Paid to work?
March 15, 2007 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Can i expect to be paid when being sent away on a business trip for a week end?

I work full time in England for a publication which wants me to go to another UK town for a weekend to cover an event.

Last time it happened, I traveled to another European country for a weekend but wasn't paid for it (although they did pay for the trip and accommodation).

Should I ask to be paid for this week-end? Or for days off?

I'm currently on salary.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (19 answers total)
In the US, if you're on salary you really can't be paid overtime, so they usually grant comp. time for work on weekends (as far as I know). As for 2 days comp. time for the future.
posted by tristeza at 11:38 AM on March 15, 2007

By on salary I assume that you do not normally get paid overtime, in which case why should you get paid for this weekend?
posted by caddis at 11:40 AM on March 15, 2007

I've done this for my job (salaried, U.S.) and was given 2 comp days as others have stated.
posted by jdl at 11:54 AM on March 15, 2007

I wouldn't imagine you'd be paid extra for it, but as jdl says, you could ask for 1 or 2 days in lieu - that's not unreasonable.
posted by jontyjago at 11:57 AM on March 15, 2007

Expenses! Get receipts for every penny you spend and claim it all back.
posted by biffa at 12:02 PM on March 15, 2007

If you're contracted to work the normal 35-hour week, I don't see why you shouldn't either get paid for the extra hours or else take time off in lieu.

Why should you work two days for free? That's called exploitation.
posted by essexjan at 12:17 PM on March 15, 2007

I don't know how senior/crucial you are but if you were in the US, I'd expect that to be a yes. they should at least give you additional days off. that being on top to comped meals, cabs, smaller social activities, hotel room charges and the like.

ask nicely.
posted by krautland at 12:25 PM on March 15, 2007

Some employers do and some don't. You will have to ask. Usually its not a 1-1 match though. So asking for a day off would be appropriate.
posted by stormygrey at 12:28 PM on March 15, 2007

follow-up from the OP:

Thanks for all the replies so far!

I am contracted to work 35 hours a week and while it is implied that unpaid extra hours are expected (I have no problem with this!), I think giving two whole days to the company without any time off to compensate is a bit over the top (if not illegal). I am not in a senior position, but nobody could do the job.
posted by jessamyn at 12:37 PM on March 15, 2007

I am in the US and not under any sort of detailed contract, but I am salaried. I travel to conferences as part of my job at least 2-3 times a year. I am not paid overtime for this (salaried employees don't receive overtime), nor am I given additional days off to compensate. On the other hand, these events typically require that I also be out of the office for a few business days as well as the weekend (which is no hardship), my travel/accomodations/food is paid for, and I expense pretty much everything I buy and every get-together while I'm away. My job is impossible to restrict to 9-5 hours, and we all take work home at night and on weekends, so I view it as an extension of the same. These "extra" activities are part of what they pay me for.

I would expect that as a salaried employee, you would certainly not receive extra pay. You may be able to maneuver this into additional days off, however, and I would at least give it a try if I were you.
posted by tigerbelly at 1:21 PM on March 15, 2007

>In the US, if you're on salary you really can't be paid overtime

Does this make sense? I'm not in the USA and quite baffled by it. Why shouldn't someone on salary who works the weekend as well as the week get overtime?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:21 PM on March 15, 2007

I suspect UK employment law is similar to that of Canada, not that of the US. I live in Canada. Employers are supposed to pay overtime if you exceed X hours per week and they are supposed to compensate you for all work. However, for some reason, many employers think salaried employees just have to work whatever is necessary. This is, in fact, not true, even under UK employment law.

Whenever I've been asked to work weekends or other time for free, I keep track of it. (If it's above 40 hours or, in the UK, 48, you can accrue it at an overtime rate.) Then I take off time in lieu. I mostly just take this time off for doctor's appointments, leaving early, coming late, etc. If you're doing free weekends all the time, I can see that it might be harder to burn off several 8 or 16-hour blocks.

