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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 68264
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Assistant: How can I help? My company wanted me to drive to

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Hi there.
Assistant: Hi. How can I help?
Customer: My company wanted me to drive to newcastle on friday at around 1pm my contracted hrs are 8.00 until 16.30 i didnt refuse to go but said i had a 60th bday on and may not get back in time and can the on call engineer go instead. We have a flexability agreement with all engineers however i have been flexibile every time doing out of hours work for the last 4 years on this occasion i had a 60th bday on, surely my employer cant rule my life outside of work? Would appreciate some feedback on this
Assistant: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: It was my manager who phoned me and basically threatened me if i didnt go that i would be in the office. We dont have a hr unfortunatly
Assistant: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Im an employee and no i dont believe we have a union
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No that is all thankyou

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
no problem
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Unfortunatly i cannot afford £44

So what does your contract say in relation to doing jobs outside of your working hours?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
It says when needed company may need you to be flexible however i have been flexible for 4 years
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
It happened to another 2 employees but nothing got said when they had something on after work
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Where as i have been summoned to the office and i actually did go the job in the end

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience. Such clauses are not uncommon and they provide the employer with flexibility to be able to ask their employees to work additional hours as and when needed. If you really needed to ensure that you are available for a specific date then ideally you should have booked it off as holiday as that guarantees the employer cannot ask you to work in accordance with the flexibility clause. Whilst they cannot force you to work on that day, if you refuse to then you can potentially be disciplined for insubordination. If this is the first time this has happened and considering you have a clean disciplinary record, it should only result in a warning rather than dismissal.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi there, but this is out of my contracted hours, so therefore i shouldnt need to book a holiday day as its after working hours.
For example if i child commitments or anything else that i needed to attend out of my normal working hours i wouldnt need to book an holiday day surely
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
For example we all have things on after working hours if this were the case id have probably used up all my holiday days within the first 2 months of employment?

Yes but you have c ed hours AND on top of that your contract also contains a clause which says the employer can ask you to work additional hours if needed. So you are not just limited to working these contracted hours only. I have such a clause myself and can be asked to work extra hours as and when the employer requires, such as if an urgent case comes in and I am needed. No one can force me to do these hours and I can refuse but if I do so then I am potentially going to face action by the employer for not adhering to the contract and specifically the clause which allows them to ask me to work extra hours if they need it. Same applies to you. Does this clarify things a bit more for you?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
A little yes im just gomsmacked that basically with what youve said that the employer can basically control your whole life outside of normal working hours. Iv worked here four years and have never actually signed the contract suppose thats a different matter,
So basically in writing then that they can control what you do outside of normal working hours id have thought that this procedure would be illegal?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Also it states that you must be flexible when it arises. How would you define flexible does that come under the same terms of what you have already said

It is not so much about controlling, but they can make such requests and if needed can take it further if you unreasonably refuse. We are then getting into a discussion of what is reasonable and what is not, how much notice you were given, etc etc. Same applies to the term of flexibility – there is no legal definition as such so it very much depends on interpretation and ultimately., is it considered reasonable. But then what is reasonable is anyone’s guess and also open to argument, which ultimately can only be resolved in the Employment Tribunal

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thankyou. I wasnt given any time at all it was email and said you need to go straight away.

That would make it more difficult for them to justify, there has to be a balance in the end – such clauses can allow them to ask you to work extra but some notice is needed and they must take into account any pre-arranged things you may have, so the less notice and any evidence you have plans would make it more difficult for them to enforce

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thankyou that clears things up

All the best

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