Is requiring your staff to be in contact in their own time legal? | LawHive - Solicitors & Lawyers Online
Is requiring your staff to be in contact in their own time legal?
I work at a supermarket in England and have been for the last 2.5 years. I was working 2 weeks straight the last 2 weeks and yesterday was my first day off and the only one until the Friday after next. I wanted to actually enjoy my day off but instead was bombarded with texts and calls from my manager who always seems to want to ask me questions about my close or other duties on my day off and I decided rather than answer like I usually do I'll actually enjoy my day off. It wasn't long before I got a text that stated "And still no reply, not impressed to say the least. The area manager will be in tomorrow and we will discuss what will happen as you are required to answer your phone when necessary." I went in today and explained that I was out with my family all day which they did not accept as a good enough reason and tomorrow after my shift I have a meeting with the manager and area manager to discuss my future here. I feel like I should be entitled to not have to be in contact with my employer on my day off especially if it was a one time thing. What could they potentially do at the meeting and is requiring your staff to be in contact in their own times legal?

David Szabo

24th November 2022



Top Answer
Please call ACAS for some further support but they are breaking as the other poster said working time directives amoungst others in contacting you on your day off. This isn't to sound mean but you work in a supermarket.... Not a key government security official that needs to be contactable 24/7 (I had the same issue years back and my other half said the same thing to me... The world isn't going to go to nuclear holocaust or the company isn't going to go into administration if I am not contactable working hours) Good luck

Dorothy Hartrick

8th January 2022



Definitely contact ACAS, I don't think a supermarket employee contract would have a clause about answering your phone at all times outside working hours unless you were in call or something. You've worked at the company for over 2 years so cannot dismiss without cause. I'd speak to them as soon as possible to see what steps to take. Try do it before your meeting so you are prepared.

Dawn Johnston

8th January 2022



Take someone with you as a witness to the meeting with you.

Juan Bartley

8th January 2022



Just to echo what is said above... contact ACAS urgently. If there is no contractual obligation to be "on call,", there is no obligation to be contactable, particularly if they are relying on a personal mobile number. If you can, ask a trusted colleague to accompany you to the meeting (a union rep if possible). It has been presented as a performance discussion so you should be entitled to be accompanied. If you can't arrange someone to accompany you, consider asking by email to rearrange the meeting until you can be accompanied. They may refuse but it gives you an email trail. Good luck.

Matthew Grissom

8th January 2022



Unless you’re being paid to be on call your free time is your free time. If you’re in a union speak to your rep ASAP, failing that look up and speak to ACAS. You were not on the clock therefore you are not obliged to answer calls or respond to texts. If they try to go down the disciplinary route you are entitled to written notice of disciplinary meetings and you’re also entitled to have a union rep or colleague with you. If they start the meeting saying this is a disciplinary you must tell them to stop and that you want the correct procedure followed which as I mentioned is written notice and the right to have someone with you.

David Sibert

8th January 2022



OP, I'm sorry I don't have an advice but all of this seems very wrong and I hope for your sake you'll find a better job soon, this is clearly a company that you don't want to be involved in. Please come back and tell us how the meeting went.

David Williams

8th January 2022



Fucking numb nuts! Who the fuck do they think they are? As advised, ring ACAS. Check your contract re being on call. For sure take someone into the meeting with you. You are only offering your services for the hours they pay you. The rest of your time is your very own to do what you please with. It pleased you to ignore your manager and who the fuck can blame you. Jeezus what a cuntbucket. Good luck

Ivan Beckman

8th January 2022



Good luck, OP, I hope you stick it to them. Supermarket managers can be the worst most uninspired people I've ever met.

Angela Watts

8th January 2022



Unless you've signed away your rights according to the "European Working Times Directive" I'd try this angle. I'd point out to whoever you have the meeting with that you wouldn't answer your phone because you didn't want management to break employment laws and get into any trouble. Quote this passage from the WTD: "a minimum weekly rest period, for each 7-day period a worker is entitled to a minimum of 24 *uninterrupted* hours in addition to the 11 hours' daily rest" If you phrase it as you not wanting the company to get into any trouble, I can't see how any punishment would show the company in a good light and might in fact open them up to legal action.

John Cannon

8th January 2022