You and the Law – March 10th, 2009

Calling time

I’VE worked three days a week for a firm for seven years, putting in an eight-hour day. Until recently they¹ve paid me at time-and-a-half for any extra hours worked. But a new manager now says if you don¹t do 40 hours a week he doesn’t have to pay overtime. Is this true? LK

Part-time workers should receive the same hourly rate of overtime pay as comparable full-time workers – but only once they have worked more than the normal full-time hours. You are entitled to the agreed payment for any extra hours worked to date.

But unless you are contractually obliged to work overtime (in which case you might be able to argue that the time-and-a-half rate has been set by custom and practice) you will have to reach a new agreement if you want to continue working extra hours.

As things stand, you’re not obliged to work overtime and your employers are not obliged to offer it.

Caught in a trap

MY son was caught in a speed trap and didn¹t supply any information about the identification of the driver. He’s now been issued with a summons. I thought there was a European law about the right to silence? MP

Under the Human Rights Act (which incorporated the European Convention into British law) you have the right to a fair trial, including a right not to incriminate yourself.

However, the courts have decided that there is no conflict between this right and your obligation under the Road Traffic Act to supply details of the driver of a vehicle where it is alleged that an offence has been committed.

Individuals have a possible defence that they are unable to provide the information despite
‘reasonable diligence’.

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