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NetworkEngineer
28th February 2011, 11:10
Hello ladies and gents...

I left contracting over a year ago to enter a permanent job, as the contracting market in my sector was dying a slow, painful death.

I am classed as 'senior', whatever that may mean, pay 40% tax and earn £47k, and have recently been offered an on-call position within the business, which mainly deals with telecomms and networking for onshore business and oil companies.

They offer £500 standard for 7 days on-call; calls are expected to be responded to (preferably the customer called with brief explanation of why an outage exists) within about 30 minutes.

Having done two shifts of this as a trial, I feel the money is not enough. An 'hourly' rate is more administratively labourious, so I am going to initially ask for significantly more as a standard rate, eg: £900 or £1000 for the week, for example.

I earn double the salary of a junior, but we are currently both paid the £500 standard weekly rate; also not particularly fair.

I would appreciate if anybody has any advice, or has been in a similar situation, and can help with regards to 1) a modern appropriate sum of money to ask and 2) whether hourly payment in addition to the £500 payment is what I should ask for, or whether - in your experience - most companies just pay a flat one-off payment fee for being on-call.

It has gotten to the extent where I do not consider my current expenditure of time worth the £300 (after tax) that I am receiving.

Thank you in advance for any info or help :happy

PropertyCrashUK
28th February 2011, 11:54
Can you clarify?

Will you continue to receive your 47K and this £500 for on call is on top of the 47K?

Is the £500 a permanent on call thing per week - i.e. you will be adding £500 per week to your 47K taking you up into the 70K a year bracket. Or will on call be just one week in four?

Or are you quitting your 47K job to go on call for £500 per week? :eek

NetworkEngineer
28th February 2011, 12:08
Can you clarify?

Will you continue to receive your 47K and this £500 for on call is on top of the 47K?

Is the £500 a permanent on call thing per week - i.e. you will be adding £500 per week to your 47K taking you up into the 70K a year bracket. Or will on call be just one week in four?

Or are you quitting your 47K job to go on call for £500 per week? :eek

Apologies for the confusion;

The permanent job will continue as normal, and they are asking us to participate in an on-call rota. Once every month, for one week (full 7 days) we will be paid, for that single week, an additional £500 onto our pay.

So, effectively, within the rota I will earn an extra £500 per month. I am finding that being forced to - essentially - have no 'life' and stay in for £300 after tax does not sound worthwhile to me, and I am asking what is a normalised value of money for being on-call in such a manner, particularly when getting called at any time, including through the night.

Thanks.

Sockpuppet
28th February 2011, 12:21
But maybe you've just had some bad on call scenarios. Are you always going to be called out?

NetworkEngineer
28th February 2011, 12:27
But maybe you've just had some bad on call scenarios. Are you always going to be called out?

I am only concerned with the money that appears in my bank account at the end of the month, not the pre-tax salary.

A 30 minute response time, that means the customer wants an actual verbal response as to the possible cause of the problem, basically says: stay at home for 7 days.

I work in a different city to that which I go to at weekends, so I travel every weekend. The weekend of the week I am 'on call' means I must therefore stay at home, in the city in which I work, basically not able to leave the house.

Keep in mind that whether someone earns £20,000 or £50,000 in my company, they are only paid the £500 pre-tax for being on-call for 7 days. That doesn't sound 'right' to me.

Sockpuppet
28th February 2011, 12:36
£500 sounds fine. The fact you're paying 40% tax isn't your employers problem.

jmo21
28th February 2011, 12:56
I've never done it myself, but I've heard other people having a base amount, plus something per callout (whether that is just another fixed amount, or hourly based I can't remember).

Do you have a work laptop? What about asking for them to provide that plus mobile broadband, then you could at least get around the being stuck in house part.

Support Monkey
28th February 2011, 13:02
I am finding that being forced to - essentially - have no 'life' Thanks.

