In the private security sector, shift work, night work and work on holidays are common working conditions. Security guards often perform challenging work to ensure the safety of facilities, events and people. Unfortunately the Wages in this sector often in the low-wage sector for example, in the separate security service. If hours are unexpectedly lost, e.g. because the employer loses an important contract, and the monthly target working time is not reached because of this (or for other reasons), it can become financially dicey as a 34a security guard. This article looks at the reasons that lead to the cancellation of working days and shows the possibilities that one then has as a security employee.
What are possible reasons why my employer schedules me on fewer assignment days?
First of all, the security company’s point of view should also be briefly examined at this point. The fact that you are on the duty roster less often has in most cases (hopefully) nothing to do with you personally, but has operational reasons. If these are explained transparently by the employer and you can understand them, this offers a better starting point for a solution to the problem that can be supported by both sides. It is possible, however, that this will lead to a change of employment or to you starting to look for a new job. Or maybe the “lean period” is only short and you can compensate for the hours by working extra hours in the following month or the employer accommodates you in some other way.
Here are ten possible reasons why your employer might want to reduce your working hours:
- Lower customer demand: There could be less demand for security services, leading to a reduction in the number of man-hours needed.
- Economic slowdown: It is possible that the economic situation has deteriorated, leading to resource constraints and cost savings.
- Changes in the business strategy: Your employer may have changed its business strategy, leading to an adjustment of human resources.
- Staff rotation: Possibly rotate staff to give all staff the opportunity to work and to distribute working hours more equitably.
- New technologies or automation: The Introduction of new technologies or automated systems could lead to fewer employees being needed.
- Seasonal fluctuations: Working hours could be subject to seasonal fluctuations, for example if less security staff is needed in certain months.
- Changes in contracts with clients: It is possible that contracts with clients have changed and this leads to a reduction in the volume of work.
- Legal restrictions: There could be (new) legal restrictions, such as maximum limits for working hours or rest periods between shifts. Or the existing requirements (e.g. from the Working Hours Act) are now better followed up.
- Company holidays or seasonal company breaksYour employer may have decided to reduce working hours during certain periods, such as company holidays or seasonal breaks (from customers). Also, for example, the Covid pandemic had caused temporary dislocation within the industry.
- Internal company restructuring: Your employer may carry out internal restructuring leading to a reassessment of working hours and resource allocation.
What options do I have if my employer assigns me to less work?
Of course, it is not worth arguing about one or two hours. However, a loss of 20, 30, 40 per cent or even more hours is a big deal, because you also have to make a living. If your boss removes you from the duty roster, assigns you to significantly fewer shifts than usual and you don’t work your hours — then you have the following options:
- Check employment contract!
That is the most important point. As a rule, what is decisive is what has been agreed in your employment contract. For example, if it says “full-time”, the employer is obliged to employ you accordingly. What is meant by full-time is usually regulated in the respective collective agreement. Often a specific number of hours is also agreed. If, for example, 170 hours per month are contractually stipulated in your employment contract, this number of hours must be adhered to (apart from minor fluctuations, e.g. due to sick cover).
- Consult the duty roster!
Duty scheduling in security services, e.g. in factory security, is often done on the basis of a fixed shift rhythm. In this way, it is possible to plan roughly in advance — of course with a certain degree of uncertainty (e.g. due to eternal outstanding holiday planning). However, the actual duty roster for the following month is decisive: If it states 20 shifts, for example, then you are entitled to work this number of shifts. Once a duty roster has been published, it may only be changed again after consultation with the employees.
- Seek dialogue and actively offer work performance!
Many things can be clarified through communication. Seek to talk to your supervisor and reach a consensus. Important: Communicate that you do not agree with the changes and explicitly offer your work performance! Your employer is obliged to give you the work according to the existing employment contract, you provide your work performance according to the contract.
- Your employer does not react? Send a written reminder!
Inform your employer in writing about the aspects mentioned above. The written form is important so that you have proof. Set a deadline for your boss, but continue to be polite and cooperative. After all, you usually want to continue working for your employer.
- If nothing helps: complain!
If all else fails, the employer does not react and talks (possibly also with the works council) have not led to success, the only option is to take legal action before the labour court.
Lawyer Jörg Zitzmann has beautifully presented the facts of the case in the YouTube channel of the Academy for Security: