back to article Europe considers making it law that your boss can’t bug you outside of office hours

Europe has had enough of the blurring between work and personal time – where your boss calls you in the evening or colleagues email at the weekend – and is mulling introducing legislation that would provide a “right to disconnect.” The European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee adopted a report this week …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    * Does not apply to non-EU countries

    whose inmates are Subjects of a Norman Yoke.

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

      Ironically, in ostensibly cutting ourselves off from the Normans, we Britons seem voluntarily to have taken up their yoke again in a deranged act of masochism.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

        Weren't they discussing revoking the working time directive post Brexit?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

          If not in it's entirety, then at least parts of it, yes.

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

            I guess when getting sovereignty back they didn't think about asking who would be their kings.

      2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

        (obvious downvoting brexiteers are obvious)

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

          (obvious downvoting brexiteers are still obvious)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

      Subjects of a Norman Yoke, yet failing to benefit from Norman Wisdom?

      Sorry Mr. Grimsdale.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

        Norman Wisdom was very popular in Albania as well.

    3. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

      Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

      Isn't this a little tedious by now?

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

        Why yes, yes it is. And it's all the more galling as I didn't vote for it.

        1. Extreme Aged Parent

          Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

          Neither did I, and we are now blessed with the gifts that Brexit keeps on giving...

    4. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

      This anti-Brexit hate campaign is just stupid.

      We have left. If you want something, like rules on working hours, campaign for our laws to change instead of producing a stream of impotent hatred.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

        I don't see any hate here, just statements of opinion – including yours. People continue to be allowed to express those. For now.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: * Does not apply to non-EU countries

      Nor in the "Land of the Free". My husband (part-time, semiretired) got a 7am call just today from his boss, Since his boss is both partially deaf and a loud talker, I got the benefit of the conversation about why he (my husband) was not on the "call list" for customers experiencing a problem with their software product.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been there, done that.

    Been on call for the past eleven years. First as there was no one else, and when there finally was someone I had to train him. Took ages to bring someone up from scratch. Yes, sins committed by me and only I knew about were part of the problem. Left the company last year, and all out of sudden the tendovaginitis disappeard and I lost 15kg.

    Lads, don't go there, have a rest. And a life.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Been there, done that.

      Yes. Well said.

      In my past life I worked as a scientist, which is in fact to live as a scientist, which means that this is what defines you entirely. Every minute you think about your job, which is something you really enjoy, are enthusiastic about, and in fact is what you are, not just a job.

      You work at night.

      You work on weekends.

      You think about the next big project when on holidays

      - and finish writing the bloody paper while on holidays.

      I did love my job, some of the best years of my life, met lots of interesting, intelligent people all around the world, from many different countries. There were downsides, ooh yes, and I began to feel them.

      From a health perspective my current job, dull as it may be at times, is much better. I disconnect outside office hours (a select few have private contacts, but those are friends, who would not abuse this for work). And now I know how much I have abused myself in the past. Never going to happen again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Been there, done that.

        Same here. I was on the MD's "break glass in case of emergency" list. I took satisfaction from being first in and last out. I loved my first Blackberry because I could respond to emails and have a crap at the same time. I was bloody good at my job and I loved it.

        Then I retired and, hopefully not too late, realized what a twat and a mug I was. Now? - my health's better, I sleep better, no more heartburn and my eczema's gone.

        What a twat I was.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Been there, done that.

      I've been doing the same for around the last 15 years, I do get paid, quite well paid , for it though. It's simply become part of my working life.

      There are four of us in the same boat, you can be sure that any of the four will answer a call immediately, or respond to an email with the half hour, regardless of the day of week...

      I am on holiday at the moment, and I have just finished doing my emails for the morning and resolved a small SQL problem. It ony took 30 mins or so , so not a major problem ( whilst waiting for the wife to get out of bed)...

      Some days it annoys me but most of the time I just take it in my stride.. Salary does make a huge difference though, if I was running on an entry level it would out of the question..

    3. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Been there, done that.

      Yup. On call every other week.

      Eventually had a break down due to always worrying about when it would go off, being called on Christmas day and Boxing day and on and on and on.

      Now doing a piss poor paid day job. Wouldn't go back to that for £100k a year.

    4. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Been there, done that.

      I know of a former colleague who like many had a company BlackBerry. She announced one day in an email that she was turning it off at 17:45 every weekday and at weekends.

      Boss responded by email (reply all) saying if she didn't want to be contactable out of office hours that was fine with him. He also reminding her that she'd only been given the BlackBerry so people could contact her away from the office.

      She was part of an "on call team" and paid extra to be so. He'd therefore be reducing her salary and having the BlackBerry back.

      She opted to stay available out of hours after realising how much she'd be out of pocket.

      1. FatalR

        Re: Been there, done that.

        I think most people aren't compensated which is main problem here.

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Been there, done that.

          The thing is, though, that's a fair response for when she is actually meant to be on call. But that shouldn't be 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

          I had a role as a principal architect. I was the go-to for the people reporting into me, the directors above, the sales staff alongside me and customers.

          I'd be getting calls at 2am sometimes when something went wrong.

          I did the maths and worked out what a piss-poor hourly rate it translated to because whenever I brought the topic up, I was told some bullshit about a blended salary yada yada yada.

          Genuinely when I put the figures for utilisatioon into the company spreadsheet (we had to be able to justify new hires so this was standard) I was actually coming in at somewhere not much North of minimum wage.

          I therefore decided to do my homework some more. I went and checked out the market and to add insult to injury I was underpaid for an architect role, let alone principal.

          So armed with all the details - copies of the jobs listings and my utilisation etc, I sat down with my boss to discuss. And got told there was no money for any kind of raise.

          I left three months earlier and went back to my unwritten rule of work is for work.

          For the last decade I've always made it clear. Contacting me out of normal hours is the exception. Overtime is the exception and is paid for. I am contracted to work 37.5/40 hours a week (whichever it is) and ok, if I am working away then I don't mind doing extra hours Mon-Thurs but that's on the understanding that I am out of there on a Friday morning.

          I still get random calls at 9pm or later. They don't get answered. If it's urgent they'll leave a VM but surprise, surprise, it's rarely that urgent that they don't leave one and just move onto someone that does answer.

