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Can a part timer be forced to work more hours than contracted

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by MrsT30, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. MrsT30

    MrsT30 New commenter

    Just after some advice really. I have a .6 contract but have been informed that the move to a three year GCSE course is going to cause timetable issues for next year. I've been asked if I can be flexible and work more hours, up to a .8. This isn't feasible as I have a small child. I worry however that there may be a loophole whereby I am made to work extra for a year.
  2. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Simple answer..... No you cannot be forced to work extra hours.
    grumpydogwoman and davidmu like this.
  3. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    I suppose they could make things difficult by arranging your .6 in bits and pieces over five days and argue that it's the only way the timetable works.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  4. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    They could I suppose. However, if your start and finish times are in your contract then, in theory, they cannot be changed.

    I am currently looking at amending the start and finishing times of our TAs as I want them to start 15m early and finish 15m early. I went to a legal seminar last week and was advised I could do this as long as I consulted the people affected. They also had the right to say no.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  5. MrsT30

    MrsT30 New commenter

    Thank you.

    I only have a letter documenting a permanent reduction in hours to 0.6 no contract was reissued.

    As long as I can't be forced to work above .6 I will have to deal with whatever comes my way I suppose. I went to .6 to focus on my family and won't sacrifice more than I have to.
  6. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    This has the potential to be more complex than has been suggested and for that reason I believe you should ensure your union is aware and you discuss any developments with them. Ensure that all discussion about this is recorded in writing, e.g. with a friendly email confirming what was said.

    @Jesmond12 is quite right that you cannot be forced to work extra hours and, as suggested in the second post, the best practice is to consult staff. Consultation about the changes should lead to a mutually-agreed change to the terms of the employees' contract of employment, which is absolutely lawful and keeps everyone happy.

    If a changeof hours is forced upon you without your consent, this would amount to a unilateral variation of the trems of your contract, which would not be lawful. It means you could not be sued for breach of contract for refusing.

    However (and the reason I suggest you need to involve your union and be cautious), there are two potential developments as a consequence of you refusing a unilateral variation to your contract of which you should be aware:

    1) The school is clearly reorganising ["move to a three year GCSE"] and has identified the need for a teacher to work 0.8 to deliver this new course.

    If you refuse to work 0.8 and they absolutely cannot manage the business any other way and cannot find a teacher able to pick up the addtional 0.2, they could legitimately replace with a full-time or 0.8 teacher and argue that the requirement for a 0.6 teacher has gone and make the post redundant.

    2) The second scenario is similar but what could be argued by the school is that reorganisation has made the variation to your contract essential. Your refusal of the variation to your contract impedes the effective running of the business and (they could argue) they could lawfully dismiss for Some Other Substantial Reason, with 'reorganisation' having already been accepted by the EAT as a 'substantial' reason to dismiss. It is a sort of quasi-redundancy situation and this particular way of dismissing someone is very difficult to attack as unfair.

    None of us knows how your school will react to your response to the proposed change to your contract. There may well be a way in which your preference to work 0.6 can be accommodated. We can't know that.

    But do please make your union aware and involve them at all stages to protect your interests, just in case.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  7. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    The letter IS the record of a mutually-agreed variation to the terms of your contract.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    You could try looking for a possible solution for them: work out which departments will have fewer teaching hours with the new timetable, and suss out whether any of them are interested in your subject. If you can point out that Mrs B might be willing to teach your subject to year 9, it might solve their problem.
  9. MrsT30

    MrsT30 New commenter

    I have a feeling that members of my department may be required to make up hours in another subject.
  10. MrsT30

    MrsT30 New commenter

    I believe the offer is to be paid .8 but work .76 (or thereabouts) using non contact or ppa to leave early/. This means more time away from my child and less time in school to get things done. The proposal may also have to be over five days, spread out across such times that it would make securing a nursery place impossible. I would be paying for full days that I wouldn't necessarily need and in turn be financially out of pocket. Would I have any grounds to negotiate a more suitable pattern?
  11. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    You need to take this to your union. We cannot advise on this on here - but good luck with it all.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Do read carefully the information from @GLsghost and get in touch with your Union.

    Best wishes

  13. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    I have a colleague who is paid for 0.76 and is in every day. The school has refused to pay him for any 'blocked time' cause by morning and afternoon lessons which is causing him immense stress for similar childcare and sanity reasons.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Go to the union. Don't tell anyone in school at this point.

    In the meantime say very nicely that you can only do 3 days in school as at present. See what the reaction may be. Be firm. Be pleasant.

    If you sense that they bridle at this then go away looking downhearted but don't say anything. Have a think about doing 4 days. Have a think about suggesting you might just stretch to 4 days.

    Your bottom line seems to be that 5 days is no good at all. So be steadfast and don't even consider it.

    Make sure you are clear with the union about what you
    a/ want
    b/ can just about tolerate

    But they could easily go with the redundancy route if you simply can't give them the hours they need.
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  15. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I'm not sure what the situation is now, but it used to be that part-time hours were only up to 15 per week (plus you had to do all your preparation and marking at home unpaid) and the reason for this was because over this number of hours you are entitled to pay into a teacher's pension scheme and are covered for a full state pension. Maggie Thatcher brought it in that no more FE teachers were to be taken on full-time, but offered only part-time work, and therefore I, who was just about to become full-time was stopped. The result is that I neither get a full state pension or anything relating to a teacher's pension. She was an artful woman who did such awful things to people. So check up about the pension situation linked to your hours of work. Hope this helps.
  16. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Josie, you can pay into the teachers' pension scheme whatever the part-time hours now, and they've also made the default position for part-timers to be in the pension scheme.

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