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Legal working hours / Overtime

Reporting by employer

becksoz1
post 21.Jan.2013, 09:17 AM
Post #1
Joined: 9.Jul.2012

When I came to Sweden I took a job offer with a fixed salary, and no overtime, as I was led to believe that legally it was only possible to work 150 hours of overtime per year.

Of course in my first year I spent 3 months working on a project in Finland, working 12+ hrs, 7 days, and my company did not record my working hours, only listing it as tjansteresa (Mon-Fri, 8 hrs per day).

I've now raised this issue after putting in ~40hrs overtime per week on a new project in Sweden. Upon raising it with the company I get the feeling I've been labelled a trouble stirrer, and taken off the schedule for the next project.

Has anyone had a similar experience and / or advice on how to solve such issues??
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PDX
post 21.Jan.2013, 09:26 AM
Post #2
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Aug.2011

Do you have the hours reliably documented yourself? For example, did you submit weekly or daily reports by e-mail to your management? Also, do you have documentation requesting you to work the crazy amount of hours? If so, you could take this matter to your union. If not, too bad, document everything next time.

~~~PDX~~~
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wondering
post 21.Jan.2013, 10:31 AM
Post #3
Joined: 3.Oct.2011

It must have been clear in your contract about the overtime. All companies should allow the saving of flex time upto I think 40 hours.

Do you not have that ?

If you have been labelled as a trouble stirrer going to the union could complicate things further. Perhaps first of all you should talk to your immediate manager and raise your questions.
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Pursuivant
post 21.Jan.2013, 10:44 AM
Post #4
Joined: 12.Aug.2008

I'd thought that "fixed salary, no overtime" applied only to higher management positions?
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John.Smith
post 21.Jan.2013, 11:17 AM
Post #5
Location: Sweden
Joined: 12.Sep.2011

I had a similar situation where I had clocked up 350+hrs O/T in a 3 month period. I have a fixed salary with no O/T.

I kept a log of all my working hours each week and sent it to the HR Manager. I told him that I was sure my working conditions were illegal, BUT that I had no major issues working this way as the project I was working on was time critical.

After a bit of negotiations, I got an extra 2 weeks paid holiday and a pay rise of 15%. I still put in long hours every so often but I make a point of stating what my capacity is before project start and ensure that they are aware of the staffing needs.

I don't believe that you will be labeled as a troublemaker as no Swedish worker would work the hours you worked. I would use it more as bargaining chip for better wages and/or conditions.
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intrepidfox
post 21.Jan.2013, 11:21 AM
Post #6
Location: Gothenburg
Joined: 18.Jul.2012

i am not sure about the law but i do know that the unions backed down about overtime and flexing.

In the last several years an employer can demand overtime from employees (even with a 40 hour a week contract) if they give you reasonable notice but what is reasonable? One company i worked for decided reasonable was before lunch another a weeks notice.

Before, when a company requested overtime you could by law say "i have prior engagements". Unfortunately this is not accepted anymore.
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Yorkshireman
post 21.Jan.2013, 12:47 PM
Post #7
Joined: 22.Nov.2011

EU law is a maximum average working week (including overtime) of 48 hours calculated over a 17 week period. And a minimum daily rest period of 11 hrs in every 24 hrs.

You are in a tough spot ...sounds like your employer is taking advantage of You. It is normal in your situation to either have been offered an extra weeks vacation per year as compensation for overtime not paid (but within reasonable number of hours) ... and/or a bonus payment that is comparable. This is because not only do you work those hours, but the employer avoids having to record them and directly avoids breaking the law on working hours.

It is always difficult to approach an employer in a situation like this ... especially when the economy is sliding downwards, and unemployment rising. One suggestion is to actually ask to go back to hourly based pay. If You have a good/reasonable relationship with your manager, then fine, talk it over ...but be warned, you could also be blackmarked as a potential reducancy as not willing to do your bit, go the extra distance, for the Company!

Start looking for a new job with a company that will compensate you correctly for your work. wink.gif
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Yorkshireman
post 21.Jan.2013, 12:56 PM
Post #8
Joined: 22.Nov.2011

QUOTE (intrepidfox @ 21.Jan.2013, 11:21 AM) *
Before, when a company requested overtime you could by law say "i have prior engagements". Unfortunately this is not accepted anymore.

The standard answer to this should be I have arrangements that have been booked and paid for xx thousand SEK, inluding family members ...I require compensation for those monies, in addition to overtime pay biggrin.gif

And if an emplyer asks what You are going to do on any day off, vacation etc... I have booked and paid xxxxx
biggrin.gif
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intrepidfox
post 21.Jan.2013, 01:24 PM
Post #9
Location: Gothenburg
Joined: 18.Jul.2012

A very good reply but what happens if they require proof. I know from experience from Volvo that you had to produce a receipt. It´s a very unfair system for the workers. I wonder if companies cut down on the overtime they could then maybe employ a few more people.
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Yorkshireman
post 21.Jan.2013, 01:46 PM
Post #10
Joined: 22.Nov.2011

QUOTE (intrepidfox @ 21.Jan.2013, 01:24 PM) *
A very good reply but what happens if they require proof. I know from experience from Volvo that you had to produce a receipt. It´s a very unfair system for the workers.

Then the Managers in Volvo, know they have the power, and know how to use it! Good for them wink.gif
But also it shows that the Unions are much weaker than they should be ...probably due to job protection/removal. It is not easy in those companies where the business can easily be moved out of the country ...and pssst, when the unions are not strong when one would think they should be it is because there are back-handers (normally by payrises/bonus') paid to those union reps.
QUOTE (intrepidfox @ 21.Jan.2013, 01:24 PM) *
I wonder if companies cut down on the overtime they could then maybe employ a few more people.

Won't happen. One KPI used to measure between companies is "Revenue per Employee" ...keep the number of employees down to the minimum required, improves that KPI. This is one reason, apart from flexability, that listed companies often remove employees and bring in people from agencies ...those temporary agency staff are not counted in that KPI. Just comes as an increased cost. Headcount is quite important wink.gif
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becksoz1
post 22.Jan.2013, 09:37 AM
Post #11
Joined: 9.Jul.2012

I'll try and cover everyones comments.

I did get offered an additional week of holidays per year and a slightly increased monthly salary. It appears though that another of my newer colleagues with little experience, but who is 2 years older and has a higher base salary plus overtime, and is not asked/required to run these demanding hours on site.

I will try to clarify with the company in a civil manner. Originally I was told not to complete travel and overtime paperwork as I was 'salary' and didn't qualify. But in this manner many long hours have not been registered. I will work to negotiate an agreement with overtime.

Hours on site, yes, I have them documented very clearly, and they are clearly 'ordered / required' from a direct superior.

I have been very disappointed at the lack of accountability and responsibility. Likely it will be 'my fault' for not knowing my rights.
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wondering
post 22.Jan.2013, 10:04 AM
Post #12
Joined: 3.Oct.2011

Also it is good to have friends at work with your colleagues who will also be able to help you and perhaps advise you as well.

Also my experience working with Scandinavians is if you honestly raise the issue then they will not hold it as a grudge. Most employers do value the work and personal life balance and I think you should raise it with your manager in a calm manner.

One thing I have noted from personal experience is that there tends to be expectations that since you have done this work before without complaining so you were okay with it. So obviously the company thinks that you can handle this workload. So they loaded it on to you and will continue doing so.

I know of Asian developers in Swedish companies who are working till 8-9 pm and no overtime and no complaining because it is expected that they would do so and the developers know of these expectations and don't complain.
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PDX
post 22.Jan.2013, 10:05 AM
Post #13
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Aug.2011

Ok, so you traded paid overtime for an extra week of vacations plus around 10% increase in monthly salary. This is very standard in some companies. You are then supposed to work up to 150 extra hours a year as requested by your employer.

Any hours you worked over that has been basically voluntary work you did for the benefit of your employer (as you did not have to agree to work any over 150/year).

