Is it mandatory to be present at work earlier? The boss has to pay

It appears from a judgment from the High Court in The Hague, which became public on Friday.

Teleperformance from Zoetermeer is a call center that works for customers such as Microsoft, Google, Mastercard and BMW. The French parent company of the company claims to be the global market leader.

Formerly current

Teleperformance’s scheduling rules require employees to be at work ten minutes before their work begins. During that time, they have to log in to various automation systems so that they can immediately start processing telephone calls at the start of working hours.

An employee who had worked at Teleperformance since 2016 thought it was unfair. He considered the minutes that he must be present earlier, as working time for which the call center must pay him.

Last year, the man asked his employer to pay him the ‘post-payment’. In the more than four years the man worked for the company, those minutes were collected in a total claim of about 1,600 euros. When the company refused to pay, the man went to court.

Coffee and toilet

Teleperformance argued before the court in The Hague that the employee’s claim was unjustified. The company says that it does not require employees to perform work during that time, but that they ‘must be present so that the work can begin on time’.

The employees could also drink a cup of coffee and go to the toilet during those minutes. According to Teleperformance, the minutes must therefore not be included as paid working hours.

Minced meat

A ruling made public on Friday shows that the High Court in The Hague has made minced meat for that reason.

According to the court, it is a duty to be present and not a non-binding advice. In addition, it is necessary to log in to the systems in order to perform the telephone work. “These ten minutes can be considered working time,” the district court concluded.

This means that Teleperformance now has to pay the employee almost 2900 euros in overdue salary and holiday pay, increase in law and collection costs. The company must also pay almost 800 euros in legal costs for the employee.

Thousands of employees

If the ruling causes his colleagues to also demand their arrears, the verdict could be financially more severe for Teleperformance. According to the company, it has a total of 3600 permanent employees, spread over five locations in the Netherlands and two in Belgium and Suriname.

Human Resources Director Liesbeth Polman of Teleperformance says the company has appealed the ruling.

Appeal

“We do not agree with the judge’s ruling, because it was made on the basis of a number of assumptions that are wrong. We also see this as a broader discussion. In many sectors, it is common for employees to be asked to be ready to perform. work before a shift starts, where early participation is unpaid. “

Polman says that requests from other employees who now also want to receive overdue pay can only be processed after the appeal decision. The employee and his attorney were not available for comment today.

More pay issues despite corona tops

Last year, Teleperformance also came into the news with payout issues. The company is hired by the Ministry of Health and GGD to, among other things, process telephone agreements for corona tests.

The trade union FNV subsequently received complaints from employees who, due to technical problems, were not paid for all working hours. Moreover, employees would not always have been paid to take online courses.

The latest annual report also shows that the Corona job for Teleperformance has been extremely lucrative. Thanks to the mega-order, the company’s turnover more than doubled in 2020, from 96 million to 206 million euros. A fat net profit of almost 16 million euros was made on it. A year earlier, the company had only a paltry profit of 312,000 euros.

The results for 2021 are not yet known, but in the report the company already writes that it expects it to be ‘very profitable’ again this year thanks to the extension of the GGD contract.

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