You could always just keep track of it, and, if you ever end up being fired or in a legal dispute with the company, pursue the paid overtime through Employment Standards (or whatever it is called in the UK/EU).
posted by acoutu at 1:24 PM on March 15, 2007

Well I am salaried in the UK and my contract (which is standard in my sector) stipulates that I am paid to do a job as opposed to work x number of hours. Travelling is assumed to be part of my job as is working overtime...On the other hand the pay and benefits are good to compensate for this - if I insited on working a 37.5 hr week my salary would drop by about a third and my benefits would go to close to zero.

You may well find that you will not get the time paid or as TOIL. Get a receipt for everything you spend and claim as much as you can...

Most employers have a policy that covers that kind of thing and I imagine your employee handbook would tell you what the policy is.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:39 PM on March 15, 2007

AmbroseChapel writes "Why shouldn't someone on salary who works the weekend as well as the week get overtime?"

It makes American sense. In Canada (and I suspect most places in Europe and Australia) in theory a salaried employee is supposed to average a certain hours per week over the course of a year for which they are compensated X number of dollars a week. Work the weekend and get two days off at Christmas, that kind of thing. Get too far out of whack and you'll get financially compensated. American companies, it seems, use salary workers as way of paying a 40 hour week and getting 60 hours of work (IE: you never get a chance to slack in slow periods). American workers don't seem to value leisure time. I think it's the fundamental optimism of Americans that they'll eventually be in the 5% that keeps them working like slaves compared to workers in most other 1st world countries. That optimism also leads to the wider spread disdain of unions you observed.
posted by Mitheral at 1:47 PM on March 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I used to work as a UK journalist and had many weekends away in the same style as you describe. Sometimes the company paid for them, and sometimes they were promotions offered by companies we worked with (and which I would write about, or at least which counted as research).

IMHO the best you can hope for is time in lieu. I know that one Saturday doesn't equal one Wednesday (for example), but that's just part of the game. The publishing industry demands people who are flexible and work for peanuts. I'd be VERY surprised if you got overtime pay. Even asking could mark your card in a negative way.

If you don't think this is fair then make it clear, somehow, that you're not available for weekend trips in the future. Be careful, however -- lots of managers seem to think that people in positions below them have time on their hands, and that they're willing to give away for free. You don't want to appear difficult. If you're in a relationship then blame it on your significant other and say that he/she doesn't like you going away at the weekend. If you have kids then you've got a good excuse ready-made. Or just invent one-off excuses whenever a weekend arises -- family visits, sports events...
posted by humblepigeon at 2:06 PM on March 15, 2007

(Note: I didn't necessarily let the employer know about the TOIL.)
posted by acoutu at 2:50 PM on March 15, 2007

I work for the US government (civilian) and I can choose overtime or comp time when I work or travel on the weekends. I am in a normal GS salary position.
posted by bagels at 2:52 PM on March 15, 2007

I would think the issue of overtime and compensation is discussed at the time you were hired and negotiating your salary and benefits etc. I think travel is an inconvenience and not a perk, but it all is dependent on your job description.
If this is a new issue with you, then by all means bring it up with management.
As krautland said it, ask nicely. Don't expect anything if you haven't discussed anything.
posted by alicesshoe at 3:54 PM on March 15, 2007

Does this make sense? I'm not in the USA and quite baffled by it. Why shouldn't someone on salary who works the weekend as well as the week get overtime?
In the US, there are scant few labor laws (beyond workplace safety) that apply to salaried employees. Most labor laws pertain to hourly workers. It's mostly a remnant from the old blue-collar/white-collar division of the industrial-manufacturing age. Of course, these days, most people who would've been considered "white-collar" back then are, really, no better than better-dressed factory workers. Still, the labor laws do not apply to them (and probably never will)

Generally, employers can request/require you to spend as much time as needed on work with no compensation for time spent beyond the "normal" work hours. Of course, this varies between employers. Some actually recognize the value of employees having adequate personal time (especially if they have families). Others, sadly, don't give a shit and expect you to be married to the company.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:48 AM on March 16, 2007

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