          My holidays. My family time. My weekends. They are mine.

          1. TonyJ Silver badge

            Re: Been there, done that.

            Ugh. Fingers and brain disconnected! Obviously I meant three months LATER!

          2. Scott 26
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Been there, done that.

            Years back (at a .govt.nz) on-call was a 'gentleman's agreement' with the business... then one particular business group wanted a formal contract (something to do with an FTP process they wanted nursing - it was very specific). I agreed to be part of a roster of 3 (I think)... it was money for nothing - the FTP process normally ran at about 3pm, so it wasn't going to be an A/H problem. Also, the extra kiwi pesos in my payslip weren't insignificant.

            The process was to cut the helldesk phone over to a mobile... no IVR, so users didn't know they were going thru to a cellphone. You'd get the odd user ringing thru saying something like "oh I didn't expect someone to answer - I've forgotten my password"... and my response was "Sorry, I will log a ticket for you and someone will look at for you in the morning" (this is exactly what the on-call variation/contract said).

            I would get the occasional one saying "oh, the other guy last week helped me" (and I would die a little inside, but re-state my position, expanding on what the on-call arrangements were, ie, they weren't paying for after hours/on-call support, so they would have to wait until the next business day - mostly the users were understanding, eg I've just got back in the country and I didn't even know what the time was, oh well, suppose I should sleep - yes, yes you should :rolleyes:)

            But then one day we had a very specialised (and temporary) (read self-important) business group needing to get a report out ... they rang through after hours to me with some kind of problem - can't remember what it was - printer wasn't working, maybe... how the holy fuck I was supposed to fix that remotely, I don't know. Gave them my usual spiel and they said "oh [Desktop Manager] said there was someone on call to help us"..... hmmmm... news to me, so I told them so, and they said they were going to ring [DM]... ok, fine, she's not technically in my chain of command, so she can't tell me what to do. 1/2 an hour later [DM] is ringing me, and I bluntly said "At what point did you think it might be a polite thing to do and give the oncall person, me, a heads up that this business group needed help?"

            She was a shite manager and spouted some bollocks about this group's report was needing to go to the PM's office. I said something about 'lack of planning on their part doesn't make an emergency on mine". The stupid thing was if she had just given me the heads up I probably would have helped if I could (grudgingly). But because of her lack of common courtesy, I dug my toes in and quoted the on-call contract I had signed. She threatened to go to her boss (who was my boss' boss)... I told her go for it and when my on-call rotating was finished that week I was resigning from it... leaving them only two people on the roster.

            I can't remember what the outcome was that night, but I kept my word and resigned from on-call, and while I missed the money, it was so good not to have to worry about that damn phone. Even though it was 1 week in 3, it was still a PITA - couldn't go away, couldn't go to the pub, couldn't go to the pictures.....

            Fast forward a few years and they tried to bring 'proper' on-call.... for the whole department, not just that one business group. The remuneration was calculated a slightly different way, but when you applied the numbers, it worked out to be about 60% of the original agreement (so you want to pay me less for supporting more?)

            I refused to sign the contract variation.... I had several 'conversations' with senior management & HR, but by this stage I was unioned up, and I would copy my delegate into every conversation. and I would relay the above and the union rep would say "he kinda has a point"

            These days I'm at an IT outsourcer in a specialised role operating "in the cloud" (whoooo).... so no on-call (business support hours only, and even then 99.99% outages are ground-to-cloud connectivity related, so don't talk to me, talk to network support)

            Ahhhh... these forums are a bit like therapy! Icon cos I feel like I need some stress relief now.

          3. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

            Re: Been there, done that.

            "Genuinely when I put the figures for utilisatioon into the company spreadsheet (we had to be able to justify new hires so this was standard) I was actually coming in at somewhere not much North of minimum wage."

            I worked a short time for a friends IT consulting company. (mistake, never work for a friend) I was paid well but he had this notion that everyone should work 100 hours/week. He would say, "I work 100 hours a week!" I had to explain it to him that as a principal owner of the company that when he works 100 hours a week on billable time he makes more money, when I work 100 hours a week I make less money. It was a concept he had a hard time grasping.

            I left soon after that. There were some hard feelings but now we are still friend.

    5. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Been there, done that.

      Yep. Me too.

      Although I am glad that my current employer has a different attitude. I get a company phone and I am supposed to turn it off / leave it in the office, when I am not working. I generally tend to turn it to mute and stick it in my work backpack and just leave it there when I leave work, or at the moment in home office, I leave it on mute in my office in the cellar, when I stop for the day.

      And overtime has to be taken as time off in lieu as quickly as possible.

      The last 2 places were similar. Any weekend work was planned in advance (E.g. server maintenance that couldn't be done during office hours) and was minimal - 2 or 3 times a year.

      But before that, the place was horrible. Long hours and last minute call outs. I had the CEO turn up at my desk at 16:30 and say, "I need 50 slides for a presentation at CeBIT at 09:00 tomorrow morning."

      And calls from customers at 01:00 through 04:00 weren't uncommon either - we sold software for meat processing plants and the slaughter lines usually started just after midnight.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Been there, done that.

        @"CEO turn up at my desk at 16:30 and say......", classic bad management the correct answer is "sorry I have to leave on time I have a thing".

        Brownie points for keeping bad management in place depreciate faster than GBP and in my experience there is no downside to being firm. I used to running around fixing everything and chances awere that this is some other person they lean upon demanding their pound of flesh and management are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

        If you are known not to put their fkups first then they don't even ask you in the end and you still get paid and treated just the same since they can't complain about you without revealing their own failures.

    6. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Been there, done that.

      when there finally was someone I had to train him

      Lucky you! I've been the sole technical point of contact for decades and my company's too mean to recruit a Me 2.0.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Been there, done that.

        What happens when you win lottery/retire/lose argument with a bus?

        1. Kernel

          Re: Been there, done that.

          "What happens when you win lottery/retire/lose argument with a bus?"

          While I fully appreciate the point you're trying to make, I do struggle to see why the OP would give a shit, especially in the event of the bus option.

