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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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I have a question about employment law. My employer requires

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Hi I have a question about employment law. My employer requires me to be 'on call' apart . In terms and conditions of my employment it states ' you may be asked to work outside your normal hours/ weekends/public hols without additional payment under normal arrangements. I find it a bit ambiguous because it doesn't say anything about being 'on call' and sometimes we do need to work on Saturdays or stay longer at work when we have a new arrival ( I am working in language school). But does it apply to being on call as well if it does not mention it? My job offer does not say that I need to be on call at all. It is only mentioned in Job Description in Hours of Work section-"based on 37.5h a week and also on call rota. Move in weekends and check out weekends must be worked as well". I actually haven't received a copy of Job Description till I requested it by myself from HR. Taking into account that being on call is not mentioned in my contract. Is it legal to ask me to be on call? There is also no specification either I am required only to try resolve issue on the phone or I need physically come to my work place if I cannot resolve issue on the phone. My employer requires me to come to my work place if I cannot resolve issue over the phone. It can be at the weekends, at night etc. And all these without extra pay. Is it legal?
And another question- can employer take legal actions towards me for not being able to deal with an issue if I was sick or I failed to pick up the phone straight away if I forgot my phone in the car , and called back to the caller and resolved the issue couple of hours later when I realised my mobile is left in the car? As I said before, there is no specification about "on call", no on call rota, no sickness procedures while being on call ( normally we are required to contact HR in person over the phone but if I get sick on Sunday while ' on call'? There are only 2 of us in the office, who automatically 'are on call after 5pm'. Thus, we cannot plan any nights out, weekends away, always need to be ready to come to work place when it is necessary. Thank you
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Since August 2015. I was supposed to have 3 month probation period, when it was over I did not receive any letter if it was prolonged or I became permanent . I received a letter that I am on permanent contract on couple of days ago
Being on call is just another type of work, s if you may be sked to ‘work’ outside your normal working hours then that may also include you being on call. Ideally you would want to see being on call defined as part of the normal working conditions though, otherwise they could ask you to do anything and argue that it amounts to work (e.g. they cannot just ask you to clean the toilets and say that it is work because it is not part of your normal duties, and similarly you could try and argue that being on call is not defined as part of your duties and as such you should not be asked to do it).
If the employer asks you to be on call when this is not defined in your contract, it does not make it unlawful but it does mean they are likely acting in breach of contract. The issue is that your rights in this situation are rather limited. A breach of contract matter would normally be resolved via a grievance and if that does not work – by resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. However, to be able to make such a claim you require at least 2 years’ service with the employer, which you do not have. Therefore, that is not an option. It means you either have to agree to the employer’s requests, or if you are forced to leave or dismissed as a result, you cannot challenge it as you do not meet the minimum criteria to claim.
As to the employer taking action against you for hat you have mentioned, if you mean legal action, then that is very unlikely. However, they could take internal disciplinary action and even dismiss you – remember you need 2 years to be protected against unfair dismissal so they could dismiss you for more or less any reason, even if it was to do with you not doing something in relation to tasks not mentioned in your contract. It is the basic fact that you do not meet the criteria to have legal protection in the circumstances unfortunately.
I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. 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
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can I just ask another quick question- can employer ask me to look after our sister college ( normal hours and on-call) if it is not mentioned in my contract that I have to look after that site as well
It would be the same as above really - they shouldn't be asking you to do this but if they do and you disagree with it then you are somewhat stuck with how you can challenge it due to the length of service issue. Hope this clarifies?
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