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Wednesday 28 August 2019

Fast Streamers: Know your rights

By FDA Fast Stream Section
working-rights
Therd Oval / Shutterstock.com

We all have rights at work. Some of these are enshrined in law (statutory rights), and some are protected by your contract and employer’s policies (contractual rights). Sometimes, however, we need to remind employers of this fact.

We in the FDA Fast Stream Section believe that when Fast Streamers understand their rights and stand together to ensure they are respected, we are all better off.

That is why it is important you know your rights as Fast Streamers, Cabinet Office employees and civil servants.

1. You have the right to join a union. The FDA is the only recognised union for Fast Streamers. Membership entitles you to union representation in workplace disputes, and a vote on key issues such as pay and terms and conditions.

2. You have the right to time off work. If you are doing shift work, remember that the 1998 Working Time Regulations guarantees:

  • A rest period of 11 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period during which you work for your employer. This means you cannot work a day shift immediately followed by a night shift, or vice versa.
  • At least one day off a week. This can be averaged over two weeks, meaning you are effectively entitled to two days off a fortnight.

3. You have a statutory right to request flexible working hours, regardless of your personal circumstances.

4. You have the right to demand changes to your working conditions if you are disabled or have a long-term physical or mental health condition. These are known as “reasonable adjustments”. As a Fast Streamer, this includes asking for a relocation restriction.

5. As a Fast Streamer, you have the right to request a relocation restriction if you have caring responsibilities.

6. You have a right to be paid if you are too ill to work. In addition to this, if you are off work for seven days or less, you do not need to give your employer proof of sickness.

7. As a Fast Streamer, you are entitled to your full holiday allowance, regardless of how much time off work you have taken ill. Employers cannot force you to take annual leave when you may be eligible for sick leave. If you are ill when you have holiday booked, you can change your annual leave changed to sick leave. If you are off work ill for more than four weeks, you may be considered long-term sick, and still entitled to annual leave.

8. You have a right to receive a copy of your contract. Your contract is composed of both a written and verbal agreement. It is both a signed piece of paper and the policies of your employer.

9. You have the right to be reimbursed for your expenses. Your employer cannot put you out of pocket for doing your job.

10. You have the right to a payslip that shows how your pay has been worked out. This is especially important if you’re being paid by the hour for shift work. On the Fast Stream, overtime pay is administered through Workday, so ensure your Activity Manager knows that they will have to action this through Workday in order for you to get paid. We would also advise you to keep a personal log of hours worked should you need to provide evidence. The Cabinet Office overtime policy is available on the Fast Stream intranet.

11. As an FDA member, you have the right to individual representation. If you experience an issue with your employer, you are entitled to a workplace representative (rep), who will be well-placed to offer advice and support, and to represent you through internal processes with either your host department or the Fast Stream team. We have a dedicated network of Fast Streamers who are trained as workplace reps. 

Each year, the FDA helps members faced with a range of problems. These include problematic performance appraisals; relocations; posting appeals; End of Posting Reviews (EPRs); Development Trajectory Assessments (DTAs); redundancy; discrimination; bullying; harassment; disciplinary charges and dismissal. We secure reasonable adjustments and, when appropriate, even take our members’ cases to court. The future may be uncertain, but you can rely on your union to fight for you and to protect your working rights.

Don't wait for something to go wrong. Join the FDA today. Remember, Fast Streamers receive the first six months of membership for free.

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