Can my employer change my hours?

I have worked for 24 years for my employer. The last 13 years have been flexible working, but on a fixed shift pattern of 5pm to 3am averaging 30 hrs per week to cover childcare. I have never had to ring in for an emergency day off and have always been there during the busiest times. Last year there was a major change within the resource management side who changed many of the full-time workers’ shift patterns.

This has resulted in chaos; there are staff shortages for each shift, and loads of overtime being given & often forced. We still have the same number of staff, but the managers don’t appear to be managing. They have now said that my established shift doesn’t meet the work demand, which I dispute as they have recently changed some afternoon workers to my shift pattern to cover shortages. Can I tell them to leave me alone?

Working Late


The initial step is to refer back to your contract to check if it includes wording to the effect that your employer has the right to change your shift pattern or hours of work.

If such a term is not included within your contract, your employer cannot unilaterally change the terms of your contract concerning your working hours without your consent.

If they do, then they would be in breach and you would have a legitimate case to put to them that they are not contractually entitled to change your hours. If they push forward regardless of this, and you are forced to terminate your employment as a result, you may have grounds to pursue a claim for unfair constructive dismissal.

Your employer may be entitled to terminate your existing contractual arrangement by giving you the appropriate notice set out in your contract and offering you new employment on the new shift pattern.

However, they would be expected to fully consult with you before doing this and you may still have grounds to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal, particularly if you can establish your employers have acted unreasonably.

Even if your written contract states that they have a right to change your shift pattern or working hours, the fact that you have worked fixed hours for a lengthy period of time would mean that you would be entitled to being consulted before any changes were imposed.

Otherwise, your employers may be in breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, which would again give you grounds to pursue a claim for unfair constructive dismissal.

As you have stated that your shift patterns have been agreed in order to suit your childcare responsibilities, if the new proposed hours have a detrimental impact on this, you may also have a claim for indirect sex discrimination unless your employer can objectively justify the changes.

Before you take any further steps, I would recommend that you seek initial legal advice where a more detailed discussion can take place.

Comments [111]

  • Jackie Maynard says:

    I have a contract that states I work 20 hours per week flexible to meet the demands of the department. I tend to stick to the same hours every week working 5 hours over 4 days. Due to a condition I suffer with I occasionally am unable to get into work for odd days. Is it acceptable that I then swop my working days round so that the day I am not very well is my day off?

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Hi Jackie,
      You would have to negotiate this with your employer and make a good case for why this would work well for the business, ie you would not have to take the time off sick and would ensure the work was done.

  • mick says:

    my company has 2 warehouses and 1 is shutting down they said all the work would be put in the main warehouse where I’ve worked for 11 years, we had consultations due to job losses I was offered a job in the main warehouse, now because they haven’t shut the other warehouse just yet but would be closed in 2 months time. they want me to do my 28 day trial on new hours in the other warehouse. can I refuse to do this and wait till it moves to the main warehouse and do my trial then?

    • Mandy Garner

      Mandy Garner says:

      Can you explain a little more? During the consultations did you raise your concerns about the trial? If so, what was the response? Is the reason you don’t want to do your trial there because of distance and travel time? Can you also clarify that your normal place of work is the main warehouse and you are being asked to transfer temporarily to the other warehouse? Does your original contract say anything enabling your organisation to change your location of work?
      Best wishes.

      • mick says:

        there was no concerns during consultations because it should of all been moved to the main warehouse before my trial started 1st September, reason I don’t want the trial in the other warehouse is the layout and the job in the future isn’t in that warehouse so why do I need to learn the layout in there if its not staying there, my normal place of work is the main warehouse (11 years). yes original contract says they can change my location of work. thank you for your speedy reply.

  • joanne isherwood says:

    I have been in my current job working monday to friday 9-5pm during this time i have been forced to move to various departments for the needs of the business always staying on the same hours and times due to being a single mum and a carer for my parents and grandparent today i have been told i am being moved again and was told my hours would remain the same but i have been given a letter to sign stating i will be on a rolling shift 7 days a week from 8am -9 pm working 38.75 hours a week can they make me sign it.

  • Corinne says:

    Hi I have worked at a children’s home for 4 months now my contract stated 37 hours as of March everyone’s hours were cut as the director is trying to save money. Now I had to ring working tax an say I’m doing 20 hrs a week. Because for 3 months my hours were dropping. When staff are on weekends the directors son covers the shift. So when a child is on contact you as staff are not needed this is told to you by text so you lose a shift. The people who own the company save money when they cover shifts now is that right. They have also not made reasonable adjustments as I’m diabetic and epileptic. Also I have been on probation for 4 months no adequate training new staff arrived within a month they are off probation I feel like I’m being discriminated against when I express my views and this is distressing me and triggering my seizures.

  • Bianka says:

    I have been working for the same company same department for past 16 1/2 years. For past 12 years I had a set schedule from 8:30-5pm with 30 min lunch. The day I returned to work after my maturity leave it was advised that I have to change my schedule to 8-5pm. I am a single mother of 3 kids and I am unable to start any sooner then my 8:30 schedule as I can’t leave my 5 year old at school by herself. I have written letter explaining my situation and even did time study showing what I have to do to drop off my 3 kids in different schools and day care as my kids are 17yrs 5 years and 9 month of age. I was met temporarily half way and did about 2 months 8:15 -2pm which still does not help out a lot as I have to speed, run red lights just to make it on that time and still have hard time. I was advised that it was business needs. I have offered to work 8:30 to 5:300 but was denied. My situation has not been fixed. Now I am subject to a write up.

  • Joanne says:

    Hi, I have been in my current job for 6 mths and have been working 4 full days, I agreed this in my interview as a condition of me accepting the job. Now my manager has said I have to work 5 days and that my working 4 days is not in my contract.
    Can they do this?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, i Have worked for the same company for almost 9 years, where we work shifts They could start as early as 6 and finish as late ad 22.00, Since i had my daughter 3 years ago i Have been working monday and tuesday 9 to 5 so I can take my daughter to nursery, and wednesday to friday 14 to 22 where my partner would Have her but my contact was never changed, Now i am being told i am not flexible enough becaues i can not do earlys becaues i Have no one else to look after my daughter until my partner finishes work can They change my hours back to fully flex.

  • Karen Mowle says:

    I work full time in a factory from 8am until 5pm
    Myself and fellow work colleagues have been asked to volunteer to change our working hours from 8-5 until 9-6.
    We have all declined,
    My question is can we be forced to change ?

  • John says:

    Hi I am a hgv driver who works a 5 over 7 rota in my work. Recently my ex has told me I can only have my kids at weekends as my rota pattern is not giving her set days so she can find work herself ( which I understand ) I like this job and don’t want to leave. I’m just wondering what my rights are and how I go about getting my contract changed so I only work mon – fri. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks

  • Caroline says:

    Basically I work in retail and am contracted to a small 7.75 hours per week. The company give out small contracts and hope that all hours needed will be taken in overtime.
    I’ve worked for 5 years for the company and though always worked Boxing Day I have never been asked to or told we have to work the following day (27th). New manager this year tells me ‘to meet the needs of the business’ all staff have to work allcheistmas hours that are given. I have been back 8 months following my maternity leave and obviously have young children. I have no childcare other than my specified contracted hours. Can I be forced to work ‘to meet the needs of the business’?