  3. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Simple approach - wages

    Make a contact by telephone or email during time off count as 1 hour of work time - to be paid at overtime rates (time and a quarter if overtime rates are not defined by a contract). This would rapidly cut down the amount of work interruptions to time off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simple approach - wages

      They just render you "on call" or exempt as part of your work contract. Don't sign, don't work, and then you find out everyone does the same thing...

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Simple approach - wages

        If it's in your contract, you're being appropriate informed and compensated, right? Or do you just sign any new additions to your contract?

        "On call" does not mean "work for free". It means that you are the guy who will make themselves available when it's necessary to do so. Not that you'll work unpaid.

        1. FatalR

          Re: Simple approach - wages

          For non hourly staff, how many get compensated for this though?

          Some have specific hours on all (not 24/7) which they get a stipend, then hourly rate after that.

          I do feel that we should have automatic overtime at more than 1x these days over 40 hours. With *no* opt out allowed.

          In some part, I don't think its just the company that is the problem, its the staff. The company obviously turns a blind eye to it, provide phones, laptops because they think it will gain them free hours. I have straight up been told its a "win win" to provide laptops to people. No one that we have done this for has any kind of on-call agreement or hourly rate. Some of us have no OT clauses too.

          A few years ago I saw another management level employee on linkedin comment on another's photo which had laptops in docks on desks out of hours . They said "Its a bug bear of mine seeing laptops left in the docks at work". Could be seen as "this is why we should use PCs" but from the discussion it was obvious that was not the case. I'm glad to see that some others were commenting on the shittiness of his situation.

          Reminds me of the Microsoft poster about working whilst sat on the toilet, or in bed in the evening.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Simple approach - wages

          > Or do you just sign any new additions to your contract?

          You get something to sign? Luxury!

          Today (hence the anon) I've just had a reminder that apparently I'm now obliged to inform my employer about *anything* that could be construed as a conflict of interest, particularly other employments. This, apparently, is a contractual change, but I've not been asked to sign anything (nor send some sort of confirmatory email in lieu).

          Promotions [1] also result in a new set of contractual terms. Not necessarily bad, but you bust a gut trying to impress enough to get a promotion and only then do you get to see the new contract. At which point accepting is hardly a free choice.

          [1] Beyond a certain grade - but easily within the range of a techie moving up to a more senior consultant type role.

    2. yoganmahew

      Re: Simple approach - wages

      I agree, I'm senior tech in a specialised field and have been on call for the last 8 years, 24x7x365.25; I'm in the middle of an extra-special on-call where I have to be at my desk within 5 minutes of a call for a customer activation. Total remuneration for this? Zero.

      So not just an hour minimum per call, but also a minimum payment for on-call hours.

      1. Adelio Silver badge

        Re: Simple approach - wages

        So why do you do it. I never had issue with doing a little extra work but I always expected to bet paid accordingly.

        A few minutes here or there were NOT an issue B.T.W.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Simple approach - wages

          Whether a few minutes are an issue depends on when and what you're doing. If I was asleep, even a 15 second question would be very disruptive - I'm not the type who can easily get back to sleep once I've awakened enough to answer a technical question. If I'm out with friends or on vacation, it would be quite disruptive.

          However, if I'm just flopped on the couch watching TV or posting on The Register a call much longer than a few minutes might not be disruptive. Heck, in some cases it might even be welcome!

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Operation Spartacus

    There are so many abuses especially in the IT world that such a law is welcome, and overdue.

    Wage slaves, revolt! Having a life outside of work is a basic right, for you and your family!

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Operation Spartacus

      Hmm, a downvote. Does your boss read El Reg?

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Operation Spartacus

        I doubt it, he understands the importance of equilibrium between work and family life. If he didn't, he wouldn't be my boss.

        I practised the 60 hour-long week in my young age for years, getting quite nothing in return. Surprisingly, now that I restricted myself to the legal working hours, my efficiency and my productivity greatly improved, as did my relation with coworkers. "A happy worker is a productive worker"

  5. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Happy

    Standard interview questions...

    Whenever I've been looking for a new role in the past and therefore actually answering the numerous emails I receive from scalpers, "what is the on-call expectation for this role?" is one of the first questions in my reply.

    Assuming that the scalper comes back with "none/minimal" and I then go to interview, when we get to the "do you have any questions?" bit, I always follow up with something like "the scalper said you have minimal on-call requirements - can you tell me how often someone in my role is expected to be on call and how often issues have come up?"

    So far, the three times I have been asked to work outside of office hours in my 20+ year career have all been paid back by extra holiday...

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Standard interview questions...

      In the interview for my current job I asked if there were any on-call requirements and was assured there weren't any.

      Once I started and my boss found out I'd been told there were no on-call requirements he wasn't too happy.

      But it wasn't my problem.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Standard interview questions...

        Yup. You pay me eight till four, I work eight till four. You want more work, you pay me more.

        'On call' is work *even if I am doing nothing*.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Standard interview questions...

        "But it wasn't my problem."

        It could have been the basis for negotiation.

        1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

          Re: Standard interview questions...

          It could, but I'd changed jobs 'cause I got fed up of my last job taking the **** with my workload & working hours. Not being on call was definitely part of my job criteria.

    2. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Standard interview questions...

      all been paid back by extra holiday

      Oh, the old "TOIL" getout eh? My lot use that all the time but it's actually impossible to take long enough time off when I need to. And "professional grades don't get paid overtime", which I gather is pretty common.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTD

    If it's anything like the working time directive they'd have us all sign waivers anyway*. Not that I suppose this matters in the sunlit uplands of the UK...

    (*This was way back when, shortly after the WTD was introduced. I did initially refuse but it was pointed out that it would be career limiting to do so ... I left soon after, but still.)

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: WTD

      In the last place I worked, I noted that our new contract (which we all had to sign) automatically included an opt-out from the WTD. I pointed out that this should not be A Thing and people should have to choose to opt out. Their solution? To offer an opt-out to the opt-out for those who wanted to opt out of opting out. At least half the company signed it. HR didn't like me after that. Now I work for myself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTD

        Opt-out to the opt-out is illegal - opting out of the WTD has to be opt-in.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTD

        "Now I work for myself"

        I guess you are on-call 365/7/24 now and working whatever hours you need to?