~~~PDX~~~
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Taxalien
post 22.Jan.2013, 09:43 PM
Post #14
Joined: 24.Dec.2009

I have a hard time understanding this thread.

Sweden has the most regulated working time directives in the EU.

The only people who are exempt are Directors of companies (Vd) and similar.

Everyone else have to play the rule book. Any company that oversteps that is in a hard place if you take them to court.

This applies especially if you are a permanent employee. I am sure other types of employment contracts can have some kind of loopholes, but I would think you would have to be employed by a bemanningsföretag in that case.

The fact you were sent to Finland doesn't change any of this.

Why did you not record your time and made sure it was signed off? Everyone else does, as far as I know.
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Yorkshireman
post 23.Jan.2013, 09:10 AM
Post #15
Joined: 22.Nov.2011

QUOTE (Taxalien @ 22.Jan.2013, 09:43 PM) *
Everyone else have to play the rule book. Any company that oversteps that is in a hard place if you take them to court.Why did you not record your time and made sure it was si ... (show full quote)

It is because it is so regulated coupled with the other employment protection law, that there are ways used to get around this overtime rule.

It has been common place in Sweden for ages ...at a certain level You are asked to swap from hourly-paid to fixed-monthly with no overtime, but given an extra weeks vacation and/or additional bonus/paid-days-off if overtime hours are excessive. Then the hours recorded each month are just a standard say 22 days x 40 hrs, with no overtime reported.

For hourly paid, it is quite common that once the overtime rule is near to being breeched, then the offer comes as no additional overtime reporting = bonus payment and/or paid-day(s)-off. Then normal hours are reported.
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