If having a life is important tell em to jog on, i used to do call out 1 weekend in 4 and then some nights in the week and your correct you have no life and its a right pain in the arse, that week on call you can kiss goodbye to your normal routine even if you only get very few call outs your still sitting waiting you cannot just clear off down the pub and get legless, i would want more than £500 to make me do it again

PropertyCrashUK
28th February 2011, 13:02
I think you find that £500 is pretty poor when you compare to what lots of public sector workers such as engineers, social workers, etc get for being on call.

Your £500 is for a week - have a look at what their daily on call rates are.

Support Monkey
28th February 2011, 13:11
, i would want more than £500 to make me do it again

Scrub that! no amount of money is enough its not worth it all your gonna be doing is waiting for the phone to ring, if it was contract you could see the end of it but permie you could be doing it for years and don't forget when the monkey who is doing next week is on his holidays someone has to fill in for their week

NetworkEngineer
28th February 2011, 13:27
I think you find that £500 is pretty poor when you compare to what lots of public sector workers such as engineers, social workers, etc get for being on call.

Your £500 is for a week - have a look at what their daily on call rates are.

That's exactly my point, it is not easy to get hold of this information.

What are example daily rates? You know my salary, as posted above, is there a formula commonly used?

I am permanent, and I do not feel providing a contracting-style formula that I found in an old forum post will be workable in the long term or accepted by the business.

NetworkEngineer
28th February 2011, 13:29
Without some kind of a one-on/one-off rota system, this kind of shift system is unsustainable in the long run - your marriage and family life will suffer when your wife eventually points out that she married you, not your job.

Google 'servitude' to discover when the last time this type of employment/ownership was successful.

Find another job.

Hi Cojak,

I am to participate once every four or five weeks in the rota system, so it is sustainable, but only for the right amount of money. £500 is not enough in my opinion relative to my current salary.

cojak
28th February 2011, 13:30
Hi Cojak,

I am to participate once every four or five weeks in the rota system, so it is sustainable, but only for the right amount of money. £500 is not enough in my opinion relative to my current salary.

Fair enough ski...

jmo21
28th February 2011, 13:50
Doing a very rudimentary calculation.

£47,000 p/a

say 46 weeks actual worked.

= you earn £205 / day.

so for 7 days £1435 - that's what I'd lead, as you're on call presumably from 6pm - say 8am, and 24 hours on Sat and Sun.

nomadd
28th February 2011, 13:55
Scrub that! no amount of money is enough its not worth it all your gonna be doing is waiting for the phone to ring, if it was contract you could see the end of it but permie you could be doing it for years and don't forget when the monkey who is doing next week is on his holidays someone has to fill in for their week

Depends. With mobile phones these days it can be pretty flexible. Mind you, I've always quoted such insane "standby" rates and "per call" rates to my clients they've always replied with, "Forget it...we'll find someone cheaper." :)

I'd want the £500 the OP is getting just as the standby element; then a decent hourly rate on top of that. Each call over 5 minutes rounded up to the nearest hour. That's what the contractors who do on-call at my current gig do.

Sockpuppet
28th February 2011, 14:14
There small issue here of the OP not being a contractor.

NetworkEngineer
28th February 2011, 17:03
The OP (me) is indeed no longer a contractor, for now.

Company provide mobile phone, data-card, and home broadband if required. These are necessary to do the day to day job though, so I do not see these as a benefit.

Mobile data is still mostly 2G GSM in my area, and if you have ever tried to login to equipment connected over VSAT, using GPRS, you will know this is not particularly viable.

Thanks for all the comments, keep any rate-estimates coming in :happy Helpful indeed.

Old Greg
28th February 2011, 17:16
I think you find that £500 is pretty poor when you compare to what lots of public sector workers such as engineers, social workers, etc get for being on call.

Your £500 is for a week - have a look at what their daily on call rates are.

NHS employees get a 4.5% salary enhancement for being on-call 1 in 4, plus payment for any time worked. 9.5% for 1 in 3 or more often.