  • Chris h says:

    I work for a police force. I recently changed roles after being offered another job in a different department – but with the same pay, hours and shift allowances. After two months in the role they have now said that they want to change my hours so that I won’t be on shifts or weekends and will lose 34% of my salary due to this. I have had no contract as yet with the original terms and conditions. Can they do this? Is there a time frame that they cannot change someone’s contract after offering them a position? Could I go through a tribunal after they offered me the position on those terms and conditions, but now say they can’t offer them?

  • daniel says:

    Hi. I am working in the company for more then 3 years. I am on a 6hours contract. For the last 3-4months I was working only Sundays as this was my only day of availability this was also agreed with the management in the past. My manager now wants me to work different days, those that I am not available. What should I do in this situation. ?

  • anonomous says:

    I have to work rotational shifts finishing at 4pm..4.30pm..5m. ..5.30pm…6pm and 9pm on a rotation.. colleagues have flexible working and leave at 4 due to childcare…They now want to stay on and do overtime at time and a half after 4pm and double time for sat and Sunday while I have so stay until 9pm and after 4 to cover the business need…surely if your colleagues have to work until 9 more times because you can’t work it…y9u don’t get the option of overtime …sometimes I cannot get overtime as the flexible workers have booked it all

  • jsa says:

    I work on a 4 day on 4day off basis at night. Ive done this for the last 5years, i’ve just been told by phone call that i now have to work a permanent 4days on and 3days off starting in 8days time This results in an increase in my hours and a change of shift pattern. I had holidays prebooked till August with the company now some of my holidays booked off on what would be a working day become a holiday off on a rest day.
    Ive had no written letter or consultation regarding the permanent shift and hours change.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been tupe over to a new company which starts on the 1st April. They want to change my hours to include weekends. I am a single parent to 3 children youngest is 19 months. I have no childcare for weekends do I need to do these weekend hours?

    Editor: Does your current contract allow for changes in hours? See

  • Anonymous says:

    I told my boss if he could change my shift night to morning and he told me no that's it my job can he do that then I i got 8 month working and he haven't gave me a raise.

    Editor: If you want to change your shift you would have to negotiate with your employer and they would not have to change it – see

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes they will pay the same and no increased.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello I work on 8 hours shift Monday to Friday. Company want change to 12 hours 4 on 4 off with this same hourly rate it's a legal or the shut bring up salary.Thank You.

    Editor: Do you mean they would pay you the same per hour as before so you would get an increased salary or the same for doing 12 hours as you did for 8?

  • Anonymous says:

    i have worked for the same company for many years and for the last ten years done the same early shift, during that time l suffered ulcerated colitis resulting in my full colon being removed. l now have a j.pouch which l have built my life around it. l have been in the same routine and now they want to change my work pattern which will totally distrupt me. Can you advise please. Many Thanks

    Editor: You need to provide more information eg will the new shift pattern impact on your health in some way, eg, is it night shifts for which a health assessment must be done? Is there any clause in your contract that says your hours can be changed due to the needs of the business [see above answer]?

  • Anonymous says:

    i work in a residential home and we usually have contracted wake night staffs. a new manager has stepped in and most night staffs resigned from their job. Now the new manager said that she is not going to employ wake night staffs, meaning that all day staffs MUST do wake night shift by force. this has affected me because i can't do wake nights. it destroys my immune system. My fear is that the manager might plan a constructive dismissal for me if i refuse to do wake night. Please advice.

    Editor: What does it say in your contract about changing your shifts? If it does not say this can be done for business reasons or a similar phrase, you would need to be fully consulted and your agreement obtained to change your shifts – see Also for night shifts you will have to do a health assessment where you can discuss your health issues and should be offered suitable other work if they are unable to work nights – see You cannot be discriminated against for refusing to work nights.

  • Anonymous says:

    We have worked for years on a rotating pattern, 7-3 one week then 3-11 the following. Now the company wants to impose a rotational 12hr shift pattern which they claim is for business needs. They have not supplied any information and effectively have not explained what those business needs are and furthermore want us to switch on a fixed date while threatening consequences should we delay the process. How much notice are we legally entitled to in view of this change. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Editor: Do you have any clause in your contract which allows your employer to change your hours for business needs, etc? They should still consult with you on any changes and the reasons behind them, but if you do not have this clause your employer would need to try and get your agreement to the changes before going ahead with them – see Does your contract say anything about notice period with regard to changing shifts? The standard is 28 days' notice from when they write to inform you of the changes.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been on days for two years and now they want me to go back on shifts can I say no to this?

    Editor: See

  • Anonymous says:

    My employers requested voluntary redundancies, i sat tight based on my 1.1 consultation and the shift pattern being similar to my current 6-2 2-10. The day after requests closed they put out the new shift pattern, instead of 6-2 2-10 it is now a four shift rota and another two at a different site on a 3 month rota.. Had the new shifts been put out ahead of the VR closing date i would have requested redundancy. I enquired at a meeting about flexible working but was told "it has no place in the business plan". I have asked for minutes to that meeting but not had a reply. I have three children at home two of which would now need to go into full time childcare based on these new hours some days until 8pm. Not only will it put me in financial hardship to continue these shifts may mean my partner having to give up work so i can get across site *which is in my nhs contract* as the cost of childcare and taxi/train fares would cripple us.
    Do i have any rights to request redundancy after the closing date? Do i have any rights to demand redeployment over slotting into this new role and shift pattern. I am dyslexic and thenew job is 90% admin which i know i will struggle with my current role is 40% admin

    Editor: The consultation should have included the change of shift patterns plus given you a chance to express any concerns about the nature of the new job. It sounds as if it is more than the hours you work that are changing. Did you agree to the change in your job description as part of the consultation? 

  • Anonymous says:

    My ex partner and I have had mutually agreed child contact arrangements for 6years accomodating the tues-sat shift pattern that he has worked for over 15years. He has contact on his set days off work, Sundays and Monday's with our 8yr old) He has told me his employer is changing his working week to Sun-Thurs which is the shift pattern I work tailored around our child arrangements. Is there anything he can do to continue working his usual pattern as this will impact upon our daughters time with her father and I will have to request a change to my flexible working arrangements yet again! (We work for the same company).

