Whilst it may be common place for retail staff to open and close their stores outside of their contractual hours, employers should be wary and ensure that everyone is adequately remunerated for such activities.
In the recent case Fitz v Holland and Barrett, Employment Judge Siddall posited such advice in her judgement. Mr Fitz was often required to cover for the store manager and this usually involved opening the store in the morning and closing it in the evening. Closing the store, in particular, was a lengthy process involving the closing the tills, reconciling the tills in the back office, closing the register and then locking up the store. The Respondent argued this took only a matter of minutes but the Claimant disputed this. He argued that he had clocked up close to 200 hours in overtime after his contracted shifts were supposed to have finished – 200 hours for which he had not been paid.
The tribunal agreed and found that as the claimant was on a fixed hours contract, it was implied that he was entitled to payment for any overtime he carried out. “I therefore find that to the extent that the Claimant was required to stay on beyond the end of his shift, to close the store and to undertake other tasks that were a requirement of management, and could not have been completed during his working hours, he is entitled to payment for them. He is an hourly paid member of staff and is entitled to pay for hours worked” stated Judge Siddall.
It should be noted that the Respondent’s submission that the opening and closing outside of hours was common place, was not given much weight. A full judgement can be found here.
Employers should carefully consider whether workers are being asked to undertake tasks outside of their contracted hours. Activities such as regular training or briefings, store security checks or stock reconciliations may require remuneration.