Do you ever (or always) have to be at work earlier than your stated working time? Legally, this is not allowed, a subdistrict court has ruled. If your employer wants you to be there earlier, they have to pay for that too.
The reason is a Limburg company that fired an employee because she was not always present ten minutes before the start of her work. Last April, the woman started working for the company, Dimass from Haelen. The distribution company handles the handling and shipping of orders for web shops.
“Then fire me”
The company’s house rules state that employees must be present 10 minutes before the start of their working hours. Within that time, managers can then give instructions, so that the services are properly coordinated. But the dismissed employee was often not present before and was warned several times by her employer.
In September, the company again spoke to the woman about arriving ‘too late’. She responded: “well then, fire me”, or “well, fire me then”. And her wish was fulfilled, she was fired on the spot. But the employee was not so happy about that, because she went to court. She has now agreed with her.
“If Dimass believes that the presence of the staff 10 minutes before the start of the work is essential (…) this should also be reflected in the payment of that time to the employees,” said the judge. “It concerns regular working hours.”
13,000 euros in damage
The company now has to pay the woman her September and October salary, plus course fees, severance pay and legal fees. This does not harm the woman: she receives a total of almost 6000 euros. She has also found work elsewhere.
Despite the amount they have to pay, Dimass director Peter Walraven is not concerned about the lost cause. “We wanted to get rid of that employee for several reasons. She had damaged the warehouse for 13,000 euros and had already worn out seven laptops. But because that is no reason for dismissal, we were looking for a stick to hit the dog with. ”
Few euros per service
Despite the fact that companies are actually not allowed to require staff to be present before their stated working hours, this happens in almost every industry. In the supermarket, for example, in most cases it is a requirement that you are at the relevant department five minutes before your working time. Who knows, maybe something special happened at the checkout or in the bread department, or you need to be updated about a new product.
Also in the hospitality industry it is usually quite normal that you are present a little earlier. After all, your colleagues also want to go home on time, and if they have to wait for you, that is usually not nice. These are not just a few examples, for almost every (side) job you have to be on time a little earlier than indicated. This is especially the case with companies that work with services, such as indeed the catering industry, supermarkets and other shops. At the office, 9 a.m. is often just 9 a.m.
According to the judge, companies must therefore pay if they want staff to be present earlier. If we assume the minimum hourly wage of someone of 20 (8.17 euros), this is 1.36 euros. Depending on how often you work per week, you would therefore benefit a few euros if your boss paid you for those ten minutes.
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