    Editor: What does his contract say about changes to shift patterns – see He could put in a flexible working request or try to negotiate with his employer to find a compromise.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi.I have worked for the NHS on the same ward for twenty five years. For twenty one years part time,two nights a week. My employers now wants me to do rotation and work days. I have a three year old & am a single mum. I also travel a seventy mile didtance to get to work, as I moved away over a year ago. I haven't Been officially told yet, just pre warned that I'll be receiving my official notice by the end of the week. I feel i do not want to make changes,as in flexible working, as these only cover me on a temporay time scale of one year. The changes if implemented would mean I would have to leave, as working day shifts would increase my travelling times & not make it financially viable to continue. The impact on my three year is not even a consideration for accepting the change.
    Is there anything I can do about this?

    Editor: You should be consulted on these changes and you can raise your concerns during this process – see Your employer can force them through if there is a good business reason for doing so or fire you and seek to rehire you on the new terms. You could then claim unfair dismissal. The best way would be to find a compromise. You could also put in a flexible working claim to get shifts that work for your childcare, etc. This, if accepted, would be a permanent change to your terms and conditions.

  • Anonymous says:

    My contract of employment states I have to work 24 hours per week which can be 4 days from 7 or changed to suit the needs of the business. I have opted out of Sunday working and now am being made to work every Saturday I am not happy with this but if I leave could I claim constructive dismissal?

    Editor: If your contract allows for your employer to do this and they can justify for business needs – eg if Saturdays are busiest, it would make it difficult to claim constructive dismissal. 

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked Monday-Thursday and have Friday's off which is a non-contractual day and if a bank holiday falls on a Friday I do not get paid for the bank holiday, but now my employer is requesting me to be on call on bank hols and will put me back in the hat for on call if a bank holiday falls on a Friday. I have been there over 14 years and I have worked 4 days per week since the year 2005. I have not agreed to-do these Friday's so how can they put me back in a hat? Also I have childcare on Friday's.
    Please advise, thank you.

    Editor: Does your contract say your hours can vary? If not, your employer would have to consult you on any changes to your contract – see

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked within a hospital which is part of TUPE, The service was taken over by a new company in April 2014 i have worked within this team since Dec 2009 – within this time shift patterns have changed looking compressed working hours have been introduced (long days on a weekend with no extra pay and late night working with no extra pay) to meet the needs of the service although there is no mention of this in my contract it literally states (Below)
    Your hours are those required to carry out your duties to the satisfaction of the company and as necessitated by the needs of the business.

    I currently work a 4 on 4 off based rota which equals 2 early shifts 8am-8pm and 2 late shifts 12-12 every other week alternating to 1 half a shift within the 4 days of working.

    My partner may be getting a new job working away which would mean he would be away mon-fri, and i would struggle to work until midnight due to there being no one at home with my 2 children (3 & 10 year old). I could still work the 8am-8pm shift but any later than this i would struggle with.

    I have been asked to write a Flexible Working Request but i am starting to panic due to my TUPE. Basically i have been told there isn't much protection on my old contract as the company doesn't really exist anymore so do this mean i could be out of a job?

    Editor: You would still have a right to apply for flexible working and to change your terms and conditions so put in a request. If they turn it down for legitimate business reasons – see - you should still be able to return to your original position.

  • Anonymous says:

    hi thanks for reply my contract says Monday to Friday 7.30-11am and 1 in 4 Sunday . When I did week 4 and worked Sunday I had the Wednesday off as I am contracted to 17.5 hours a week . Now I have given them 3 months notice to opt out of Sunday's they are saying on week 4 I if I don't work Sunday then I can't have Wednesday off but they want to cut the 3.5 hours I would have done Sunday off my hours the other weeks I work like 1 hour week 1 and so on. I have said I don't want this I want a full day not in bits here and there. Also I get 25 days annual leave a year plus bank holidays so I want to book my holidays on week 4 so I only use 4 days of my annual leave my manager is saying he will not allow this but they have already done so with the supervisor and she cut her hours by5.5 a week and has every Friday off

    Editor: Have you asked for the reduction in hours under flexible working legislation? They would then have to justify the refusal to let you have one full day off instead of reducing your hours on other days – see

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi I have opted out of Sunday working but they will cut my hours by 3and a half which is what I would do on a Sunday . We work a 4 week rota and on week 4 which was my Sunday to work I would get Wednesday off as I only work 5 days a week . I have requested my holidays most are for week 4 so I only use four days as the Wednesday is a day off . Now my manager is saying if I opt out of Sunday I can't have that day off that week but to cut the hours off my work he wants to cut week 1 by an hour and so on do I have to agree to this . Not long ago my supervisor cut her hours but she by a day and she now only does 4 days a week

    Editor: Just to clarify: are they saying if you take leave you have to cut your hours over the preceding weeks to cover the Weds? Have they given any justification for this and is this something that they envisage enforcing every time you take leave in week 4? As you work irregular hours your annual leave would be calculated in hours. Full time workers are entitled to at least 28 days a year leave, which may or may not include bank holidays. They do not have to be given as extra. However, if they are given as extra to full timers then part timers should get a pro rata of them. You can calculate your holiday entitlement here -

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi i have been employed in a primary school as a mid-Day supervisor i have been there for two years working in the dining area to be told by the secretary i have to let you know that i have to do my supervision outside in the playground i was not consulted or informed of the change i have no first aid skills this is a fixed term contract it states in my contract you are employed in more than one post i think this is not the right way to drop a bomb like that at leaast she could have the decency to notify me of the sudden change she stated it had nothing to do with her but a male teacher does he have the right to make drastic changes i dont think so this happen today the 23rd of february as i got into work after the half term

    Editor: Could you specify a bit more what it says in your contract about doing more than one post? Does this mean that the role you have been asked to do is covered in this description? If it is written in your contract that you should cover this post then it is not a change in your terms and conditions so you would not have to be consulted over it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been in my job for 5 1/2 years on a flexible rota. I recently accepted a promotion, but to do so I was required to drop my hours from 40 to 32 hours a week. I informed my manager at the time that I would have to take a 2nd job and then a few weeks later I informed her that I had now gotten that 2nd job. I am fairly flexible with my hours with the 2nd job and can for the most part fit it about the rota that my manager produces. However, I have some training coming up for my 2nd job that is not at all flexible. It is booked and paid for. When she was producing next months rota, she asked me whether I definitely needed the time off and I told her that I did. She produced a rota which worked for me but she then changed it the next day and she had put me on one of the days I can't do. I spoke to her immediately and she said there was no one else to cover it and I said that there is no way I can either but she is insisting. There are other members of staff with a 2nd job and she would not ask them to work when they are at their other job. Is it legal for her to do this?

    Editor: Is there really no-one else who can cover? Can you find a compromise? It is a bit short-sighted of your manager as you could, for instance, be sick on this day in any event.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi. Not sure if u can help, my partners job requires periodically lodging away from home, I have evening employment as we can't afford child care, & my work have been really flexible & let me have off the time when my partners lodged as either holiday or unpaid, but now my partners work have said he's got to lodge once a month 4 a week at a time, it does say in his contract that he will lodge but now they've upped it & just expects them to 2 able 2 do it, but now it affect my employment do we have any rights as a family?

