Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fletch Employment Question

Just a little question for the readers here who are more knowledgeable than myself...

I am a sole charge office person, who does debtors, creditors, wages and answers the phone etc. Often when I go to lunch there is no one else in the office to answer the phone so I switch it across to the company cell phone.

Occasionally it misbehaves and I miss a call. I've missed a couple in the last few days from the head of the company (mainly because of phone reception) which he has complained about(and rightly so, I suppose), and even made the comment that I might have to eat my lunch by the phone in the office.

My question is - am I entitled to a lunch break away from work and doing work things? eg, answering the phone - be it in the office or on mobile. I don't have a contract of any kind right at the moment with the company.

I tried to find on the Employment Relations site but haven't been able to find anything.

Thanks for any advice!

9 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

You need some kind of employment contract (EC).
Then you can clearly stipulate what it is you need to do and where you need to be.

I suspect it is almost near illegal to not have some kind of EC these days.

Ask your boss (NAY, DEMAND) one.

David said...

Yes, you ARE entitled to a lunch break, and as it is UNPAID, it is your time to do what you wish. It is the employer's responsibility to cover your lunch break, not yours.

Once upon a time there were these employee groups called Unions (I think they existed, there are books about them) that would ensure employees received their entitlements.

If you work and you don't get paid your employer is stealing your time, the obnly thing an employee has to sell.

And tips is right on the EC; it is a legal requirement, if you don't have one your employer is either ignorant or arrogant.

Anonymous said...

You have the right to demand a written contract. You also have the right to a break after 4 hours of continuous work, contract or no contract.

take your break. You are not paid for your lunch break so your boss cant tell you what to do unless he pays you for it. And if he does pay you for it you still have the right to take a break after 4 hours.

Speak to your boss. Get that contract asap or you could be fired with 1 days notice if things get nasty.
dave@BigNews

Anonymous said...

.. PS if you have any problems on getting that contract or taking your unpaid breaks let us know.

I.M Fletcher said...

Thanks, I'll have a look at that. I did have some kind of contract for a few months when I first started and then nothing was ever done in regard to renewing it.

I guess I figured it worked both ways - I could leave when and if I wanted without giving any notice.

Rebel Heart said...

Not necessarily. There is such a thing as an oral agreement which works as an implied contract - so if you leave without notice you might still have your ass kicked. Best thing is to call up the Labour Department and ask to speak to the Labour Inspector, who can tell you all your rights etc.

I.M Fletcher said...

OK, I'll give that a go, thanks.

ZenTiger said...

You are entitled to a lunch break, end of story.

Divert the phone to your bosses mobile.

If he gets peeved, ask him if can put in writing the policy around answering calls whilst you are in the toilet, because you may accidentally drop the mobile phone in the bowl, and you want something in writing to absolve yourself of any blame should that unfortunate event occur.

robinsod said...

It is unlawful for your employer to not provide you with an employment agreement (they've not been classed as contracts for more that 7 years). And yes you are entitled to your lunch break but not to a paid meal break such as morning or afternoon tea. The problem you will face is that any IEA (individual employment agreement) will be negotiated on your employer's terms unless you have particularly scarce skills and/or are good at negotiating (and given your post I suspect you do/are not). I would suggest you join a union in order to combine your negotiating strength with that of your workmates in order to get the best results. You can free-phone 0800 4 UNION to find out which union covers your industry. I hope this helps.

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