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: WTD

          Thankfully, my chosen line of work (technical/academic editing) means if it's sunny when I look out of the window in the morning, I can often say, "f#ck working, I'm going for a walk in the Peaks". The more work I do, the more money I get, and I can largely choose how to balance that. Plus, I've established that napping after lunch is almost always a good idea.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: WTD

      Literally illegal to even suggest that it's "career-limiting".

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: WTD

        Not suggesting it keeps within the law. Not suggesting doesn't stop it being career limiting.

      2. onemark03 Bronze badge

        ... illegal to even suggest that it's "career-limiting".

        Superfluous.

        We all know how these things become unwritten laws.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: WTD

      Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has confirmed his department launched a review into EU workers’ protections post-Brexit, but insisted there will not be a “bonfire of rights”.

      https://www.cityam.com/kwarteng-confirms-uk-review-into-scrapping-eu-workers-rights-regulations

      Nor did he say that there wouldn't be a "slow burn" of workers rights either.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: WTD

        I wont be a bonfire. It will be an oxyacetylene cutting of everything currently under the title.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: WTD

        Update: It would appear the minister has changed his mind (for now).

        Review of UK workers' rights post-Brexit is axed in sudden U-turn

        Only last week, new business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed consultation was going ahead

        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/jan/27/review-of-uk-workers-rights-post-brexit-is-axed-in-sudden-u-turn

    4. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: WTD

      We have the "WTD opt-out force push" at work too - here they frame it as "You can sign this, or you can account for every 15 minutes of your working day".

      Part of the problem I have as a software developer is that I actually really enjoy software development and problem solving. When I'm really into a problem I'll happily work 16+ hour days, and I'd rather write unit tests than watch Netflix, talk to people or make dinner. Even if I'm doing those things, I'm still thinking about the problems I'm working on and coming up with plans.

      This isn't conducive to a happy and functioning relationship, so most nights I force myself to stop by about 7 PM, make dinner and socialise, but she knows sometimes I'd rather be working away. When she goes to bed, I'm usually back online for another couple of hours.

      I know this isn't universal - I know plenty of people for whom it is a job, they work their hours, and when their day finishes they are totally happy to switch off and stop thinking about it. Probably healthier that way...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: WTD

        Just make sure the time spent accounting for every 15 minutes is accounted for. While you're doing that make sure it includes time spent getting back into the zone after every interruption.

        1. FatalR

          Re: WTD

          Also make sure it accounts for the time you were accounting for your time.

          We put a category on the timesheet software at one place that said "Filling time sheet". Everyone did it roughly on a Friday and it usually took that long.

          Company was happy enough to have rough estimates throughout the week, they felt it was better than none so wasn't the end of the world.

          (For companies that actually charge to projects and clients this is obviously important in its own right)

          1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: WTD

            > Also make sure it accounts for the time you were accounting for your time.

            To paraphrase George Santayana: those who cannot learn from Dilbert are doomed to repeat it.

            https://dilbert.com/strip/1995-09-15

      2. onemark03 Bronze badge

        I actually really enjoy software development and problem solving.

        Ah, yes, but you are one of the few people who actually love their jobs and derive no small amount of intellectual satisfaction from it. Not everyone is that fortunate.

        But what is going to happen when you retire or when you are no longer able to do what you currently do? Will you be at your wit's end and ultimately curl up and die or will you be glad it's all over and go on to perform other fulfilling non-job-related activities?

        FTR: I am freelance and thoroughly enjoy what I do precisely because it is so intellectually satisfying. However, I live alone, so I don't have the "problem" of having to accommodate a partner. I fully intend working on in my retirement because I love my job and I don't know what else I'd do with my time. I am not alone in this.

      3. FatalR

        Re: WTD

        You could spend your own time working on your own projects.

      4. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: WTD

        Tom 38: "You can sign this, or you can account for every 15 minutes of your working day"

        Strangely, when I had a vacation job at British Aerospace (Aircraft) in Hatfield, our timesheets contained a code for filling out the timesheet, and we were expected to spend 15 minutes each week doing so.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: WTD

          I dont know what the job was but I'd imagine if you could fill in the time sheet in 15 minutes then it wasn't worth itemising. I remember filling in a wedge of time for researching how to fill in a time sheet. After all they wouldnt want the customer to sue for me falsifying time sheets.

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Re: WTD

            I had to state which projects I'd worked on and for which manager. It wasn't difficult, but they needed the timesheet to account for everything, but I did find things confusing come payday.

            The day before I left that job, I asked the finance people "why are you paying me so much?"

            The answer surprised me:

            Firstly, I was expect to work a 37 hour week, but it was assumed that as I had worked a 37 hour week, I would have worked a 40 hour week, had I been asked to, so they paid me for 40 hours per week.

            Secondly, I got a bonus for working every day of a month.

            Thirdly, although I turned 18 in the middle of my employment, they couldn't be bothered with the paperwork to change my rates after only a few weeks of work, so they had paid me as if I were 18 all the time.

            The first two 'extras' were described on my payslip as 'tax adjustments'.

            This from a company that had paid a lot of people to do nothing during a Labour government, as there were no planes to make, but under Harold Wilson they couldn't sack anyone or make them redundant. So when they got some work, the workforce demanded (and got) a pay rise as now they actually had to do some work.

            I am not a fan of Mrs Thatcher or Mr Tebbit, but even I have to admit they did have a bit of a point in some cases.

    5. FatalR

      Re: WTD

      The waiver shouldn't be needed - it should be a fixed amount of recompense over the normal rate over the set hours (as per waiver).

      Sure some companies will try to suggest "effective" salary, but it goes a long way towards proper compensation for work done.

      And maybe a few more jobs for others.

  7. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    So what are office hours?

    Are they the hours in the main building or are they the hours where you are sitting? Suppose you are doing technical support and they send you to Australia or elsewhere to install a system for a customer ... and if you run into any problems during the installation will nobody be at the home office to talk to?

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: So what are office hours?

      If the company needs to provide support outside normal office hours then it should pay people to do it, not assume you can call them outside their working hours. So, in the example you quote then the company should have someone either in the office or at least on-call for a shift which covers Aus working time.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: So what are office hours?

