I work at a spa in England and we are supposed to come in for a morning meeting at 9:45am or 11am depending on shifts. Which is fine because it means you have more time in the morning to get up and what not.

However, our paying work hours start at 10am and 11:15am. These are the times we greet our first clients. Not only have we come in and sat through a meeting but we also have set up our rooms and technically already started work.

The excuse management give for this is that if we want to do our jobs well we will come in early and start the day off right and that these meetings are important. We also get told off if we are late which seems unfair since we aren't getting paid for that time anyway. This is £45 a month that I am not getting.

Anyone got any thoughts on how to solve this? Im working on contracted hours as an employee and would be happy to go through Citizens Advice Bureau if I have all the right info on how to proceed.

  • 3
    It depends on whether you're a worker or employee and what you've agreed to already in terms of contracts and agreements etc. Generally you do not need to turn up early and should be paid for any extra time but it very much depends. See Gov.UK for information.
    – user66194
    Apr 15, 2017 at 17:08
  • 1
    @DanielJames Actually, defining work time seems to be one area where I can't find anything concrete on Gov.UK, though other sources confirm that this kind of arrangement obviously qualifies as working hours. As you say the issue could be complicated by the contract, especially if OP is classified as a contractor. Chloe, can you edit your question to clarify if you are working under a normal employee contract? And whether you are comfortable escalating the issue to ACAS or Citizens Advice?
    – Lilienthal
    Apr 15, 2017 at 21:19
  • are we Shure about the dupe its different for hourly paid staff vs salaried which a lot of "office" staff are Apr 16, 2017 at 12:11
  • Simplest solution, all of you call The Sun and name and shame the Spa Apr 19, 2017 at 22:17

3 Answers 3


It seems that the UK, where you are, has quite a messed up system for this. Fact is, they don't have to pay you for overtime as long as your pay per hour is at least the minimum wage. For example, if you are supposed to work 4 hours at £10 an hour and get paid £40, and you do 5 hours for £40, then your hourly wage is £40 divided by 5 hours = £8 per hour. As long as this is above the minimum wage, it is legal.

However, that's not the end of it. I'll assume that your management is right - these meetings and setting up everything are important - but because they are important, and because they are for the benefit of the business, they are work. They are not overtime, they are part of your ordinary work and must be paid.

It's not overtime just because your management says so and is too tight to pay. You only have overtime if you need to work longer than your contract says because of a business need. And the business being unwilling to pay you is not a "business need". Otherwise, every business would change everyone's working hours from 40 hours a week to 20 hours work and 20 hours overtime for half the money.


Anyone got any thoughts on how to solve this?

That depends on your goals, your sense of how your boss might react to some pushback, how averse you are to 15 minutes of free work, and how badly you need this particular job.

You could decide that this just goes with the job and leave it be.

You could choose to complain to management about the unfairness of this and ask if they would consider paying you.

You could choose to seek legal recourse to try and force the company to pay you for the extra 15 minutes. (In my part of the world you usually need to be paid for all the time you are required to work. Check your local laws. Consult a lawyer or other counsel such as ACAS or Citizens Advice.)

You could choose to skip the meetings and just come in ready to start at 10:00 or 11:15. Management may not like that.

This is £45 a month that I am not getting.

It's only £45 a month if you end up getting paid for the extra 15 minutes. If the end result is that are told you don't need to come in early, then it's £0 a month.

  • Actually this is a bad answer there is established UK case law in this area and there is a lot of bad press and even Conservative MP's saying something more must be done Apr 15, 2017 at 20:08

Unless you are being paid in 15 minute increments, then I would think that your meeting times are part and parcel of your working hours for which you are being paid. Or can be viewed this way by your employer.

I would think pushing this point might be detrimental to your employment status in pragmatic terms. I won't go in to legalities because I'm not a lawyer, nor familiar with the UK. So this is general.

Regardless of the laws if an employee of mine started complaining about morning meetings, I'd start looking for a way to replace them before they hurt morale. It's only 45 pounds to the individual, but if I have 10 employees that's 450 pounds I'd have to pay out, that I didn't previously. Simplest solution would be to get rid of the troublesome employee.

  • 1
    It would be very hard to actually get rid of someone in the UK in a case like this. What is a lot more likely is one will just get written off for any future possible promotion or bonuses and get given the minimal hours possible untill they leave of their own accord. Still, the point stands that sometimes one has to allow some wiggle to look good at work. Particularly if the job is otherwise OK. +1
    – Vality
    Apr 16, 2017 at 3:33
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    @Vality There is always a way to get rid of someone.... quite often the actual reason and the reason given are totally different. I'm being pragmatic.
    – Kilisi
    Apr 16, 2017 at 3:35

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