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Old 04.05.2013, 22:29
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Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

Everyone on this forum has been so helpful, so thank you.

I have accepted a position in Switzerland and when the company told me they had a 42 hour work week, I sort of thought this meant something slightly different than it seems to. In the US, my previous 40 hour work week was 9-5.30 with a one-hour lunch - the company giving 30 minutes towards it (a law I believe). So I presumed that a 42 hour work week would be 8.30 - 5.30 or 9.00-6.00.

BUT instead the contract states 7.45 - 5.30 with a one hour (unpaid) lunch break. This actually equals 43.75 working hours. I was a bit floored to say the least because I will be working in a normal office (not in finance). I don't mind working, but I like to feel that it would be my choice if I want to work more rather than being required to. Plus, a 7.45 start is quite foreign to me.

I understand that I probably should have asked what the working hours would be BEFORE accepting the position at the salary that I did (it is the same as I would have in the UK). I guess I was ignorant and assumed too much. Now, I feel like I will be working more for the same money.

But what I don't understand is how the contract says that my 'salary is calculated on a basis of 42 working hours per week', yet the working hours stated will be more than that.

Is this normal? Or is there a real discrepancy? My last UK job stated 37.5 hours and the daily working hours matched.

Cheers
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Old 04.05.2013, 22:33
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

The hours you see are the hours you work. While your at lunch your not working. Hope you can get your head around it and give it a go.
Good luck.
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Old 04.05.2013, 22:43
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

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The hours you see are the hours you work. While your at lunch your not working. Hope you can get your head around it and give it a go.
Good luck.
Thanks but is it normal to say the work week is 42 hours and then give actual hours that are almost 44? Why not just say that the work week is 43.75 to begin with? It feels deceptive.
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Old 04.05.2013, 22:45
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

Welcome to Switzerland. I reckon there are a couple of tea breaks in that contract.
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Old 04.05.2013, 22:49
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

You are paid for work hours not hours of presence when you may be actually non productive
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Old 04.05.2013, 22:56
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

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You are paid for work hours not hours of presence when you may be actually non productive
So they just assume that you are not going to be productive for almost 2 hours per day?
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Old 04.05.2013, 22:57
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

hi, that is interesting re the 30 mins given free by US Employers towards lunch.

Lunch breaks everywhere I have known are not counted as working hours, bit of a grey area too is one stays by one desk with a sandwich say for important call or the like, as still counts as lunch break.

In Switzerland the day does start early, school children too. What you might notice too, most everything closes early ie before mid-night.

Something does seem strange with your hours 42, wonder if they finish earlier on a Friday ?
or whether some other break (coffee/tea) taken into account, believe though that happens more with people either working longer hours or shift patterns. Hope it is early Friday for you.
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Old 04.05.2013, 23:16
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

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hi, that is interesting re the 30 mins given free by US Employers towards lunch.

Lunch breaks everywhere I have known are not counted as working hours, bit of a grey area too is one stays by one desk with a sandwich say for important call or the like, as still counts as lunch break.

Something does seem strange with your hours 42, wonder if they finish earlier on a Friday ?
or whether some other break (coffee/tea) taken into account, believe though that happens more with people either working longer hours or shift patterns. Hope it is early Friday for you.
It could have been my employers at the time, but it was also a job that I actually worked like 60 hours a week at. It replaced 'break time', I guess.

I will question why the hours do not correspond. I wish I had known this during salary negotiations. Now it feels a bit too late.
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Old 04.05.2013, 23:18
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

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So I presumed that a 42 hour work week would be 8.30 - 5.30 or 9.00-6.00.