        Ironically I now have to get up at 5:00 am most days for calls with our European head office because they won't have meetings after 4pm

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've always had a simple agreement with my bosses (who were usually in a very different timezone). If they needed me out of hours, they can call or email me. If I don't want to be called I turn my phone off or ignore the message. I'd usually much rather spend 10 minutes sorting out an issue than come in to work the next day to find a festering pile of email conversations which have to be individually cleaned up, but the choice is mine. I wouldn't work somewhere where I needed a law to protect me from my boss.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "I wouldn't work somewhere where I needed a law to protect me from my boss."

      The problem is not everybody is the position to decide when to answer or not. I too can ignore calls late in the day or in weekends, without any issue. Other people are not so lucky and do need a law to protect them.

      1. seven of five Silver badge

        Re: "I wouldn't work somewhere where I needed a law to protect me from my boss."

        Or have to react anyway as fixing it now will be much less agony than fixing it tomorrow.

      2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: "I wouldn't work somewhere where I needed a law to protect me from my boss."

        The problem with such laws is that while protecting some people they might make the life of other people more difficult by reducing flexibility allowed for them.

    2. Def Silver badge

      I wouldn't work somewhere where I needed a law to protect me from my boss.

      There are very few countries left, if any, where there aren't laws of some sort or another protecting you from your boss.

  9. My-Handle Silver badge

    In an emergency

    I've always gone to lengths to ensure that most people at work did not have my mobile number. It was only given to my line manager (who required it as a point of contact), the Director of IT, and one or two colleagues, all of whom I trusted not to abuse it. All of whom were also made aware of that reasoning. By and large, they didn't abuse it.

    Then Covid and mass working-from-home happened. My phone number was included in a Whatsapp group, and suddenly I was getting messages from the Head of Marketing and Head of HR. The former came to me in a flap, asked for a super-urgent update to the company website and gave some justification that made sense on the face of it. I dropped what I was doing, did the work, then went and did some digging on the reasoning behind it. There was none (A 20% impact on our sales, quoted by HoM, turned into less than 5% impact on traffic and less than 1% impact on sales for less than 8 hours overnight. Statistically, 0% impact). The Head of HR wanted me to add a job vacancy to the website on a weekend. She was pointedly ignored, then told to keep that kind of thing to work hours the following week.

    If it's an emergency, I've made it known I will be available. If it's not, then I'm not.

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: In an emergency

      Marketing and HR - we all know they're evil.

      1. Caesarius
        Thumb Up

        Re: In an emergency

        "Marketing and HR - we all know they're evil"

        That is my default opinion, but I made a point of thanking the lady in HR who negotiated our medical insurance package. I knew she took it seriously, and I have needed it over and over.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In an emergency

          "...negotiated our medical insurance package"

          Are you by any chance a Left-pondian or is that something Brits do too?

          Sorry, I'm not trying to be snarky - this is not a thing where I am (EU).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: In an emergency

            Some companies provide (private) health insurance as a benefit to staff.

            They we tend to say health insurance not medical insurance, so maybe you're right.

            1. Number6

              Re: In an emergency

              UK private health insurance is a dubious benefit most of the time, given that it's taxable and so you're paying a significant chunk of it yourself.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: In an emergency

                It's a benefit for the company not you, Since it only covers non-emergency stuff it's for the sot of things that would take the NHS ages to deal with in otherwise healthy staff,

                You're getting it so they don't have you below 100% at work for weeks/months when a bit of physio or some minor surgery can fix you up this weekend - think of it as a maintenance contract

    2. MrReynolds2U Bronze badge

      Re: In an emergency

      Yep, I've had similar issues during the new WFH period. People calling me on my mobile about an *urgent* issue and being absolutely rude with it too. So I was rude back to them. I reported the conversation to the MD in case of a HR backlash and he said "I don't blame you. I'll speak to them." No more work calls on my mobile and I can just review Teams messages when I have the time.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In an emergency

      Did they call you to make the website job change?

      I would hope things like that always come in as an email, even during hours.

      I would never worry about people asking me questions out of hours via email so long as no one expects a response.

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: In an emergency

        Didn't call, but did message my personal phone rather than use work email. The message was ignored completely, and when I got into work the following Monday there was an email waiting for me. Dated that morning.

        I say the message was ignored, I did advise a colleague who also had the ability to edit the website to likewise ignore any similar message he might get.

    4. MrBanana Silver badge

      Re: In an emergency

      "The Head of HR wanted me to add a job vacancy to the website on a weekend. "

      You should have added their job as now being vacant.

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: In an emergency

      And this is another reason why you should switch to Signal - there's a much higher chance that Marketing & HR won't be on it.

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: In an emergency

        I am on Signal as well. The downside is that no-one else I know is, which kind of renders that moot.

    6. Mark Ruit

      Re: In an emergency

      Many years ago I worked allegedly standard hours as a support technician for a group which provided 24/7 gatekeeper service to manufacturing. I used to get called in fairly regularly but the group manager denied both payment or TOIL and and even refused recompense of my telephone rental (this was long before mobile telephony). The same manager never took an outside call to my knowledge, but his rental was paid.

      Then I moved house, from ~2 miles from the factory to ~25 miles (and we sold our car as part of the financing). I spun the tale (credible in those days) that there was an issue which prevented me taking over the phone contract,. The inevitable crash took about three weeks: the group's set-up (not IT) went out of spec, test results were meaningless, and production shut down on the Saturday night.

      Monday morning was interesting. I came out of it with an agreement for time-and-half payment (not TOIL) for call-ins on weekdays and double-time for Sundays (always including travel time), coverage of taxi fares both ways, and my phone rental fully paid. And the boss was moved-on about a year later.

      The extra money did help us get on top of our new mortgage a bit quicker...

  10. WhereAmI?

    In the early years of my career I suffered a major stress-related collapse which took me almost three years to fully recover from. One of the first things I remember thinking when I woke up was 'nobody is doing that to me again'. Since then, work has simply been a means to provide money to do what I want. I walk out the office (or as it is now, close the laptop) and that's me gone until start-time tomorrow. Career? I decided I didn't want one after that. In the fifteen years I've had my current job my manager has called once out-of-hours and apologised profusely before asking the question. It took longer to listen to his apology than it did to answer the question.