    Editor: What does it say in his contract about lodging? Does it specify how many days he should do this? Does it say occasionally or regularly? How long has the previous schedule been in place?

  • Anonymous says:

    I work in a factory. My working hours are 7-3 a and 3-11 Monday to Friday. My company are now looking to include weekends into our rota as they were successful in getting new products.
    They say they have the right to change our working rota if its required for the good of the company.
    However I don't see an actual requirement as they are still working normally during our working hours.
    Instead of employing part-time workers to cover the weekend they want us to do it. Therefore we only get a weekend off every 6 weeks or so.
    They also paid us before to stop working on Sunday and work Monday to Friday.

    Editor: What does it say in your contract? Does it specify the number of hours you are contracted to work? If so, any increase in these hours would be a change to your terms and conditions and you would need to be consulted – see

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi I work from 4pm- 8pm I have done so for a year now my contract states I'm contracted to hours and they have the right to change but doesn't state how much notice they need to give me can you help with this information if I don't change my shift to 9-1 I won't have a job but I have 2 children 1 at school and 1 at nursery in the afternoon so don't have childcare for this shift

    Editor: The best thing you can do is file a flexible work request to try and get the shifts you want for childcare reasons.

  • Anonymous says:

    My contract was changed a few months ago , for the needs of the buisness , I'm contracted for 12 hrs tht didn't change just the days . So since then I've been working the changed days . But now somone has left they keep changing my day to cover the person who left . But I now look after my grand daughter on my days I'm not at work . The manager who has returned after matt leave will only do her days and hours no extra to help our department run smoothly , she will change me . And changing me bck to the days I used to do before they changed my shifts My contract does say be available 5 out of 7 days and shifts are shift can be varied . But I have my grand on same days every week as they have no one else . And does it mean my 12 hours I have to be available to change . Or more . II've starting apply for other jobs cause it's affecting me health wise .

    Editor: If your contract says your hours can change, your only option would be to file a request for flexible working and ask for the day you look after your granddaughter to be fixed as one that you have off.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was TUPE'd from one company to another on 1st Dec 2014. I currently work Mon to Fri 6am to 6pm. I have had my first consultaion today and the new company is proposing cutting my 12 hour days to 10, which is 10 hours a week etc etc. My contract from my previous employer states 48+ hours a week. I have read on numerous sites that if I do not agree to my contract being changed they can dismiss me, reinstate me without loss of work and put me on their contract regardless,with me open to sue for unfair dismissal. Please clarify this is correct, thank you.

    Editor: Your rights are protected under TUPE, but it is unclear what the reason for the change in terms and conditions might be here so you need to provide more information – see

  • Anonymous says:

    I am working and not being set my shifts for the week until 2 days before the week actually begins, is this legal or can I take action? I believe it is unfair I cannot plan my weeks in advance.

    Editor: What does it say in your contract? The law only states that employers must allow 'reasonable' notice of shift changes – see

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked for a company now for 6 years on a bank contract. When I started there they told me they need me for 18 hours a week Tue wed and Thursdays taking over from someone on sick leave but when that person did not come back I continue working there but we never change the contract. Now we have new management wanting staff to work in the weekends and have time off in week,but does not suit me. If you bank staff and has work this long for the company with your 18hour a week surely they can't just take your hour away. Is there due to the years and same days I worked for them not a rule where I became a employee and not just a casual worker even when I still have a bank contract.Now that I cant work weekends they want to take 2 weeks hours a way from me. Advice please

    Editor: After 12 weeks you do have the same rights as permanent staff, but if your contract specifies that your hours can vary then your employer can change these – see

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I'm working for company over 2 years, I'm returning to work after maternity leave in a month time, before I went I was working part time 24h a week every other weekend 12 hour shift and Wednesday,Thursday 12h shift however the shift pattern have changed and employer is asking me to do every weekend which doesn't suit me, they brought new staff who is working monday-friday and his hours suit me more however I would come back to those shifts before I went on maternity if I would be given opportunity but employer said those shifts doesn't exist any more. What can I do, do I have to take those weekends invent they doesn't suit me?The employer doesn't want give me mornings as that would suit me too as the new member of staff has it. They offer me afternoons or every weekend, the afternoons doesn't suit me either. Please advice me something

    Editor: What does your contract state about whether they can vary your shift pattern? – see If your contract allows for a change in your shift pattern, you could file a request for flexible working to fit with the shift that would work for you. Your employer would then have only eight grounds on which they could turn you down and would have to show that they had given your request due consideration. They would also have to ensure that any shift you were asked to work was not discriminatory due to childcare issues.

  • Anonymous says:

    Good Afternoon I was wondering if you you advise me on this matter in reagrding my work pattern please, i have worked in the same place, same hrs sun- thurs for 18 yrs on a late shift we got taken over by a company 2 yrs ago but we was covered by TUPE regulations. Now he wants to change my rota so when I take leave on a sunday he changes my rosta so it is a pass day and doesn't have to pay twice. My contract states that I work 5 in 7 days are they allowed to do that or are they chancing their arm? just that i have 17yrs of rotas and payslips, please advisein best possible way thank you

    Editor: Can you explain a bit more? Are they not allowing you to take your full annual leave?

  • Anonymous says:

    Can my employer make me move from nights and offer me days as they are closing nights down would this be unfair dismissal or do they need to make me redundent or can they do this as they are offering me other work to keep me employed.

    Editor: What does it say in your contract about whether your shifts can be changed? See If it says nothing in your contract about changing shifts, you have a right to be consulted. Your employer can choose to dismiss you and rehire you on the new terms, but they would open themselves up to a claim of unfair dismissal if you have over two years' service.

  • Anonymous says:

    I work 2nd shift at my job and my car broke down and I'm depending on people to bring me in but I have a better chance of getting here on the 1st shift and the shift I'd available. What should I put for reason for shift change on the paper.

    Editor: You need to explain this a bit more. Can you not tell your manager your car broke down?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been working for a theatre for 2 years, the contract is a casual one whereby we are not guarenteed shifts, however we are required to put down 4 shifts a week when there is a show. In september last years, imapplied and was sucessful after interview in becoming a supervisor. There are 9 other supervisors although none of those apart from one other has ever applied and been interviewed, they have all been given the role without interview. I wondered if the fact that we had applied and been through an interview process should mean that as we get shifts over the others as our role is defined as supervisor due to applying and being interviewed?

    Editor: I don't think this would give you any additional rights as it sounds as if the others are just internal promotion. However, you could apply for the hours you want through flexible working legislation.

  • Anonymous says:

    hello iv been working for 8 years at this place doing 7am to 330pm and now thay want to make me do one week 6am to 230pm then next week do 2pm to 10pm and he say do it or get a nother job well wat rights have I got to say no plzz help me and when we do 2pm to 10 pm we get Friday off and he pays us for it but don't when we work 6am to 230pm we have to do full Monday to Friday then we have to next week do 2pm to 10pm and like I say get Friday of and payers still for it

    Editor: What does it say in your contract about varying your hours?