Wanderer
28th February 2011, 20:24
I am to participate once every four or five weeks in the rota system, so it is sustainable, but only for the right amount of money. £500 is not enough in my opinion relative to my current salary.

I think that £500 is quite generous. It's about twice what the permies (on similar salaries to you) get where I work at the moment. It's hard to compare without knowing if you also get paid overtime/TOIL, how often you get called out and if it's phone work or if you have to carry a laptop with you at all times.

But really, if you don't want to be on call then just tell them you don't want to do it any more. If you earn £47k and the juniors are getting paid half that then they are on ~£100/day so the call-out is a week's pay to them. :eek: I'm sure they will be more than happy to take the £500 quid, so don't come moaning to us. :tongue

MarillionFan
28th February 2011, 20:51
I think that £500 is quite generous. It's about twice what the permies (on similar salaries to you) get where I work at the moment. It's hard to compare without knowing if you also get paid overtime/TOIL, how often you get called out and if it's phone work or if you have to carry a laptop with you at all times.

But really, if you don't want to be on call then just tell them you don't want to do it any more. If you earn £47k and the juniors are getting paid half that then they are on ~£100/day so the call-out is a week's pay to them. :eek: I'm sure they will be more than happy to take the £500 quid, so don't come moaning to us. :tongue

No it's not generous, it's a pain in the ass.

Effectively for a payment of a £500 before tax (£300 extra after per month) the OP has to spend a week in which he may get called out at any point in 24 hours x 7 days. So not being able to have a drink, or having to shoot off from a party or being called up at 3am in the morning, get dressed and rush off.

Effectively that extra payment works out at an extra £70 per day to be on call out.

From a contract perspective, contractors normally get paid a 'on call fee' and then if called out 'charge a call out fee'. So this is dependent on whether this call out is part of your normal work/contract.

Personally, you should have the option to take it or not. If you do take it, the flat rate I would be going for £150 per day just to be on call, but would be asking for a call out fee as well. So if you call me out at 3am in the morning, you're paying. Up to you how you organise that.

Bluespider
28th February 2011, 21:05
I've been (in the past) subjected to many and varied on call rates and I've heard of a few as well.
In my experience companies don't want to pay the equivalent of what would be fair for the level of disturbance that is experienced.
I've worked places where it was as little as 113 GBP per week for on call stand by but 30 GBP per call plus OT if it went over 4 hours. if you balanced the books correctly that worked out quite well. I've heard of IBM paying 1/4 time for the entire oncall period which i think can be quite lucrative.

I'm quite glad to now not be in focus for on call, the permies do it to bolster their take home, I prefer my weekends and evenings to be mine, not sure I could put a price on them, certainly not one a client could afford.

I would imagine it would depend on the likelyhood of being called out? I've done it where it was money for nothing, a call once in a blue moon so it was a little extra for carrying a phone for a week, other places, the oncall was used as it was supporting 24x7 production.

Unless you really really want the money, I'd be inclined to let the juniors do it, as mentioned above its a far bigger take home for them.

monobrow
1st March 2011, 12:52
£500 a week is aboove average in my opinion.

if you don't want to do it, then don't sign up for it, they can't force you to. If you have already signed, then tough, you need to find another job.

HTH, welcome to being a grown up.

SueEllen
1st March 2011, 13:45
£500 a week is aboove average in my opinion.

if you don't want to do it, then don't sign up for it, they can't force you to. If you have already signed, then tough, you need to find another job.

HTH, welcome to being a grown up.

Harsh but fair.

Wanderer
1st March 2011, 15:35
No it's not generous, it's a pain in the ass.

Perhaps it doesn't seem generous to me and you, but in the olden days when I was a lowly paid junior I would have jumped at the chance to double my gross income by being on call. You can get a lot of Vaseline for that much money...:eek:

NetworkEngineer
1st March 2011, 16:50
Perhaps it doesn't seem generous to me and you, but in the olden days when I was a lowly paid junior I would have jumped at the chance to double my gross income by being on call. You can get a lot of Vaseline for that much money...:eek:

Some of these responses aren't helpful; I'm not a junior.