    As so many above have said: it ain't worth it.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Oh yes....do you live to work or do you work to live. In the early stages of your working life it will be the first but once you have been round the block a few times you realise the second option is the way it has to be to survive

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Exactly.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      "Career" is a con. It's a way of getting people to do more work than they are paid for in the hope of a non-defined goal somewhere in the future. However, much of the extra work is not what they should be doing - meetings, writing papers, updating policies, sucking-up to other careerists, going to endless conferences. All this at the expense of those who *want to do the actual work", but see the fucking wasters get rewarded for not doing the actual work.

  11. Filippo Silver badge

    Good

    I'm sure people will find ways around this, but it's important to at least send the message that attempting to get people to do work out-of-contract is *bad*. I've got friends who are frankly being abused this way. Meetings getting scheduled for 9 PM, getting flak for not answering emails on Sunday, that sort of crap. It has to stop. You want this kind of availability, then pay consultant rates.

  12. Diogenes

    My current and former Principals have as part of there email signature...

    "I am sending this communication at a time that suits me. I understand that this may not be during standard working hours and do not expect that you answer until standard business hours." And they actually reply with a light slap on the wrist if you do respond out of hours

    The boss was very apologetic when in the last week of the just concluded school holidays (NSW Australia) he sent out an all hands email with information on the new Wuflu restrictions at school.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      This still sends the message that in order to be promoted you have to work stupid hours...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      When I have sent emails to colleagues who are on holiday etc, it was not to ask questions, but to let them know that some problem they were involved with while in the office has been resolved.

      I do put in something along the lines that I don't expect a reply, but just that I thought that they would like to know, and not have to worry about it while they were out!

  13. chivo243 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Finger on the Pulse

    I tend to keep my eye on things in off hours, but do not react unless it I determine it is an emergency. I like to know when I'll be walking into a shit storm on Monday morning too.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Finger on the Pulse

      I prefer to remain in blissful ignorance. I like a clear headspace when I'm not on the clock, so much so that I'd happily walk face-first into that shitstorm on Monday morning. I've survived a handful of those.

      Just my preference :)

  14. GlenP Silver badge

    I've been "on call" 24/7/52+ for about 25 years, it's inevitable managing a very small department for a company based on 3 continents*.

    However I choose whether to respond to an email or call and almost never answer the phone if it's ringing; this has never been an issue with my line management.

    The additional stress of refusing to respond to an urgent call is far greater than actually dealing with it, when it's usually a simple problem**,

    *Our NZ plant did have the decency to wait until about 06:00 UK time to call me a while back.

    **Although it helps if management then listen. Many years back**** a previous employer called me on holiday to say there was an issue with the Unix box backup. I told them not to do anything but wait until I was back in the office. Instead they called in our parent company's PC support people, the engineer having no knowledge of Unix just switched off the box with no attempt at a controlled shutdown. Of course this also meant the backups were a few days out of date. It took about 5 days on my return to get everything up, configured and with as much data recovered as I could manage.

    ***So long ago the "mobile" was a car phone attached to a huge lead acid battery pack.

    1. Caesarius
      Pint

      +1 for "24/7/52"

      1. stiine Silver badge

        July 24 1952. damn, and I thought I had been on-call for a long time (since Aug 1988)

  15. Cynical Observer

    It's all about the Balance

    When I were a lad...1 (It is in fact more than half a lifetime ago.)

    My first permanent & pensionable job included the work hours defined as Thirty seven and a half hours per week taking one week with another. 2 What was extra in one week could be balanced out the week after. A couple of hours this week for an external reason could be made up next week.

    My then manager took me aside after a couple of months and explained, that if the job didn't broadly fit the hours defined in the contract then one of two things was wrong.

    Either the role (including tasks and time) was badly defined.

    Or the employee's approach to the role and the work as wrong 3

    Figure out which it is and address it

    Has stuck with me since - to the extent that when work mobiles became common place I'd power down the phone shortly after getting home. Out of hours was not categorically ruled out - but it is the exception not the rule and it involves a quid pro quo.

    1Takes brief diversion for Monty Python sketch....

    2Those of a certain age and/or background may recognise the phrase

    3Including the possibility that they just didn't have the requisite skills

  16. Danny 2 Silver badge

    A company added an on call requirement. I agreed as long as it was paid back in overtime, three hours off for each hour worked - and each interruption an hour long. So, a one hour or five minute call, that's three hours off when it suits me. A one hour and five minute call, that's six hours off when suits me.

    I wasn't married so didn't mind working outside hours but I deeply resented having to stay sober. ish.

    I worked for a global group and the French and Belgian employees were a joke, the only times you could contact them was 10am to 11:30am, plus 2pm to 4pm. And good for them.

    1. Caesarius
      Coffee/keyboard

      Soberish

      Surely it is well known that there is an optimal level of blood alcohol for coding?

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Soberish

        One benefit of cycling to work ;-)

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Soberish

          You stop off at the pub on the way?

        2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: Soberish

          Hope you're joking. Drunk cycling is just as illegal as drunk driving, up to £2500 fine and, while a driving ban isn't automatic, courts do have general authority to impose a driving ban for any crime.

          But if you're joking, nothing to see here, carry on.

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: Soberish

            Drunk cycling is only illegal on roads. Here is my last commute:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ym2F-tHdkk

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      10am to 11:30am, plus 2pm to 4pm

      That 's when the French nap after breakfast and lunch was over...

  17. Caesarius
    Holmes

    One place I visited...

    ... did not have a minimum number of hours to work. They grinned when they said that if they came in only an hour a day the their boss would have a word. Thinking about it now, that is actually giving the management rather a lot of licence.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: One place I visited...

      Same here on the west coast, most places have unlimited vacation - which means no vacation and they don't have to pay you for any unused holiday when you leave

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: One place I visited...

        Ah good ol' US employment doublespeak.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One place I visited...

          Vancouver has the "high-tech exemption" aka the electronic-arts law.

          If you work with computers you are exempt from all working hours, vacations, public holidays and pretty much all employment laws.

  18. Danny 2 Silver badge

    AZ tells EU to F-Off

    The EU has been hoist by it's own petard, calling a last minute evening meeting only to be snubbed.

