Legal Article - Employment Law

Types of Work

The hours for which the National Minimum Wage must be paid dependant on the type of work which the worker is doing. The employer and worker must identify the type of work that the worker is doing, in order to calculate the hours for which the NMW must be paid.

There are four types of work:

Time work when a worker is paid for working a set number of hours or a set period of time i.e. pay varies depending on the number of hours worked. This includes people on piece work or commission who work within set hours.

Time work hours that count are: time spent at or near the workplace where worker is available for work, including being on standby or on-call, but excluding rest breaks; travelling time on business;
training or travelling to training time during working hours; and time spent awake for the purposes of working during sleeping time.

Time work hours that do not count are: travel between home and work; absences from work; rest breaks; holidays/sick and maternity leave; industrial action; and sleeping between duties.

Salaried-hours work when a worker has a contract to work for a set number of basic hours each year in return for an annual salary paid in equal instalments e.g. weekly or monthly.

Work hours that count are the same as for time work except that periods of absence for rest, sickness etc. where they are part of the basic hours under the contract are also included.
Work hours that do not count are: long term absences where no pay or less pay applies; and industrial action.

Output work when a worker is paid according to the number of things produced, or the number of deals or sales that are made. The number of hours worked has to be identified.
There is an option for a worker to have a written agreement with their employer stating a “fair estimate” of the number of hours to be worked.

This must be in place before work begins at the start of each reference period; states the “fair estimate” of hours to be worked; is accompanied by a contractually agreed piece rate; and is backed by records of hours kept by the worker. Time spent travelling in connection with the job must be paid.

Unmeasured work when a worker has to do a number of specific tasks, but do not have any set hours. Again there is an option to have a written agreement with the employer setting out the average number of hours to be worked each day, a “fair estimate” but with the added requirement that it must be realistic. This measure is only used when the other three ones do not apply.


Published: 27 May 2011


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