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Context: I work at a restaurant in the UK. I am new and haven't yet completed the online training Program's I have been asked to complete. It's pretty much a zero hour contract (I think it's 12 hours) but I work about 40 a week.

The training mentioned below can be done any time anywhere. Including at home.

Situation: recently, whenever the restaurant gets less busy, my manager asks me to go upstairs and complete some more training without pay. They essentially keep me on site without pay incase they get busy. Today certain conditions led me to believe that it wasn't going to get busy for the rest of the day. They asked me to go do the training and I assumed I'd be upstairs until they were closing up, which takes about 40 minutes.

I wasn't about to sit upstairs for 3 hours unpaid, so I politely let the manager know that I'd like to get back on pay or go home. They sent me home.

Am I in the wrong here? Can I be fired for this?

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    You should talk to the good people at the Citizens Advice Bureau. – Flup Aug 11 '15 at 8:03
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The answer to your question is that your manager cannot ask you to undertake training without payment.

All employees are entitled to be paid for the work they have done. They are also entitled to be paid if they are ready and willing to work but their employer has not provided them with any work to do, unless your employment contract says otherwise.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/rights-at-work/rights-to-pay/

Zero hours contracts can be very complicated legal issues, but you are entitled to be paid for the time you spend there doing what your employer has asked you to do. However, if your employment were to be terminated due to a disagreement then you may not be able to make any claim before an Employment Tribunal as you do not yet have a sufficient length of employment.

There are many legal complications, and each case is different and individual. Giving general legal advice is beset with all kinds of problems. You may wish to direct your employer to the Citizens' Advice page. If they do not agree to either pay you for your time there or allow you to leave when they do not wish to pay you then your best option might be to seek employment elsewhere.

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I am not familiar with UK employment law but as a general rule, if you are under the direction and control of your employer you are at work and are entitled to payment.

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One of the big Pizza chains was doing this to nineteen year olds fresh out of school and taking what jobs they could find. The parents of 2 took their case to court and the courts ruled that the pizza chain was breaking the law expecting the youngsters to remain at work whilst not being paid and the court instructed the pizza chain not only to change it's practices but to pay back pay to the girls concerned and court costs were awarded against them.

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    Can you provide a reference to this case? Or at least name the chain involved? Or even confirm whether you're talking about a UK court? – feetwet Nov 22 '16 at 20:38

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