BUT instead the contract states 7.45 - 5.30 with a one hour (unpaid) lunch break. This actually equals 43.75 working hours.
Cheers
I also have a 42 hour week, which for me is 8:30-18:00 M-Th, 8:30-17:30 on Friday. No official coffee breaks, one hour unpaid lunch. From next August my daughter starts kindergarten and I have o fit around hort, so I will shift my hours back to 7:45-5:15. It of a shock after my 35 hour week in the UK.
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Old 04.05.2013, 23:19
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

Probably you work a bit more every day and in turn have some bridge days off instead. Pretty common. Or that the office close between Christmas and New Year.
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Old 04.05.2013, 23:38
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

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Probably you work a bit more every day and in turn have some bridge days off instead. Pretty common. Or that the office close between Christmas and New Year.
I hope so. I don't mind working a bit more if I were getting paid a bit more. Oh well...live and learn
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Old 05.05.2013, 07:33
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

We get paid about 30% more here, and work more.... and get taxed less...
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Old 05.05.2013, 07:49
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

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Probably you work a bit more every day and in turn have some bridge days off instead. Pretty common. Or that the office close between Christmas and New Year.
yes, probably you get extra holidays which make up for the extra working hours
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Old 05.05.2013, 07:52
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

9.75 hours per day, less an hour for lunch = 8.75 hours a day = 43.75 a week.

Is there flexitime on offer? Do you clock in/out? That may be how it is reconciled with a 42 hour week.

I got caught similarly - a contract worth X per day, which I assumed was an 8 hour (working) day, when it was 9. Stupid really, as I doubt that there was an additional 1 hour a day worth of work from anyone - what I saw was a lot of presenteeism - being in the office, clocked in, getting paid - but not actually doing any work.
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Old 05.05.2013, 08:00
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

Would it not be possible to contact the HR department ( or whoever issued the contract) and ask for clarification? Preferably before you sign the contract....

Alternatively, you can amend the contract before returning it to your employer who will inform you if that's acceptable or not to them.

A contract is an agreement between two parties so you also have a right to say what's acceptable to you. As always with legal documents, make sure you check the small print.
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Old 05.05.2013, 08:21
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

Lunch breaks are typically not included in Switzerland, however the time calculations are not very stringent.

I thought the same while signing my contract. But, now I work 8:30-5:30 everyday which includes 1 hour gym, 45 minutes lunch and 2-3 15 minutes coffee breaks. Not bad.
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Old 05.05.2013, 08:26
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

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We get paid about 30% more here, and work more.... and get taxed less...
Not me. I'm getting paid what I would get in the UK. I thought it would be about the same cost of living for Ticino compared to London (and salaries are a bit lower than Zurich and Geneva). BUT I had not calculated more working hours. So I will actually be getting paid less in Switzerland.
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Old 05.05.2013, 08:27
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

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Would it not be possible to contact the HR department ( or whoever issued the contract) and ask for clarification? Preferably before you sign the contract....

Alternatively, you can amend the contract before returning it to your employer who will inform you if that's acceptable or not to them.

A contract is an agreement between two parties so you also have a right to say what's acceptable to you. As always with legal documents, make sure you check the small print.
How do you bring it up without looking lazy? That is a concern of mine. I'm not lazy, but they might not know it if I say that I don't like their working hours - particularly if everyone else follows them. Any suggestions?
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Old 05.05.2013, 08:29
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

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Lunch breaks are typically not included in Switzerland, however the time calculations are not very stringent.

I thought the same while signing my contract. But, now I work 8:30-5:30 everyday which includes 1 hour gym, 45 minutes lunch and 2-3 15 minutes coffee breaks. Not bad.
How did you do that? I could totally do 8.30 - 5.30 even if it did not include 1 hour of gym. Wow, how DID you do that? that is an amazing schedule!
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Old 05.05.2013, 08:33
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Re: Daily working hours in contract do not correspond to 42 hour work week

Does it really matter I cant remember ever working less than a 42 hour week in my life and always knew I was expected to deliver on expectations not to work a set number of hours. If you are worried about being asked to work an extea couple of hours for rhe same salary there are plenty of others who willl willingly do the job in your place. In the wider scheme it is minor and you will be better to focus and worry about doing a good job instead of the clock
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