I'm a senior on £47k, so I don't see how, in what world, £500 plus nothing else is fine. For a 24/7 interational network criticial environment, I don't see how £500 can be seen as enough, personally.

In addition, everybody, regardless of status, gets the same money. If you would accept this, you would have to be either desperate or crazy.

MrRobin
1st March 2011, 17:08
Sorry if this was answered already... I have been skim reading...

We've established that you get £500 extra for being on-call for a full 7 days. If you get called at say 3am, do you then charge for overtime on top?

SueEllen
1st March 2011, 17:19
Some of these responses aren't helpful; I'm not a junior.

I'm a senior on £47k, so I don't see how, in what world, £500 plus nothing else is fine. For a 24/7 interational network criticial environment, I don't see how £500 can be seen as enough, personally.

In addition, everybody, regardless of status, gets the same money. If you would accept this, you would have to be either desperate or crazy.

The reason for Wanderer's and monobrow's view is that employment contracts are negotiable from the beginning.

This means when you took on the job or when they asked you to do this, you should have convinced them that as you are senior and more experienced you should only do on-call work at certain times i.e. when one of the junior bods can't cope.

While from your side the amount of money you get isn't worth it for you, for your employer they can get someone who would happily take the money to do it, so why should they pay more?

monkeyrhythm
1st March 2011, 17:45
I also work in networking (although I do more architecture than engineering nowadays) and I think that the support model of the OP's company is fundamentally flawed. Yes the business can apparently fill the on-call requirement by juniors who will be very happy with £500 for a weeks on-call but what happens when it all kicks off with a bitch of an issue that the junior can't resolve, who do they escalate it too? Am I reading it correctly that there is one individual, representing one line of support (first/second line if it's a junior) 'out of hours' - which in actuality is more than 50% of the time? Additionally the support company and customer expect an initial response to be provided within 30 minutes? It appears to me that the company are attempting to offer the level of support some companies use a 24/7 NOC (Network Operations Centre) to provide (e.g. the OP's company are trying to do it on the cheap)

I do know of companies that structure support operations similarly but it's essential that a Senior Network Engineer is at least on call. They could structure this whereby a junior has to respond initially and resolve issues where possible with a senior guy available to call on if required. On-call rates (and life impact as the senior guy would have less stringent response time and should be called on less, much of his support could/should be telephone based to the junior) could be structured accordingly.


In a nutshell: I wouldn't take what they're offering as it sounds sh*te but with one guy on call at at time why should the company pay you more just 'cos you're senior?

NetworkEngineer
1st March 2011, 20:09
Sorry if this was answered already... I have been skim reading...

We've established that you get £500 extra for being on-call for a full 7 days. If you get called at say 3am, do you then charge for overtime on top?

Hi MrRobin.

Regardless of the time of the call, nothing extra is paid. We have been told we can come in later in the morning, but this time would not equal the time we worked during the night.

ie: work 3 hours in the midnight hours, expected in the office at 10am rather than 9am.

If anything; it should surely be overtime at "time and a half".

One person must be on call for a full week, not negotiable.

We do have a NOC, but 80% of them are not very clued up.

Bluespider
1st March 2011, 20:28
Hi MrRobin.


We do have a NOC, but 80% of them are not very clued up.

Thats a fundamental issue, and not necessarily your responsibility to cover (unless you are responsible for training)

I think the main issue here is that most on here will answer fromn a contractors viewpoint, i.e. we get paid for what we work. agreed up front and remunerated accordingly. As a permie the rules are slightly different and negotiations not as easy.
Will this hamper your career progression if you decline ( I know i have been told in the past that it was part of my job and therefore like it or lump it). If they have anly recently introduced this then there should have been a 4 week notice period and a new contract issued stating the terms.

