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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44880
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work in an office 40 hours a week and get Saturday and Sunday

Customer Question

I work in an office 40 hours a week and get Saturday and Sunday off. By law I should get 1 day off a week or 2 days off in a fortnight so this is fine.
Also as part of my role I am required to go offshore on a marine vessel in the north sea. It is not for "offshore" as in oil and gas. We do site investigations for wind farms.
So I will be sent away for 4 weeks. There will be a day in travel to the vessel both ways and then potentially I will work 12 hours shift for the rest of the time. This is not always the case as the weather could be bad - I still get paid the same but won't actually be working. When I get back in the after a full 4 weeks I will then get 1 day off and then will be required back in the office. So if I get home on a Monday, I get Tuesday off and then have to be in the office on Wednesday.
I am confident that our working hours are legal and am happy with that. I am unclear if we should be compensatory rest days when we get back from our trip. Like I said we get 1 day off on our return.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. So jut to be clear - you re sent away for 4 weeks, get no days off during that time, then on your return you only get one day?

JACUSTOMER-lcuba057- :

I am always getting paid an standard dayly bonus for every day. I could potentially work every day. But there will be occasions where the weather is too bad to work or we are in port because of broken equipment.

JACUSTOMER-lcuba057- :

I would not call it a day off if I am on a vessel in the middle of the north sea and the weather is too bad to work - you may tell me otherwise.

Ben Jones :

well are you at your employer's beckon then? Are you still under their control - can they just call you and ask you to work if the weather suddenly improves?

JACUSTOMER-lcuba057- :

Yes, I am ready to work at any moment you could say. Although there would be instances when in port you'd go ashore for the day (if repairs were going to take a couple of days say).

JACUSTOMER-lcuba057- :

Although if at any time they said we're off we'd have to be back on the vessel.

Ben Jones :

The key is what part of you time offshore is classified as working time because that is what rest days are based on. You need at least 1 day off in every 7 days or 2 days off every fortnight.

According to the Working Time Regulations 1998, ‘working time’ includes ‘any period during which a person is working, at his employer’s disposal and carrying out its activity or duties’.

There are certain exceptions and generally those that work at sea are not entitled to these rest days because it would be impossible to move them onshore every week or two just to have that day or two off. But you may argue that as your time offshore is spent more or less under direct control of the employer and you are always either undertaking your duties or on something akin to standby, that all your days there are working days. So whilst you cannot expect the rest days when offshore, these should be given to you on your return onshore.

JACUSTOMER-lcuba057- :

This is correct. Under working time though work at sea is in - exluded sectors.

JACUSTOMER-lcuba057- :

to workers to whom the European Agreement on the organisation of working time of
seafarers dated 30th September 1998 and put into effect by Council Directive
1999/63/EC of 21st June 1999 applies;

JACUSTOMER-lcuba057- :

Does this apply?

Ben Jones :

The Seafarers Directive applies to UK ships and (to a limited extent) other EU ships when in a UK port, but not to fishing boats, pleasure boats, offshore installations or tugs. They cover seafarers, which is anyone working on board a ship on ship's business

Ben Jones :

so I presume it excludes you

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?

JACUSTOMER-lcuba057- :

I already knew this much as I've read the law. I was really hoping you would be able to give me some concise answers.

Ben Jones :

I can only work on the information you have given me which is rather limited i'm afraid so i can only base my advice on that

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