There’s one thing sure to change in Britain at the end of October – no, not us leaving the EU (Brex-what!?) – the clocks change back from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time of course.
This means that, at 2 o’clock in the morning on Sunday 27th October, we effectively gain an extra hour as the clocks go back – great news for those in regular 9-5 jobs and get the extra hour’s lie in, but how about those who work night shifts?
When staff are working overnight, the change in time always brings confusion for employers as well as employees. Will the employees be paid for an extra hour or can they (technically) clock off an hour early when they’ve done their usual number of hours?
If you are an employer deciding how best to manage this change in time, we have put together the following list of factors for you to consider:-
- Ensure that you’re familiar with the statutory rules on working time and that you would not be in breach of the rules on maximum night time working hours and minimum rest breaks by allowing the employee to work the extra hour.
- For employees you pay hourly, be mindful that you don’t allow them to fall below the national minimum wage (NMW). If an employee is paid the NMW and works an extra hour when the clocks change, you must be careful that the extra hour does not take the employee’s pay below the legal rate.
- Salaried employees are more likely to work the extra hour without being entitled to additional pay, but in order to determine their entitlement you should review their contractual provisions regarding overtime. Note that if their employment contracts don’t allow for overtime payment, you could still choose to pay for the extra hour, or let them finish after their normal number of hours as a goodwill gesture.
- Remember to check how your employees’ contracts are drafted – their hours could be expressed by the number of hours in a shift rather than between a specific timeframe.
- Try and be consistent – don’t forget, the clocks will go forward again in March. Some of your employees working on the 27th October might also work the night we return to British Sumer Time. If you aren’t paying your employees for the extra hour, they will essentially get it back in March if you let them finish an hour early and get a free hour’s pay.
- If your employees are working during the days over the weekend, it wouldn’t hurt to give them a gentle reminder in advance of the change in time in a bid to help avoid any excuses for lateness (whether due to genuine mistake or not…)
- You might wish to consider using the opportunity to send out a general wellbeing reminder for employees to bear in mind that the change in time also brings a drastic change in daylight hours as the nights draw in much quicker. They may therefore wish to wear more appropriate clothing, make sure cars are serviced and well stocked with anti-freeze, and also take any appropriate precautions necessitated by starting and finishing work in the dark – it’s worth thinking about safety.
- Finally, consider reminding employees to be aware of any old relics still knocking around the workplace (or homes)– unlike modern phones and computers, grandfather clocks won’t change themselves!
WBW Solicitors offer an Employment Law Package to protect your business from any issues that may arise with your employees, which includes contract and staff handbook drafting, as well as the provision of unlimited, practical advice. The package provides employers with peace of mind and advice for any employment law situation.
We work with a variety of small and medium sized businesses and would love to hear from you if you would like to learn more. You can contact Kerry Curd, a Partner in the Employment Department, by telephone on 01626 202406 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.