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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22826
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Three years ago I started a new job the hours were 30 hours

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Three years ago I started a new job the hours were 30 hours a week. For half the year it is almost impossible to get the work done in that time and I have had to work extra hours. Most of them have been paid for. After I started I found out that the person who did the job before me had the same issue i.e. struggled to get the work done in the alloted time. We have had a new system implemented and this has caused more work rather than less. There is a chance that the job will be changed to 40 hours a week. I have suggested that some of the work be given to somebody else and the job left at 30 hours but this probably won't happen. I do not want to work 40 hours a week so will probably leave. There is a redunancy clause in my contract but that seems to be geared towards loss of hours or the position no longer being required. If the job is changed to 40 hours would I be entitled to redundancy due to the fact that the hours have been changed and they are not what I originally signed up for?

christhelawyer : HiWelcome to JustAnswer. My first response will follow shortly. Please feel free to follow up if anything is not clear
christhelawyer : This is a situation which is more of a restructuring rather than a redundancy, although the net effect is much the same. The position with your contract is that you are employed for 30 hours, and you do not have to consent to an increase to 40 hours. They cannot compel you to increase your hours. So if they insist then that is a matter where you can claim a personal grievance.
christhelawyer : The issue is whether this triggers the redundancy clause. If the only job they have is a 40 hour job, and you are only able to work a 30 hour job, then it is arguable that you are redundant.
christhelawyer : In the course of any restructuring, you must be consulted and asked about changes, and your views should be considered. So you must be given the opportunity to argue for the 30 hour role which you have at present.
christhelawyer : if they insist on the 40 hour role, then at that point you can suggest that redundancy be offered as an alternative

Is the situation the same if I don't want to work the 40 hours rather than not being able to for some reason i.e. childcare etc

christhelawyer : You have a contract for 30 hours, and cannot be made to change this without your consent, so the reason is perhaps not so important. I am sure you have good reasons of course.

Thank you. In my contract it says that my hours my vary from time to time and I may be required to work extra hours sometimes. Does all the above still apply then? I am guessing that having to work extra hours on the odd occasion is different than the hours being changed permantly to 40 hours?

christhelawyer : There is a difference between odd times that you work extra, and a change to 40. If you change to 40 they would likely still have the extra hours clause as well.

Is the "extra hours " clause a normal clause in most Individual Employment Agreements? In mine it says" Regular and reasonable additional hours of work (0vertime) is an expected part of this position.Is that normal I must admit I didn't really take that part in when I signed it.

christhelawyer : It is not uncommon in my experience. At least they acknowledge this, as some places expect you to do the extra hours without it being in the contract.

I have been the one who has bought the workload issue to their attention in the first place. My ideal solution would be for them to get someone else to do the extra work rather then increase my hours. Will it make a difference to the redundacy/PG issue that I was the one who complained in the first place? They could argue that they are solving the problem and I don't like the solution.. However, the work load increase isn't my fault - I am just the one dealing with it and wanting the problem resolved.

christhelawyer : In a situation where you are at 30 hours, and they need someone to handle the overload, and there is someone available, that is an option you can press on them to use, when they consult.

I suppose it doesn't hurt my case as they have an alternative and if they still choose to change my hours instead then I can ask for redundancy. Thank you. That has all been very helpful. Is it Ok if I don't do the rating bit straight away and leave it until this afternoon in case I think of any more questions?

christhelawyer : Sure
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