Plain English Guide to British Employment Law
There are specific rules covering night workers.
Anyone being taken on to work at night must be offered a free health assessment.
Night time working hours are usually considered to be between 11pm and 6am – although this can be flexible depending on any agreement between employee and employer.
The agreement must be in writing. The night time period must:
Staff who regularly work for at least 3 hours during this period are night workers. Workers may also be a night workers if:
The rules about how long staff work at night are based on average working time, which is usually calculated over a 17-week period. This includes regular overtime but not occasional overtime.
If the workers and the employer both agree as part of a collective or workforce agreement, the working hours can be averaged over a longer period (eg up to 52 weeks).
Employers must make sure that workers don’t work more than an average of 8 hours in a 24-hour period. Workers can’t opt out of this working limit.
Employers must keep records of night workers’ working hours to prove they aren’t exceeding night working limits. Employers must keep the records for at least 2 years.
The normal limits on night worker hours don’t usually apply:
There are separate rules for workers in road, sea and air transport.
Limits on night work also don’t apply:
In these cases, workers must get ‘compensatory rest’ instead of a normal working week and breaks during the day.
This is a minimum of 90 hours rest a week on average, but it may not be at normal times.
Employers must also follow the general rules on working hours.
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