  • Anonymous says:

    I went into work for a night shift only to be told I was off can they change the rota without telling me it took me snap hour and a half to get there and same back thanks

    Editor: You should be given "reasonable" warning of changes to shifts – see - so it is definitely worth drawing your manager's attention to this.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked for my company for a little over 2 years. Firstly as a warehouse supervisor(approx 14months) and my contract stated rotating shift 0600-1400, 1400-2200 and 2200-0600. We never rotated onto nights instead only doing the first 2 shifts due to business request. I then got a promotion around 11-12 months ago however I never got a new written contract. Around this time I was asked to do a perm 0730-1530 shift which I have been doing for around 10-11months.
    I handed my notice in on 24/12 with final leaving date of 30/01. They have requested yesterday(07/01) that I now do a 0830-1700 shift for my remaining time. Not only is this an increase in hours but I have not had any significant notice.
    I do not have childcare issues as such and could, at my own cost, sort these for the few days I would need to. I do not, however, feel that this is justifiable for business needs as we are quiet now and at our peak a move like this was not requested.
    It is in my contract that they can change my hours, however it does state for business needs such as emergency production. What is the minimum notice period they should give me for a shift change request? Could they insist that I revert back to rotating 0600-1400 1400-2200 for the last few weeks as this is the only contract I have?

    Editor: Lawyer Louise Paull from has responded: When you were asked to change to a permanent 0730-1530 shift, unless anything else was agreed at the time, it sounds like it was a change to your contracted hours even though you were not given a new written contract. If your employer wants to change your hours (including asking you to work your original shift pattern), you would need to agree to the change. If you don’t agree to the change, your employer would need to formally consult with you to get your agreement. If you don’t agree, your employer can end your employment by giving you the notice in your contract, but this is all likely to take longer than the remaining weeks you have given that you have resigned and your employment is ending at the end of January.

  • Anonymous says:

    i received a phone call offering me the job which would be 21 hrs 4-10,when I went to the induction they had changed it to 24hrs at 3.30-11.00,if this had been offered to me initially I would have turned it down and stayed in my old job,have I the right to insist on the first offer.

    Editor: The following answer should help you –

  • Anonymous says:

    I have did two night shifts for 14 weeks is this shift legally mine as I want to put in for holiday.

    Editor: What does it say in your contract? You would have to provide more information.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi I was working night shift 3.5years.I was handed letter about change go back to days.But due to commitments to family I can not work days.No one spoken to me before make an decision.I drop off my daughter to school at 9 am,and then pick her up at 15:30.My partner is working days including weekends.She is not driving I have to drop off/pick my daughter from school because of distance.Employer moved just me in my department,second person retired.6 person of staff left at which started nights couple months ago.My manager said they need my skills at days-but they offer a new position -where I will use just one skill of 10or more.My life is set about nights.They offer just flexible hours.I can work from 9:30-14:30 what gave me 25 hours per week.even with 39hours I can not affort live for these money.I am looking for a new night shift.I know they could do so but according to info at this website-they should consult before decission!is it right?

    Editor: If you have worked the same shift pattern for a number of years, you should be consulted on any changes – see

  • Anonymous says:

    I work 9-5 mon fri. My work gave me 6 weeks notice that the hours were changing from 8:30-6 my day care closes before that time. They told me no exceptions I will have to work those hours can they do that or I have to quit my job.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi,I work on a six week set rota. mostly nightshifts and weekend shifts. This year as the rota stands I would be of over Christmas and on shift on new years eve. Which suited me fine as I will be alone New years eve and have my children home at Christmas.I also worked last Christmas which was hard for my children as they spend most of it alone-we have no further relatives here-.I was though told that I would not have to work Christmas eve or Christmas day this year,Now about a week ago my employer swapped my new years eve shift to Christmas day without my consent to suit my colleague who wants Christmas of though she did not work over Christmas last year.I have tried to speak to my employer about it and explained that I want to spend Christmas with my children this year as I did my bit last year.My employer refuses to take my situation/feelings in to account and told me to speak to my colleague who will not change her mind?What can I do?Because all my Christmas plans are disrupted and my children face an other Christmas mostly spend alone.It just does not seem fair to me.And it is not the first time shifts are swapped,changed without consent or asking, thanks

    Editor: It would depend on what is written in your contract with regard to whether your shifts can be varied without consultation.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi all I am on a 12 shift rota, 4 days, 3 nights 7-7. My employer wants to change the shift pattern to on a Sunday at 3am we start and finish at 9am. And then start the next shift 3 days later at 12.30 to 7pm. Also we work on a 4 week rotating rota, where we get 2 weekend on and 2 off the Sunday which we come in at 3am is one of the weekender s which we are supposed to be off making it so we are working 3 out of 4 weekends. Is this legally allowed or a breach of contract as when I applied for this job it clearly stat that I would be on a 12 hour rotating shift contract

    Editor: Does your contract specify a 12-hour rotating shift and does it say this can be subject to change or anything similar? The following answer should help you -

  • Anonymous says:

    Have worked as government employee for 38 years on day shift
    Now management want to change me to shifts off four on and four off starting at different times
    Plus a night shift
    I don't feel that I will be able to cope with this
    Where do I stand legally

    Editor: Your employer cannot change your shifts unilaterally. They need to consult with you and you can talk about your concerns here and see what you can negotiate – see

  • Anonymous says:

    My company announced on 28th November that they would be changes to our working ways to stay opened that they will be 30 voluntary redundant to go on 9th jan and then 172 compulsory later on and change ours shift patterns to 12hrs shifts over 7 day week and 363 days a yearwhich will be 3days on and 3 days off and then 3 nights on. I've put in for my VR which we been told they will pick and choose to let go because of skills and absentee, which I think it's unfair because I have the skill and good time keeping can they do that.. Also they are young worker mums with young children who can do these shifts as we work partime and the hours we do at the moment suits our needs please can you us some advice this is worrying times..

    Editor: If they want to change your terms and conditions they have to consult and get your agreement – Do you have any union representation as it would be a good idea to get them involved? The selection criteria for voluntary redundancy should be outlined as it appears to have been and may be designed to ensure the best staff are not encouraged to leave.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have working on a camp site for 7 years working 4 midweek days now a new board of directors have taken over and have told me I now have to work 6 days a week including Saturdays and bank holidays,which in the past have never had to do, am I right to refuse or can they force this upon me.

    Editor: What does your contract say about changing your hours? You could argue that having done this shift for seven years it is now custom and practice and you would have to be consulted about any change to your terms and conditions. See

  • Anonymous says:

    I work Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday my shifts vary between 7am & 6pm. I have worked these days for nearly 7years now these days suit my chilcare needs but my employer is now looking to change my days to minim, Thursday and Friday…..can this be done? I am contracted to 24hours but unfortunately my days are not specified in my contract. I cannot work the days suggested due to child are and school journeys.
    Can work insist on changing my days when they are not suitable for myself.

