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The contract that came with my job offer says:

Hours of Work

Your standard working week shall be 37.5 hours, exclusive of meal breaks. Your current operational hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. However, your department’s operational hours are 24 hours, 7 days per week. Your operational hours may be subject to change due to operational requirements. The nature of your employment is such that you will work whatever hours may be necessary to fulfil the duties of your post.

--Additional Hours

Additional hours may be necessary from time to time, in which case you will be expected to co-operate when requested to do so. For the avoidance of doubt you shall not be required to work any hours that would give rise to any infringement of any statutory provisions relating to working time.

Questions:

  • Does this mean I will only work for 37.5 hours per week, but at any time?
  • What about overtime payments for additional hours?
  • What does the bold font sentence mean?
  • They didn't mention any annual salary increase in the job offer. Is it a must to list it in the contract or it is something will happen by law by default?

closed as off-topic by Jim G., CMW, Michael Grubey, jcmeloni, Rhys Apr 8 '14 at 7:29

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking legal advice are off-topic as they require answers by legal professionals. See: What is asking for legal advice?" – Jim G., CMW, Michael Grubey, jcmeloni, Rhys
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    It basically means that they will not ask you to work more than the legal limit. What this limit exactly is, someone else might know. According to this source, it says 48 hours is the legally enforceable limit by employers: gov.uk/maximum-weekly-working-hours – Jeroen Vannevel Apr 4 '14 at 19:24
  • Note that the 48hours is an average taken over a rolling 17 weeks: gov.uk/maximum-weekly-working-hours/… – Edd Apr 4 '14 at 19:38
  • and based on this contract text above, I will be able to refuse to work additional hours or it will be a must to agree?, and by law I should get paid for these additional hours or not? is there a rule for that? – Nermien Barakat Apr 4 '14 at 19:41
  • "you will work whatever hours may be necessary to fulfil the duties of your post" - not a lot of leeway for refusal here. – Stephan Kolassa Apr 4 '14 at 19:48
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I am not a lawyer, nor do I know a lot about the UK. Here is my reading:

  • You will usually work for 37.5 hours. As Jeroen points out, the legal maximum in the UK seems to be 48 hours, and if this much is necessary, you will work this long. You may be required to work your hours at any point in any given week.

  • At least this excerpt does not say anything about additional pay or time comp for overtime.

  • The sentence in bold says that you won't be required to work hours that are illegal, e.g., the 48 hours that Jeroen found as a maximum amount per week. I'd assume there are also limits per day, or limits to how long you can be made to work without a break.

  • You don't have a guarantee to salary increases. You will have to negotiate them, at least to a degree. Fortunately, there are tons of advice on this on the internet.

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    I think the exceptions should be looked at as well: These rules don’t apply to jobs where 24-hour staffing is required. Together with the explicit mention of However, your department’s operational hours are 24 hours, 7 days per week. this might be considered a loophole. gov.uk/maximum-weekly-working-hours/… – Jeroen Vannevel Apr 4 '14 at 19:45
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The UK enacted European Directive 2003/88/EC into national legislation "Working Time Regulations 1998" governing how long you may work.

  • The snippet you posted is unclear. I would interpret it to mean any 37.5 hours a week, between the hours of 8am and 6pm. If they require you to be in your department from 8am to 6pm, you will accrue more hours then your 37.5 contract, which you should be able to take in lieu, by accruing whole days of vacation. If there is doubt, you must clear this with your human resources rep. Since your department is operational 24/7, you could be asked to work at any time.
  • The snippet doesn't say anything about overtime. If overtime is not regulated anywhere in your contract, it will be regulated by UK employment legislation (I'm not a lawyer).
  • The bold sentence is stating that the company will not require you to break the law. I would interpret this to mean that you will be able to refuse to work longer than the legal maximum, which is greater than 37.5 hours. By default, it's 48 hours per week (legislation) but as has been pointed out, this doesn't apply to 24-hour staffing which could indeed be a legal loophole.
  • If there is no provision for annual pay increase, you must negotiate this yourself - I don't think they're guaranteed by law (even at inflationary levels).

Be warned, though, the UK is considering its membership of the EU. Should it decide to exit (nb. this has never happened before), any legislation enacting European Directives could be repealed and the UK would be free to set its own working time maxima.

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https://www.gov.uk/maximum-weekly-working-hours/weekly-maximum-working-hours-and-opting-out The law does rightly state that 48 hours is the maximum (taking into account the exceptions mentioned above). Employees are able to work longer hours however have to opt out of the 48 limit. This must be done in writing.

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