What the clocks changing means for night shift workers

At 1am on 31 March, the clocks will go forward – but what does this mean for staff working a night shift that night? Will it affect their pay and can they go home at their usual home time, even though they have worked less time? Alastair Brown, chief technological officer at HR software firm, BrightHR, explains.

“2019’s Daylight Saving Time is set to begin on Sunday 31 March, meaning that the clocks will go forward an hour. Although those who do not work at the weekend are likely to be in bed when this happens, it is important to consider how this will affect working hours, and pay, for those working in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

“Unlike when the clocks go back in October, employers do not need to be concerned about the risk of paying under the national minimum wage or breaking working time rules. However, they should bear in mind that employees will technically be working an hour less in their shift as a result of a clock change; for example, an employee working an eight-hour shift will actually only work for seven hours instead of eight.

“Whether the employer will need to pay their employees for a full, eight-hour shift in this situation will depend on upon the contract of employment. Generally, a contract will outline that a worker is entitled to hourly pay for every hour that they work.

“That being said, workers who are in receipt of a regular salary will usually receive the normal amount regardless of whether they work one hour less. This is because a salaried employee is more likely than an hourly paid employee to be required to work extra hours without additional pay, and to be entitled to pay even if they work fewer hours.

“Employers can choose how they treat this hour lost, subject to any contractual entitlements, but should act consistently and fairly. For example, they may decide that all employees must work an extra hour to make up the hour ‘lost’, but shouldn’t pick and choose who needs to and who doesn’t; one rule should apply to everyone.

“If an employee is scheduled to work on Sunday morning, they should be reminded that the clocks are going forward an hour and encouraged to prepare for this. Employee lateness can be costly for a company and employers can consider disciplining any late worker if they believe it is necessary.”

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