Workplace changing policy, need advice

35 posts in this topic

Hi there!

This topic might be a bit complexed but I hope someone could help me with it.

 

My wife is working in a big company in Berlin. She has a global salary and an unlimited contract.

Recently the management decided that my wife should use a system for punching in and out the working hours (up until now she was flexible and didn't report her hours). I'll note that the change is part of a policy of the company that doesn't affect only her (though not everyone is affected), and that in general they are very satisfied with how she works.

The change won't affect her salary if she has punched in less than she should (she would still get the full salary), but it can increase it if she's doing overtime (this actually contradicts her contract, that states that overtime will be paid through the regular salary and not in addition).

 

My wife doesn't want to use this system. it makes her feel like she's being watched and it puts her in a lot of stress. She doesn't care about the overtime hours and actually she doesn't want to be compensated for overtime as it puts her in a race for hours and affects her work-life balance.

 

Manager says that she doesn't have a choice, even though it contradicts her contract, and now notified HR that she refuses to comply with the company regulations.

 

My questions are:

- Can she be fired for it?

- If she can, is there a way to legally fight it?

- How is the compensation for firing calculated?

 

Thanks!

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The position she has serves internal clients, not external (like HR, though not specifically HR)

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Most companies have a booking system.

 

Your wife wants to lose her job over something which is perfectly normal?

 

Is she surfing the internet all day and does not want to be found out?

 

 

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Well, she'e been working for this company for seven years now and they never used it. moreover, she's the only one in the office who is obligated to use it (other people from other sites of this company use it as well, but no one in this office).

 

And no, she doesn't want to lose her job, but she wants to keep her rights. If it's illegal for them to practically change the contract without her agreement then I don't think they can fire her, but I don't know, hence I'm asking here.

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14 minutes ago, Rahash said:

Well, she'e been working for this company for seven years now and they never used it. moreover, she's the only one in the office who is obligated to use it (other people from other sites of this company use it as well, but no one in this office).

 

And no, she doesn't want to lose her job, but she wants to keep her rights. If it's illegal for them to practically change the contract without her agreement then I don't think they can fire her, but I don't know, hence I'm asking here.

 

If a company wants to fire your wife they will.

 

If your wife doesn't want to use the system then the company could find a way to demote her and make her life hell.

 

Your wife thinks she is in control but in reality she is not.

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I have not seen a work contract which says you can come and go as you please. I mean many companies these days follow that, but they don't mention it in writing in the contract. Somewhere within each company, there is an hourly calculation - maybe for the salary, maybe for the taxes, maybe for the holidays, but without the employees knowing it, some accounts and HR people are doing this calculation and filling of forms.

Yes its a pain to suddenly do this after 7 years, but the right way i think should be to do it but protest or talk about it in a proper forum - betriebsrat, etc. By not doing it, you could be violating some labour law, which would go against her.

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This should go to the "First world problems" thread. Really, your life must be really great if you have nothing else to complain about.

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9 hours ago, Rahash said:

 

- How is the compensation for firing calculated?

 

 

Judging from this, it seems to me you are hoping for her to get fired so she can sue and get compensated? 

 

I can tell you that in my company, the people who have Tarifvertrag must punch in and out, those who have special contracts, or rather have negotiated their own contract do not have to do it. Though nowhere in the Tarifvertrag is it specified that people must clock in and out. It's a company policy though and must be followed. 

 

I don't really see why do you guys create yourselves uncesessary drama and stress over such a trivial thing.

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1 minute ago, Snowchief said:

Judging from this, it seems to me you are hoping for her to get fired so she can sue and get compensated? 

 

I can tell you that in my company, the people who have Tarifvertrag must punch in and out, those who have special contracts, or rather have negotiated their own contract do not have to do it. Though nowhere in the Tarifvertrag is it specified that people must clock in and out. It's a company policy though and must be followed. 

 

I don't really see why do you guys create yourselves uncesessary drama and stress over such a trivial thing.

 

Actually, no. She wants to keep the job, just interested in her rights in case it won’t work.

 

I get the cynical approach I’m getting here, but for her it’s a big thing and it puts her in a lot of stress and in a general bad feeling. Might be first world problem, probably is, but still a problem nonetheless.

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Seems to me that she just needs to clarify the hours that she is being paid to work and show up and do the work. What kind of solution are you seeking?

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No one doubts the hours she is working (she’s probably working well more than what her contract demands), and she’s actually in good terms with her manager. I don’t think the manager even cares personally, she’s just following company regulations and tells my wife what the bosses above her told her to.

The solution we seek is that the company will back off from the demand, assuming they can’t legally fire her for not complying. My wife offered that instead of using this system she will send a report indicating her working hours and accounting for any special occasions.

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33 minutes ago, Rahash said:

The solution we seek is that the company will back off from the demand, 

 

But why? Sorry, I don't understand it. 

