've been in the office since 7 this morning, and it's now well after 10 at night and I'm still here. I was first in, I'm the last here, and I've still got a huge pile of work which they've demanded has to be done before tomorrow morning. And you can bet no-one will bother to say thank you if it does get done. Why can't people ask how long things will take before they make unrealistic promises on when they'll be delivered?
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