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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50175
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have a contract of employment which states 37 hours work

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I have a contract of employment which states 37 hours work per week. The demands on me oblige me to work 50 hours every week. The job cannot be accomplished inside 37 hours stated without leaving things out . What are my rights? I am forced to accept this unwillingly and indeed all personal interests have been laid aside.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for, what does your contract say about working overtime and have you opted out of the 48 hour week?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben. Thanks for thisThe "paper" contract says 37 hours. I have worked at the company (bank) 30 plus years.I do not receive any overtime. The job is entitled "manager"I have not opted out of the 48 hour maximumthe "trap" is my employer will either say I have consented to the hours as this has gone on for a long time.Alternatively, (or additionally) they will say I am not capable as I should be able to accomplish the job inside the 37 hours.Many (and probably most, but not all) colleagues work beyond the contracted hours.i am keen to get your views as I don't see an easy way out and work/life balance is wrong.Additionally, I find it exceptionally unfair as a large organisation should be more honorable in its conduct.By the way, I am i think good at the job. The demands that get added on are the things that add to the hours often.Thanks for your viewsian
Hello Ian The first point of reference would be your contract because that is what defines your employment rights and what you would be expected to do. It may indeed say it is for 37 hours but there could be an additional clause which states you could be asked to work such additional hours as the business needs require. This is not uncommon – for example lawyers are in the same position – they are contracted for about 37 hours but nearly always work way more than that for no additional pay, it is just the nature of the job. Saying that you do have a right to restrict your working hours to an average of 48 a week – this is a legal right and not something the employer can penalise you for. The issue is this average is calculated over a rolling 17-week reference period so it is your average over that period that counts, it does not mean you cannot be asked to do more than 48 hours some weeks, as long as the average is below that. You are also correct that having worked these hours for such a long time, you may have accepted this as a variation to your existing paper contract and it has now become an implied contractual term. There is no easy solution to this. You can certainly complain but the way you are treated and what is asked of you. This can be done through a grievance. The issue is if nothing changes then you cannot force them to ensure that happens and your only way out is to resign and claim constructive dismissal against them. Obviously this should only happen if you believe the last straw has come and you cannot continue working there any longer. However, I suggest you try and go down the grievance route first before you get as far as resigning. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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