    AstraZeneca cancels steering board meeting with EU

    Vaccine-maker AstraZeneca has refused to attend a meeting top EU officials scheduled for Wednesday evening amid an escalating dispute over production shortfalls, according to a Commission official.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

      escalating dispute

      Escalating because AZ have said they'll honour their existing contracts, and not rewrite them just to please some folks who came along 3 months later to demand that their order be filled Right Now. Good for AZ.

    2. Avatar of They
      WTF?

      Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

      The title reads like a Brexit voter rant, not sure what this has to do with the current topic of EU protecting workers rights for those still in the EU.

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

        > The title reads like a Brexit voter rant, not sure what this has to do with the current topic of EU protecting workers' rights for those still in the EU.

        He was pointing out the irony of the EU proposing new workers' rights not to be disturbed with work outside of working hours while at the same time demanding that the AstraZeneca board take part in an evening meeting.

        In other words a classic case of hypocrisy. Quite amusing actually. :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

          You're taking the word "worker" with an interesting meaning here.

          I'm betting that a single hour attending a meeting by those board members earn them more salary than a whole year for the average worker. The hypocrisy here isn't quite obvious as you believe it is.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

      Your news are old, inaccurate news, apparently.

      You should press F5 on your link, that now says:

      "AstraZeneca says meeting with Commission, EU countries is still on "

      Maybe they remembered that those vaccines are in fact made in factories inside very much sovereign EU countries?

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

        It's "Your news is" not "Your news are".

        Yes, apparently the EU press release was a lie and AZ always said they'd attend. You've mistaken the issue though. The EU were demanding that AZ diverted supplies from their British plant to supply the EU, due to a shortfall in the EU plants. AZ weren't trying to divert supplies from EU plants to the UK.

        I'm a huge critic of the British government handling of the pandemic (Here are five ways the government could have avoided 100,000 Covid deaths) but in terms of advance booking of vaccines and roll-out the UK is far ahead of the EU.

        I mean, it's kind of ironic that you haven't even approved the AZ vaccine yet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

          (Here are five ways the government could have avoided 100,000 Covid deaths)

          Just another Grauniad whinge with the benefit of hindsight. No doubt if we'd had Sir Keir as PM they'd have been praising him for keeping the number down to only 100,000.

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

            Actually Prof. Sridhar has been a consistent and reliable voice of reason throughout the pandemic, and has been published and interviewed by media across the political spectrum.

            My mid eighties parents got their first vaccine today, the AZ one, told the follow up would be two months from now. Neither the vaccine or the delay are ideal but better than nothing.

            Boris is in town so we'd all prepared a diatribe in case we bumped into him or his circling media circus. Sadly he eluded us - indeed he eluded any member of the public. His mishandling of the covid crisis makes him the embodiment of the case for Scottish independence as the past 20 polls show.

            Who is this Sir Keir you mention?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

              My mid-80s Mum had her first shot 2 weeks ago, my similarly aged Mum-in-law got her second one last week. Neither is in Scotland.

              Who is this Sir Keir you mention?

              Sir Keir Rodney Starmer KCB QC MP, current leader of the Labour party. Yes, Labour is led by a private-schooled knight of the realm, strange times.

              1. Danny 2 Silver badge

                Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

                Apparently we've been prioritising care homes over octogenarians, which takes longer but should prolong more life. What jab did your mum and mum in law get, and when are they getting a boost?

                We have one Labour MP in Scotland, before Blair we were all Labour MPs. It's pretty much a defunct relic now, without a leader.

                May election will be another SNP win, leading to a popular if illegal independence vote. It's high time to register TheRegister.Scot.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: AZ tells EU to F-Off

                  Not sure about my Mum, she doesn't know. Mum-in-law had Pfizer before Christmas and the boost a week ago.

  19. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Back in forensic science days there was an occasional need for out of hours response to some major crime. My approach was that I'd not guarantee being on the end of a phone at any time (way before mobiles and we didn't have pagers either) but if I was then I'd come in unless it was impossible. It worked well enough.

  20. heyrick Silver badge

    They're playing catch up to France

    https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droit_%C3%A0_la_d%C3%A9connexion

    Since January 2017, when you go home (company with more than 50 employees), you can turn the phone off and stop reading emails. If you're going to be called at 2am then you're supposed to be accordingly paid for being "on call" unless there are mitigating circumstances (example - here at work if the freezer fails, the temperature sensor gizmo will start calling a list of management types in a loop until it gets an affirmative response from somebody).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They're playing catch up to France

      I'm in France, and decided not to tell my US boss about this. I prefer to choose my own working arrangements, he and I will decide when I should be called and what compensation there should be if it happens. Makes life & work run much more smoothly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They're playing catch up to France

      Germany too.

      I work for a >0.5M employee company headquartered in Germany, and the Exchange servers are timelocked for most staff (except those at a *very* senior level) so that emails cannot be sent or received between 6pm and 7am on weekdays, and all weekend.

  21. MrReynolds2U Bronze badge

    It depends upon your boss

    There are some breeds of boss that would have an IDGAF attitude about any laws like this.

    I've mentioned on here before that I once had a boss who repeatedly called me when he knew I was at my grandfather's funeral.

    Some people consider themselves above the law but I can see how this would be a good thing for more corporate environments.

    1. Number6

      Re: It depends upon your boss

      If your phone is off or otherwise muted then you wouldn't know about the calls until after the funeral. There are ways to mitigate such things, and in the limit, a new job beckons if the boss is a chronic arsehole. It is said that a lot of people change jobs because of their boss.

  22. Shadow Systems

    Am I on the clock? No? Then go away.

    My landline has an answering machine & I always let the call go to the recorder. If I decide I want to call you back then I will. If I don't feel like it, I won't. My cellphones have always had the ability to change a ring tone based on the caller, so I would change my work contact ringer to something easily identifiable. If I didn't feel like talking to work, they could leave a voicemail & I'd get back to them when I felt like it. Now with Caller ID for land lines & a cellphone able to announce the calling party, you can force it to go to recording without even needing to lift a finger (the one you're giving the caller in glee). Work calls & you didn't pick up? Sorry, I was in a no signal zone & didn't get the voicemail until much later.

