Spring forward, fall back. We’re all familiar with this saying. But not everyone is as clued up when it comes to the HR considerations of the clocks changing.
As we approach the last Sunday in October - the date we traditionally ‘fall back’ - Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR, looks at what this means for people working overnight and the rules that employers need to be aware of.
“Employees who work overnight shifts either love or hate the clocks changing. While the Spring change can mean a shorter shift, this coming weekend often means they end up working nine hours instead of the usual eight – and may not be entitled to an extra hour’s pay.
“It all comes down to the wording of the employment contract.
“A contract may state that an employee will work 8 hours per shift, or it could set out specific start and finish times, i.e. hours of work are from 10pm-6am. Employers will need to review individual contracts to ensure any employees who will be working when the clocks change are scheduled and paid correctly.”
Questions to consider include • Will hourly staff be paid for the extra hour of work, or will they start their shift later/finish earlier on that day? • Does the additional hour count as overtime for salaried staff? • Will there be no change to shift patterns and/or pay?
“It’s important to remember that wages must not fall below the national minimum wage if employees are expected to work this extra hour. If that is likely to happen, employers should be sure to top up the employee’s pay to avoid falling foul of law and being on the Government’s regular name and shame list.
“Asking employees to work the extra hour must also not breach Working Time Regulations in respect to the weekly working limit, maximum night shift hours and rest-break entitlements.
“If employers do not have any clear contractual terms outlining employees’ rights in this situation, then they can rely on what they have done in the past, making sure to apply the same rules when we spring forward again in March.”