Only you can decide if the money on offer adequately covers your time and inconvenience. I think due to the taxation levels and the fact that all parties get equal then it wont be worth it. you are essentially doing the same job as the juniors for less money. you may as well ask for a demotion!
In my experience though, once decided these rates arent very easily shifted. the companies dig their heels in on this for some reason.

NetworkEngineer
1st March 2011, 20:30
I also work in networking (although I do more architecture than engineering nowadays) and I think that the support model of the OP's company is fundamentally flawed. Yes the business can apparently fill the on-call requirement by juniors who will be very happy with £500 for a weeks on-call but what happens when it all kicks off with a bitch of an issue that the junior can't resolve, who do they escalate it too? Am I reading it correctly that there is one individual, representing one line of support (first/second line if it's a junior) 'out of hours' - which in actuality is more than 50% of the time? Additionally the support company and customer expect an initial response to be provided within 30 minutes? It appears to me that the company are attempting to offer the level of support some companies use a 24/7 NOC (Network Operations Centre) to provide (e.g. the OP's company are trying to do it on the cheap)

I do know of companies that structure support operations similarly but it's essential that a Senior Network Engineer is at least on call. They could structure this whereby a junior has to respond initially and resolve issues where possible with a senior guy available to call on if required. On-call rates (and life impact as the senior guy would have less stringent response time and should be called on less, much of his support could/should be telephone based to the junior) could be structured accordingly.


In a nutshell: I wouldn't take what they're offering as it sounds sh*te but with one guy on call at at time why should the company pay you more just 'cos you're senior?

We do have a NOC, so they do some, often crap, attempts at looking at a problem. Depends on the quality of person on shift.

The NOC escalate cases to the on duty engineer, who 99% of the time will solve the case, or know what to do and which 3rd parties to contact to initiate resolution.

There must be a minimum of 4 people on the duty team, which ironically is the level we are at now; they need me stay on the team.

I have a major meeting tomorrow with a manager to propose a resolution, so I will have to just make something up quickly.

My preference would to either ask for £1000 per week or £500 plus an hourly minimum call out, which is a percentage of my equivalent daily pay.

This is business, I work for money, so I should get an appropriate pay and structured time off for doing an on duty rota.

As mentioned, I work in a different city to which I spend weekends in, except when I will be on duty, when I must stay in the working city.

I deserve more, because of this personally, but ultimately because it's not worth it to me to do this for £500.

It pays the juniors' mortgage, and is a large percentage of their salary, but they are less capable.

The company is trying to do this 'on the cheap.'

Wanderer
1st March 2011, 20:46
Some of these responses aren't helpful; I'm not a junior. I'm a senior on £47k, so I don't see how, in what world, £500 plus nothing else is fine. For a 24/7 interational network criticial environment, I don't see how £500 can be seen as enough, personally. In addition, everybody, regardless of status, gets the same money. If you would accept this, you would have to be either desperate or crazy.

I make about £100k and I'm happy to do on call for about £400/week. The permies I work with are on ~50k get ~250/week for on call. The senior managers who deal with escalations when a serious incident happens get nothing - it's expected that at their level they just get on with the job at whatever time of the day or night it is. On call can be a bit of a pain and it's not for everyone but if you don't want to do the on call work then then don't do it, let the juniors have the money!

If you don't think you are paid enough then ask for a pay rise or go and work somewhere else. It's rare that I make personal comments on this forum but I honestly do think you are bitching far too much dude. :spank:

downsouth
1st March 2011, 21:07
sense a little too much bravado from the OP here, £500 aint much blah blah blah, might not be at the moment but can assure you in other times it might pay your mortgage that month!

Now i've worked on call for 7 days on 7 off, and that was for @£200 a week plus 1 hr per hour worked, not at overtime rate. Might not sound much but can add up very quickly esp when perm oncall cos lazy permies dont want to do it.