    Work sends an email out of hours? That's fine. I'm under no obligation to admit that I received it at any specific time. I don't have return receipts turned on, my Outlook is configured to ignore calendar events, & any meeting requests get sent to the trash. It's my personal account, I'm not required to answer work email. Now, if I'm already at work then it's a whole 'nother kettle o' fish, but if I'm not on the clock then I'm also not available.

    Sure I might return the ocaisional call or reply to the odd email, but I don't make a habit of it. Why? Because I've never had an employer willing to pay me OT rates to deal with their "emergencies" out of normal hours.

    I'm aware of others that don't have that luxury, I wish it were universal that off the clock meant "Bugger off", but until the day that utopia arrives, there are too many BOFH style excuses to use to explain why your phone didn't ring, the email didn't arrive, your reply didn't send, or your attempt to ring them back went nowhere.

    "You tried to call me? Sorry, it must have been... (flipping through the BOFH excuse calendar) ...electromagnetic flux interference from solar flares causing signal degredation in the upper ionosphere. Oh, and Klingons off the starboard bow."

    *Cough*

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Am I on the clock? No? Then go away.

      "electromagnetic flux interference from solar flares causing signal degredation in the upper ionosphere. Oh, and Klingons off the starboard bow."

      Having chewed your way through the first sentence, I rather suspect their eyes will be so glazed over that you could say the second sentence with a completely straight face and they'd just nod.

      1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
        Joke

        Re: Am I on the clock? No? Then go away.

        Can confirm.

  23. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    weekend e-mails

    In my last employment* I was having an email conversation with a senior manager about employment conditions and HR and stuff like that. The conversation ended when he told me I should not overwork, and that the employer has a duty of care towards its staff. He sent me that email at 4:15 on a Sunday afternoon.

    Ever since I had a work mobile, I have turned it off just before leaving work, and turned it on just after arriving at the office (or setting off for the client's place of work). There are few things an employer can do more annoying than phoning up at 5 minutes before knocking off time for a 'brief' job that then takes 90 minutes to resolve.

    *I am retired now. A 'gentleman of leisure', and the posts above indicate to me that I shall not be seeking a return to paid employment (or any other sort) any time soon. (Must disable that LinkedIn account some time too.)

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: weekend e-mails

      "There are few things an employer can do more annoying than phoning up at 5 minutes before knocking off time..."

      Ouch, I felt that one. That's the favourite tactic of one particular high-up at our place. On a Friday, usually. He also has a distressing habit of chronically under-estimating the amount of time a job will take to do.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: weekend e-mails

        You have my sympathies.

        I did have a client who insisted on daily 'progress' conference calls, at 5.00pm Monday to Friday. Ironically, he did nothing other than attend and organise conference calls and meetings. I would tell him that he had to 'make a decision' go and speak to the end customer, tell the end customer important things (only stuff like 'If I don't tell you this we will be in breach of UK Security regulations and I'll have to tell the client's Departmental Security Officer', you know nothing 'serious').

        Those calls lasted a full fortnight before there was pretty much a mutiny as his own team was not pleased at spending 5:00 to 6:00 on a Friday afternoon on a call.

        The project only made progress when he left.

        Oh, and one of my line managers wanted a weekly team meeting at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon each week. Pretty much the entire team responded that as we worked our bollocks off during the week, he would be the only attendee. (The week he proposed it, I had worked until 10:00pm on Tuesday and Thursday and was not inclined to be around on the Friday afternoon.)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've been on 24/7 callout for decades. For the past few years, the estate was in such a mess I was easily doubling my salary. But it was bloody hard work and it just about wore me out.

    The thing is, the PHBs knew. The usual platitudes were abound (you should rest, you need a break etc etc etc). But they'd be the first on the phone when the shit hit the fan. What was worse, the team had been cut to a point where there were not enough people (remember when teams were big enough to have a primary/secondary on call)?

    You have to remember, the PHBs care less about you the higher up the chain they are.

  25. Number6

    The advantage of ignoring the house phone (that's what the answering machine is for) and carefully leaving the mobile I use for work by the bed on charge. It also has a nice Do Not Disturb feature which means it won't make a noise outside certain hours unless it's a call from one of a few people, none of whom are likely to call that phone anyway. The boss also has his own dedicated ring tone so I know immediately if it's him.

    That's not to say I don't occasionally check in on work email during the evening, but then it's during the working day now and I'm posting here, so I figure that balances out.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Loyalty is not rewarded

    Today I have worked my 17th day straight, including one "day" of 30 hours on the trot. Been on call all week, officially with compensation perks. However, de factor on call for the last 20 years.

    So far this week 2/3rd of my department have been eliminated and I have my appointment tomorrow, along with the rest.

    Great team, we covered each others arses and got shit done. No one star and plenty of grunt when needed.

    Karma: It's the biggest sales period of the year and the tech supporting so much legacy business decisions is old and flaky. Only held up by best wishes and sweat. As from tomorrow, it will be held up by only good wishes outside of 9-5.

    I have my timesheets for many, many years archived and will be quickly making a trip to the relevant authorities.

    Posting Anon, obviously.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Loyalty is not rewarded

      Good luck - fingers crossed that you get what you want out of this.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Europe considers making it law that your boss can’t bug you outside of office hours

    I read: Europe considers making it law that your boss can’t hug you outside of office hours. I shuddered.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Europe considers making it law that your boss can’t bug you outside of office hours

      My boss is quite cute. But saying something like that is a whole different pile of excrement to fling at the rotating air mover.

      Anon, obviously.

  28. Teiwaz

    'Boss can't Bug you out of office hours'

    I was thinking of 'bug' as in hidden survielence, and thought, "Wow, employers during these Covid-19 work from home times are really paranoid about their people slacking off during the day".

    1. arachnoid2 Bronze badge

      Re: 'Boss can't Bug you out of office hours'

      Some are reputed to have monitoring software installed to see how long their home based employees are online dealing with work issues.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: 'Boss can't Bug you out of office hours'

        'Such a shame, boss, sir, but my broadband failed so I actually had to get some work done offline instead of playing, sorry surfing, sorry interacting, on the company intranet.

        BTW, I solved that problem you gave me, here's the code, strangely easier to concentrate than when I'm frequently interrupted by pointless emails and phone calls.'

        ;o)

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