Our employer asks us to turn up 15 minutes before work starts, but doesn't pay us for this time. Shouldn't this come under our paid time?

If you are an hourly-paid worker, you should be paid the agreed contractual rate (which must be at least the National Minimum Wage) for every hour you are required to work. 'Work' includes time spent at the employer's premises and at the employer's disposal, even when you are not physically engaged in any tasks yet because you are getting ready for your working day.

If it is entirely your choice whether you arrive 15 minutes early or not, and your employer cannot discipline you for not turning up until your contract start time, then this 15 minutes is unlikely to be working time for which you should be paid. However, if your employer requires you to be on the premises 15 minutes early, and could discipline you for not being there 15 minutes early, you should be paid for the extra 15 minutes and not paying you is an unlawful deduction of wages.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.