  • Anonymous says:

    Im working in company already 6 years. Few years ago they canceled 'overtime' payments, so every overtime hour is now standar hour rate. When im saying to my managers i dont wanna stay to overtime because of that(they always pleasing to stay, but im leaving because have my own plans after work and the standart rate for overtime looks silly for me).. on the next day they saying me nearly alway that they gonna change my shift because nobody can cover me after my shift end for company goods. My shift currently is from 08:00-16:30, they saying they gonna change it to 10:00-18:30.. can they realy do that?

    From my opinion im forced to stay onovertimes to keep my shift. So that means cant go home after my shift finishes (and that means cant make plans, because theyre bussines needs should be primary for me)..

    Editor: What does your contract say about changing your shift? See

  • Anonymous says:


    I work for an assistance company that operates 24/7. For "business reasons" my annual hours contract is changing to a standard one which isn't a problem but I have been asked to move from 4 shifts a week to 5 (extra shift/same amount of hours) and also potentially start earlier and finish later (as early as 7am and as late as 0930)

    I have been working 4 out of 7 shift pattern for about 10 years and working an extra shift is going to increase my commute costs and mean I will see less of dad who is elderly and infirm.

    Does having worked this way for such a long period effectively cement this 4 day a week in my contract? Can I refuse to do the extra day? Would I be entitled to redundancy if they decide to terminate my contract?

    Editor: Can you write via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box and provide more details, eg, does your contract say your shifts are subject to change?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been working a shift which was verbally agreed upon by my managers for about 4/5 months… My manager recently just decided out of the blue he is no longer allowing those shifts… I have a 5year old and my mum has Parkinsons so it helps me look after my child and my mum… When questioning it he said no one can do that shift but others are still working that shift, can my working hours which were agreed verbally be terminated if I have been working it longer than 4 months? Please help Many thank you

    Editor: It depends on what your contract says about whether your hours can be changed. See

  • Anonymous says:


    I have worked in a care home for 5 years. i was on a full time contract and i changed it to part time in a letter before i returned to work, this was all agreed and i work two early shifts tuesday and thursday each week.
    we now have a new manager which is trying to change hours, and make me try and do shifts i can not do due to childcare arangements i already have. Shes basically saying i have to do a letter, and if its not excepted that they can get rid of me by redundancy. I need advice as to what to do next. I do not think its fair as my times and days were already agreed and i have done this since coming back off matt leave in 2012.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi. Thank you got reply. My contract is on mix shifts 40h it's early or late shift but till now my shifts were always sorted with my husbands rota or it depends who's rota was done first so my husbands boss was doing his rota according to mine or opposite way so one of us is always with our daughter.bit like I said after 3 years my new manager doesn't want to respect that anymore what was agreed with my previous manager.kate

    Editor: The following answer should help you -

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi. I'm working for my employer since 3 years, my manager just change now. Previous manager was always sorting my rota according to my childcare since 3 years. The new one says that they will try but they can't promise anything! Do I have any rights ? They never sign for me anything but that was the only condition from to keep my employment with them. If they won't fit my rota to my child care I wony be able to it custom and practice?thanks for your advice. Kate

    Editor: What does your contract say about whether your shifts are subject to change? Was it agreed verbally that these would be your regular shifts? A verbal agreement is enforceable in law, but you would need to be able to prove it. Could you provide more information via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box?


  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I am currently on maternity leave and have 13 years service with my company working 40 hours PW. I work shifts in a 24 hour business and would like to return part time. Before leaving for my maternity i was working a fairly regular shift pattern with Sundays/Mondays off working nights Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, a day shift on the Friday and a early morning shift on the Saturday. I asked to drop the two early shifts but they responded offering me 2 options. Option 1: Tuesday day shift, Saturday early morning and Sunday night shift. Option 2: Early morning Monday, night shift on Tuesday and a day shift on Sunday allowing me to leave 1 hour early which gives me only 9 & 1/2 hours between shifts on the Sunday/Monday changeover. Must i accept either option? What is my position regarding negotiating a more suitable arrangement to make child care easier?

    Editor: You do not have to accept the alternative. Did they give any reason for turning down your original request? If so, if you think the reasons given are not valid, you can appeal, but it would be a good idea to try to put forward a good business case for the work pattern you want, ie addressing any potential concerns of your employer. You could also suggest a trial period to see how it works to address their concerns.

  • Anonymous says:

    If an employer changes a roster with time off and holidays built in and fixed, can they make you pay hours back if you take time off for a holiday booked before the roster change?

    Editor: It would depend on what it says in your contract about changes to shift patterns.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked for a company for 14 years and for the past 10 years I have work 8am-2pm. My employers are now saying these shift will be altered. Where do I stand with this. Have my 30 hours now become fixed for these times as I have worked them for many years?

    Editor: What does your contract say about changing hours? You would have the right to be consulted on any changes to your terms and conditions – see

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, my husband has worked for his Motor Trade employer for over 10 years on a normal 8am-5pm basis. They have now said that they are changing everyones hours to shifts being 6am-2pm one week and 2pm-10pm the other week.
    We have a young family and he takes over my role later on in the evening when i work.
    Where do we stand, can they do this?
    Thank you

    Editor: What does it say in his contract about his hours? They can only change hours in consultation with staff. However, the provisions on discrimination and childcare would not apply to your husband as, within the legislation, it is still generally assumed that it is the mother who is the primary carer. He could also put in a request for flexible working and should try to make a good business case. Many organisations operate shift systems, but have people in place for core hours – are those still the busiest hours?

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, my husband has been working as a support worker for his employer for 3months now, he hasn't signed a contract yet. He does different shifts every week, so far he has been given his shifts a few weeks in advance. However the last few weeks he's been given his shifts that week and his employer changes his shifts with just 2days notice! Are they allowed to do this? For example; he was told on Sunday he would be off Monday, Friday and Saturday, working 0800-2200 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday and the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then on Tuesday they told him that he's working 0800-2200 Wednesday, has to do a night shift on Thursday 2000-0800 then he's off Friday, Saturday and Sunday then night shift again Monday and Tuesday. We have a 12week old baby who is very demanding and I need to know his shifts so I can arrange things around them, but if they change day to day how are we support to plan anything. Thank you.

    Editor: He should have been given a written contract when he started working which specified his hours and how the shifts would work. Every employee works under a contract, even it if is only what has been agreed verbally – see Were hours every spoken about when he started the job? See also

  • Anonymous says:

    hi ive been working for a cleaning company at a contracted company for 5 years. another manger has taken over last week. he is now saying on friday that he wants me to do 4.45pm
    every day. the previous manager allowed me to go in on a morning and said class it as a flexi job. my contracted hours are 12.30 to 2.15. i have a few cleaning jobs i do a day and i have to be in the one for 4.30. its set hours. the new manager is not willing to move on this and said work around him. can he do this to me and demand that i start it from the next day without any written consulatation

    Editor: What does your contract say about flexibility? If you have set hours, your empoyer cannot alter them without due consultation.