Now the only element can relate to you on is the fact you live in a diff part of the country, can you not agree some flexibility during the times you are not oncall to work from home, leave earlier on a fri, late on monday etc.

NetworkEngineer
1st March 2011, 22:08
sense a little too much bravado from the OP here, £500 aint much blah blah blah, might not be at the moment but can assure you in other times it might pay your mortgage that month!

Now i've worked on call for 7 days on 7 off, and that was for @£200 a week plus 1 hr per hour worked, not at overtime rate. Might not sound much but can add up very quickly esp when perm oncall cos lazy permies dont want to do it.

Now the only element can relate to you on is the fact you live in a diff part of the country, can you not agree some flexibility during the times you are not oncall to work from home, leave earlier on a fri, late on monday etc.

I can't do it permanently, it is not viable in the current setup, nor would I want to do it more than once a month.

If you have self-respect, and respect your own time, then in my position you wouldn't be doing that. Also, as mentioned, we have a minimal number of people, and operate a rota which means at least there is some structure for dates on-call.

I will try my luck and see where I get; what this thread has certainly brought out is the people who 'have a clue' and understand your time is precious, and you should be remunerated accordingly. You guys and gals know who you are.

It is also apparent there are numerous people here who really have no genuine idea of the value of their time, and as such would accept £150 a week in a 24x7 production environment, £300, or £500 - in fact, it's fair to say that a few people don't know at all what their time is worth.

Think that is harsh, but fair.

stek
1st March 2011, 22:40
I'm permie for now (second time - contractor since 92!) on a bit more than OP, our on-call is 200 quid for the on-call week, one in four, plus any hour or part of an hour at 1.5x weekdays, 2.0x weekend.

On average I do about 20hrs a month extra as a result of on-call and as we do a lot of changes as well, some overnight, it does mount up.

I reckon I might pull 75k this year which isn't bad for Yorkshire and when you consider holidays/sickness/benefits etc it makes me wonder why I only consider this a temporary situation until the contracting market picks up...

The answer?

1. I can't stand the thought of driving to the same place to work for years on end...

2. I feel trapped.

3. I feel I'm not in charge of my own destiny.

4. I can't stand the appraisals/meetings/talking bollocks stuff, on average I spend one day a week not doing any actual real work.

5. There are no fit birds at at this place.

Still, I like the place and I'm in no hurry to jack it in for a tyoolip rate, so I'm looking around now and asking for top rates, for the benefit of all, raising the bar for you lads and lasses. Of course I'm getting nothing, but I will soon!

monobrow
2nd March 2011, 12:57
I can't do it permanently, it is not viable in the current setup, nor would I want to do it more than once a month.

If you have self-respect, and respect your own time, then in my position you wouldn't be doing that. Also, as mentioned, we have a minimal number of people, and operate a rota which means at least there is some structure for dates on-call.

I will try my luck and see where I get; what this thread has certainly brought out is the people who 'have a clue' and understand your time is precious, and you should be remunerated accordingly. You guys and gals know who you are.

It is also apparent there are numerous people here who really have no genuine idea of the value of their time, and as such would accept £150 a week in a 24x7 production environment, £300, or £500 - in fact, it's fair to say that a few people don't know at all what their time is worth.

Think that is harsh, but fair.


If £500 isn't enough and £1000 is.. how will an extra £300 a month change your life?

I'm sorry that you decided to have an career in IT, and that you feel being paid double the average UK salary and a 12.5% increase to your salary for being on-call once a month isn't enough for you.

perhaps you should re-train into Nursing? By doing this, I can arrange to double your hours and halve your salary should you wish to persue this.

Honestly, get a grip, all we are talking about here is greed. Everyone is telling you it is fair and you won't listen. If you have skills that are transferable to another organisation and that you are underpaid, then honestly, why aren't you fighting off other organisations who want to hire you? or is it that you are onto a good thing and just want to squeeze your employer for everything you can get?