|sent from: London, UK. destination: Ashford, Kent, UK|
When I first worked in London in 2007, the contract had a surprising part in it – it was an “opt out of the working time agreement”, essentially waiving a piece of labour law protecting me from being made to work over 48-hours a week. It caught me by surprise and I wasn’t happy about it, but I went ahead and signed it. This time around in London, after a punishing few years in LA, I wasn’t going to give up any labour rights especially where hours were concerned. I investigated, and it is voluntary, no company can force you to opt out of this protection. Many HR people will try to force you to sign it, but they cannot. It’s a hassle for them, because it forces them to track your hours. What, you don’t log your hours? Nope, why should they, when you aren’t paid OT? No OT?? Yeah, don’t get me started. Anyway, I’ve been tracking my hours and did a check recently. It’s 48 hours averaged over 17 weeks, so you can work someone for 60 hours for 7 weeks and go back to 40 hours weeks and still come in under the 48 hour average. Still, I am close to going over the limit – it’s the weekend work that really pushes up the average. Most people, especially those new to the industry, know nothing of the protection, only that they’ve opted out of it.
Your hours, your time, is the only thing you truly own, don’t give them away.