  • Anonymous says:

    My hours are 2 earlys and late earlys 8:30am till 5pm late 12 or 11 till 8:15pm and nkw there want to change the hours to 6am till 4pm and 12 til 12am can there do this?

    Editor: See the answer above. It depends on whether your contract allows for variations of shifts, but they would have to consult.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi there, I am employed by a local authority in Scotland. I work a 37hr week mon-friday however I have been told I am going to have to change to split shifts and 7 days a week. Can they do this?

    Editor: Does your contract say anything about them being able to vary working hours?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been working for a care home for the last 7years i have booked Tuesday the 9th off as holiday and now they are maki g me work Monday night they said if i don't do it i will get a disciplinary and i could loose my job it say in my contract that i work 73hrs over a two week rota then it say that (yours hours of work may vary from week to week depending on the needs of the home. Am i im my rights to say no as Mondays are my day off anyway

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says it would be difficult due to the wording in your contract.


  • Anonymous says:

    i have refused to do a shift that is extra to my contracted hours can i do this ?

    Editor: What does your contract say about overtime?

  • Anonymous says:

    my employer has said that i have had a 1-2-1 meeting to outline the process and review my personal circumstances to amend and change my shift pattern but they did not have any 1-2-1 meeting with me.can they still change my working days without my agreement.

    Editor: see Have you stated the new shift pattern?

  • Anonymous says:

    I've worked regular nights now for nearly a year, will my employers need to change my contract by law to a permanent night shift contract after a year?

    Editor: You could argue that this is a case of custom and practice [see] so it could be said that it has become your contract rather than your employer having to issue a new contract.

  • Anonymous says:

    please i need help
    how can i work a shift rota out for 8 employees
    who can only work 40hrs a week
    there must be 2 on at all times from 0630 – 1230
    and a day off for each member
    please help me

    Editor: Can you provide a few more details? Is this 40 hours in total for all eight employees? Do they all work the same hours? Do they work six days a week? Can they all do any hours between 6,30 and 12.30?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked for my employer for over 5 years, 2 years into the job i decided to opt out of sundays. I done all the appropriate written work and was assured it would be sorted. Now a new manager has started and said that my opting out of sundays was never passed on to HR by my previos manager…. Can he now make me work sundays after so long of not working them?

    Editor: If you have not worked Sundays for over three years then it could be argued that this is now custom and practice and any change would constitute a change to your terms and conditions and would need consultation with you and your agreement.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked for my employer for 12 year on 8 till 4.30 day shift now the company is wanting to enforce a 2 shift pattern and I dobt want this . My contract says my working hra are 4 till 4.20 and dosnt state that my hrs can be changed. Help me please.

    Editor: You should be consulted on any change to your hours and your agreement obtained – see this.

  • Anonymous says:

    My contract stipulates 6 hours per week, Monday to Saturday. When I joined the company in Oct 2012, the hours of business were 9am – 4pm, since then the company has extended its services to 6pm during the week and one night a week (Saturday) until 11.45pm, can I be made to work those hours, if they have only been extended in the last 6 months or so?

    Editor: If your contract does not state that your hours can be varied, you should be consulted on any changes and your agreement obtained.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am/was a pub manager working for this company for 11 years in various positions and last 6 years as manager. I find that the long hours and the stress of the job is stressing me out. I asked area manager if I can be demoted to a shift manager, which would be less stressful and fewer hours but area manager is forcing me to move to a new location 120 miles away as a Shift manager in another pub. What are my rights if I refuse – can he sack me?

    Editor: Did you request this via flexible working legislation? Did you request a demotion at your current location and they have offered the other location miles away? 

  • Anonymous says:

    I am a bank worker sitting in a Rota of 30 hours and have done for 2 yrs can a contracted new staff take my shift and hours and leave me with less hours.

    Editor: What does it say in your contract about changing shifts and about the hours you are employed to work? You would need to be consulted on any reduction to your hours – see

  • Anonymous says:

    l worked as homecare worker.i have worked on double rota for 12 years.l have now been changed on two single rota at one day notice.can they do or can they change me two single rota.

    Editor: The advice above should help you. If you have a more specific question, come back to us via the Advice & Support/Q & A page box.

  • Anonymous says:

    I started a job about 9 months ago I did not get a employment contract but I did get a job offer letter, in the job offer letter id does not state anything about hours of work. when I stated the job a week later my boss states that next week I will be on the night shift when nothing about doing the night shift was ever told to me before I took the job and took a job relocation package which states that if I quit within one year period I will have to pay all the moving expanses back. on the job description it does not say anything about night shift but on other job description for the same company it clearly states night shift or no. I cannot do the night shit due to health reasons can I quit because of them putting me on night shift and would I have to payback the relocation package money. on my job description and job offer letter id does not state anything about night shift or hours of work.

    Editor: Was there any discussion about hours when you took the job?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been working for my employer for nearly 10 years. My since May 2012 have been 9:30-5pm Mon & Fri, 9:30-2:45pm Tues and Weds and on Thursday 12-2:45 and 4-8. These hours have been in place just over 2 years. Now my employer says I need to do longer and later hours. These hours were changed 2 years ago as my now 10 year old's father has moved away up north and rarely has contact anymore.So it's only me that's able to look after my child. My family don't live anywhere newar me to help with childcare. So these hours were agreed with my exployer in May 2012. Do they have the right to change them?

    Editor: Is there anything in your contract where it says your hours can be changed? You should be consulted on any changes to your hours and your agreement should be obtained – see the advice above.


  • Anonymous says:

    i have worked a twilight shift for 14 years can my employer change my shift to nights.

    Editor: What does it say in your contract about whether your employer can change your shifts? You should be consulted – see above advice.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi i have worked for my company for 5 years i work daycare hours which states in my contract tues-fir 9.30 til 4,30 pm. My manager has designed a new rota without speaking to any staff changin my hours and the days i work. She also is saying she is doing a 4 week rota at a time so i wil never have set hours or a set working pattern. I sm a single mom witj a 2yr old child so dont have any other childcare except nursery from tuesday to friday.She has only gave a werks notice of tjese changes. Can she do this?

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been working for a company for about 10 weeks. When I went for the job in the paper it said 8am till 4pm days Thay come to me this week and said from next week I'll be doing 6 till 2 one week the next week 2 till 10 then same again do that have to give notice of doing this plus should that offer me a shift allowance to do shifts.

    Editor: What does it say in your contract about varying the hours you work and about additional payment for shifts?

  • Anonymous says:

    My employer wants to put us on 4 shift system, which some of us don't mind, but shouldnt my pay increase, also have worked for the company for 6 years with no signed contract, how do I stand.

