On 29 October 2017, the clocks go back at 2am. For staff who are working a night shift, what does this mean? Should they be paid for working the extra hour? Should they just go home after working their shift/usual number of hours (even when the clocks say they have an hour left?)
As a general rule, employers have to decide how they handle the situation, although they have to be aware that this is subject to the statutory rules on national minimum wage and working time (and, of course, anything contained in the employee’s employment contracts).
For those on shift work (e.g. from ’10pm – 6am’ or an ‘eight hour shift’, an employer does not necessarily have to pay employees for working an hour longer on a particular shift.
Salaried vs Hourly rate
The situation is also different for those who are hourly paid and those who are salaried.
In practice, a salaried worker is more likely to be required to work extra hours without additional pay. The situation differs for those on hourly pay due to the real-time application of having worked an extra hour (even though the clocks don’t say so).
Indeed, employers can always choose to pay their employees for the extra hour that they work or to allow them to go home after their normal working shift (both of which will no doubt be met with high praise by the employees).
Employers must also ensure that the extra hour does not take the employee’s pay below the relevant rate (for the purposes of national minimum wage) if they work an extra hour.
Furthermore, the rules on maximum working night time hours and minimum rest breaks need to be reviewed by employers to ensure that they are not in breach of the rules.
We will no doubt be having a similar discussion in March/April when the clocks go forward! Whatever the case may be for employers, they should maintain consistency, and should consider how their practices affect their employees in the spirit of fairness.