 

I suggest you both read the contract thoroughly, I'm sure there is a paragraph or two about the company's authority to give instructions to their employees. Regarding compensations: don't hope for much, usually it's half a months salary per year of employment. If any. I would not risk a good job by refusing to follow a simple and legitimate instruction...

 

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I really don't see what is so stressful about being asking to clock-in when you get to work, and to clock-out when you leave!

On the other hand, I think she should ask her manager why she is the only one in the office being requested to do this.

 

In my company, this was introduced about five years ago, and the only difference it has made is that we all get payed for the time we actually work, and the statutory tea-breaks are (more or less!) actually being taken.

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12 hours ago, Rahash said:

And no, she doesn't want to lose her job, but she wants to keep her rights.

 

I don't understand which "rights" she wants to keep.

 

Quote

If it's illegal for them to practically change the contract without her agreement 

 

What do they want to change in her contract?

 

7 hours ago, Rahash said:

she’s just following company regulations and tells my wife what the bosses above her told her to.

 

It sounds as if your wife is not being singled out either.

 

Quote

The solution we seek is that the company will back off from the demand, assuming they can’t legally fire her for not complying.

 

Why are you assuming that your wife can blatantly ignore company policy and be protected from any consequences? :blink:

 

She can try negotiating, however, if it is a global company policy for this position, don't be surprised if she is not able to obtain special treatment. If she ends up being dismissed for cause don't expect compensation from the company nor sympathy from the Agentur für Arbeit. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Rahash said:

 

Actually, no. She wants to keep the job, just interested in her rights in case it won’t work.

 

I get the cynical approach I’m getting here, but for her it’s a big thing and it puts her in a lot of stress and in a general bad feeling. Might be first world problem, probably is, but still a problem nonetheless.

 

i would suggest that she stops making it a Big Thing, because in reality it is a Little Thing. It's her choice to stress about it or not. Choose not to stress about it and you're fine. Choosing to stress is what makes it a First World Problem.

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8 hours ago, Rahash said:

No one doubts the hours she is working (she’s probably working well more than what her contract demands),

 

This could be the reason.

You do realise it's EU law (and strictly enforced in Germany) that the working day cannot exceed 10 hours and the planned working day shouldn't exceed 9 hours.

 

Get over it or find a new job, but my guess is that it would be the same.

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Punching in and out would be a company policy or rule, not something mentioned in a contract, normally.  It also not be mandated on each employee. 

 

While this is not directed at the OP's wife, a company could use it as a 'tool'.  In one instance, the company simply wants to see how many actual hours the employees in one section are working on average.  After a few months, they might request it no longer be used. 

 

In another, there is a question in regards to how many hours an employee is actually working.  Less than 30?  More than 45?  Someone isn't working enough or is working too much.

 

I have a mini-mini job.  At most, 12 hours per week.  I have to punch in and out.  I think it takes a combined 10 seconds each day I work.  

 

No 'rights' are being infringed upon by asking her to punch in and out.  What rights?  A company can set a policy or rule - within reason - they feel assists in their bottom line.  There are of course certain things they can't make employees do.   If the company requires that all employees sign documents in blue ink, it is a policy and no rights are infringed upon.

 

Don't like the idea of having to punch in and out?  Quit or wait to be fired.

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Maybe her company has introduced Gleitzeit: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleitzeit. Presumably an agreement between the Betriebsrat and company management.

 

Please read the whole article, but this bit is especially interesting because it states, that refusing to clock in and clock out can result in labour law related sanctions, even dismissal:

 

Arbeitszeiterfassung[Bearbeiten | Quelltext bearbeiten]

In den meisten Fällen werden der Arbeitsbeginn und das Arbeitsende erfasst, zum Beispiel mit einer Stempeluhr, anderen, oft elektronischen Vorrichtungen zur Zeiterfassung oder auch von Hand durch eigenständige Eintragungen, wobei bei letzterem ein hohes Missbrauchspotenzial vorliegt.

Verstöße gegen die Registrierungspflicht sind in der Regel mit erheblichen arbeitsrechtlichen Sanktionen, bis zu einer außerordentlichen verhaltensbedingten Kündigung verbunden, da hierbei ein sogenannter „Arbeitszeitbetrug“ begangen wird, der für den Arbeitgeber zu hohen Nachteilen führen kann und der Arbeitnehmer sich hier auf Kosten des Arbeitgebers bereichert, indem er für nicht geleistete Arbeit bezahlt wird[2]. Daher kann bei Vorsatz auch ein Straftatbestand, der des Betrugs (§ 263 StGB - Deutschland) gegeben sein.

 

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Maybe the company can see when she logs into her work terminal or into the companies network and have decided that she isnt logged in for long enough to deserve the wages..

 

 

 

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