How should employers deal with employees who are working when the clocks change?
Clocks go back an hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October, changing from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time. They go forward again at 1am on the last Sunday in March.
Employees who work an extra hour because they are working a night shift when the clocks go back will not be entitled to an extra hour's pay, unless this is provided for in their contract. Employers should check the wording of their contracts, for example a shift could be described as lasting "eight hours" or it could be "from 10pm to 6am". Whatever approach the employer takes, it should ensure that employees are aware of how the extra hour will be treated.
If an employee's hourly rate is at or near the rate of the national minimum wage, the employer must ensure that working an extra hour does not bring his or her pay below the national minimum wage rate for the relevant reference period. This may require the employer to make an additional payment to the employee.
Employers should also ensure that the extra hour worked does not lead to a breach of the applicable rules on working time, for example by resulting in the worker working more than an eight-hour night shift on average, where this restriction applies.
Employers may decide to pay hourly-paid employees for the extra hour, or to allow employees to leave an hour early by the clock, regardless of their statutory obligations. This may then become a contractual obligation, through custom and practice.
Similarly, in the absence of any contractual provision, it is for employers to decide how to treat pay and working hours for night workers when the clocks go forward again in March.