    Editor: Did you agree terms and conditions verbally as this would still count? What would the change of system mean in terms of hours – would they increase – or do you mean because you would be working anti-social hours? You should be consulted on any change to terms and conditions and you could ask about this. Is it company policy to pay more for anti-social hours? You could also ask for a written contract once terms have been agreed – see

  • Anonymous says:

    My employer want to change my shift pattern. I have been working 8-4pm shift for 4 years and because I'm in "rising star" program he said I need to support company and work in rotation shift now 6-2 and 2-10 or even night shift (they gave me 3 options- one rotation and 2 night shifts) I used to work on rotation shift before but when I have changed department my hours have changed as well. I don't want to do this new shift because I got anemia and get tired very quick so its really hard to work till 10pm. For 2 years I'm trying get pregnant and stress doesn't help me. My doctor in hospital is aware that I have a problem and we are working on this. More stress in my case means "no eating" at all which cause of losing weight and problem with pregnancy.
    Could you tell me if there is anything I can do that my employer can't change my shift? I work in this company 8 years.

    Editor: What does it say in your contract about changing your shifts? You should be entitled to consultation on shift changes – see the advice above.

  • Anonymous says:

    i have been working a day shift for 2 years now from 7am to 2330. in this work time window i only do a 8.5 hour shift. My employer now wants me to do a night shift as well which starts from 2300 to 0730. my contract states that i am required to do any shift which includes nights. as i have only done days over two years does that not become your contract?

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says that you would still be bound by the terms of the written contract.

  • Anonymous says:

    i work 4 twelve hours days 4 off then 4 twelve hours nights then 4 off they want to change it for a few weeks to suit them then put it back again can they do this?

    Editor: What does it say about changing shifts in your contract? The above answer should provide the advice you need or see

  • Anonymous says:

    i have been working the same shift pattern for 8 years now it goes 3 earlies 3 lates 3 off then after four blocks of this we do 6 nights the have 4 days off then it starts again .the company i work for plan to bring in a cover shift system which is just awfull and nobody wants it .we have not been consulted on this either . the shift goes like this 3 earlies 3 lates 3 off three cover shifts 3 nights 3 off then starts again. the cover shifts could be an early late or night. we are only going to get 28 days notice as to what the cover shifts will be which makes it very difficult if not impossible to plan child care and home life not to mention holidays
    any advice would be gladly apriciated

    Editor: You should be consulted on any change to your shift pattern. See above answer.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am also my son's carer. Have I got the right to object to my shifts being changed?

    Editor: Check your contract to see if it states that your employer can change your shifts. If nyot, ou have the same rights as above to consultation, etc. How old is your son?

  • Anonymous says:

    3 of my shift have had our hours cut from 160-120 per month and put on a floating shift from a fixed 3pm-11pm…i get a lift with a workmate and do not cannot get there at night.2 of us have been here 9+yrs,and feel helpless…can we do anything? we were told there is no work,but they pay someone 4 hrs overtime during our shift daily..including our work..cheers

    Editor: The advice above about shift changes should help. If you want more specific help please write with full details via our Advice & Support Q & A page box which goes to our employment advisors.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have basically been given one weeks notice to cut my hours by ten per week,which I totally understand and accept for buisness reasons,,the problem I have is that I have been given a ealier start time of 8am which my new manager knows I could not do during school days as
    I have a 10 yr old to take to school and in the past has allowed me to arrive at 9am,then more recently at 9.30 due to complaining by other members of staff who have not liked me since I arrived that due to traffic I was minutes late now and then,,the arrangement for the 9.30 was made in November to give me plenty of time to take my daughter to school and arrive without any more problems about timekeeping,that somehow upset certain members of staff.I have had my hours cut by 10 a week with no consultation,my start work time changed to 8am on a school day which I cannot do due to childcare arrangements,and told if I cannot get in at 8am I should not bother and she will employ somebody else who can,,she knows fully about my child as we've spoken on a few occasions and after nearly 4 years loyal service feel I'm being unfairly treated,,I have till this Thursday to tell her if I can get in at 8am which she fully knows I cannot can you help me.

    Editor: If it was agreed that you should come in at 9.30am then any subsequent change in your hours should be done in consultation with you and with your agreement. Your employer cannot just change or reduce your hours with no consultation. If they dismiss you because they change your hours and you cannot get childcare, they could be liable to claims of unfair dismissal and sex discrimination – see

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked every weekend 8-5 and every Thursday and Friday 9-5 during schooldays,,,during school holidays I come in at 8 as I have a relative to mind my daughter,,I have done this for almost 4 years,,when I have covered annual leave I was told to get in when I can,, recently my times were changed to 9.30 -5.30 as somebody reported me to the new manager ,who I feel doesn't like me ,,I was basically given an instant written warning without any case being investigated,and on two written statements by people who do not like me,,that was back in November,,and we decided I would start at 9.30 to avert any future problems,,,now I've been given an ultimatum of get in regardless of any child commitments at 8am which is not possible without leaving my ten yr old alone at the school gates cat 7.30 am or or my employer will find somebody else who can ,,can they do this??

    Editor: What are your contracted hours, ie the hours you were hired on? Even so, you could argue if you have done the hours stated above for four years that they have become custom and practice and that therefore your employer cannot change them without consulting you and gaining your agreement.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked at the same care home as my boyfriend for the last 3 or more years, a new manager seems to dislike us.recently things got so bad my boyfriend took a transfer to another home within the company,since then my hours have been slashed by 10 hours a week to fit the needs of the home, not only that I have been given an earlier start time of 8am during schooldays which I could not fulfil as I have a ten year old daughter I have to take to school,and my boyfriend has his own work commitments elsewhere in the company. This new manager is fully aware that I cannot arrive on schooldays until around 9am as we have discussed this in the past and it was her who agreed to start me at 9am I've spoken to her informally about the early starting times and she told me if I cannot get in at 8 don't bother and she will employ somebody that can. I have been given just one week's notice ,,,can anybody advise me,,,

    Editor: How long have you been starting at 9am? Unless it states in your contract that your hours can change, you should be consulted on any changes. If your hours have been agreed for childcare purposes you could have a case for sex discrimination unless your employer can objectively justify the changes – see

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been asked to write "how to" instructions for my workplace due to misinformation in the induction period. Now my line manager has said that in this manual I need to write down that when the other person goes off sick or holiday, I automatically have to cover the absence. I have a slight issue with the word "automatically have to", as I might have arranged an appointment that cant be cancelled on my normal time off. In my contract it stipulates 4 hours per day, on 5 out of 7 days. How can I word it so that there is some leeway for appointments made etc. I want to show flexibility, but I also dont want to put myself into a corner. Many Thanks.

    Editor: Our HR expert Sandra Beale says: I would say that she would need to follow her employer’s instructions given that she only works 4 hours per day.  Any pre-arranged appointment would need to be cancelled and re-arranged during her time off.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ive just been informed that my employer is changing the shift pattern for everyone, in the contract it does state that they can do this based on an 8 weeks notice, I work permanent weekend nights due to the fact my daughter lives with me so Im able to get her up for school and be home for when she finishes, this new shift pattern will throw a whole hex on my routine, the same applies to the others who work weekend nights, is there anything I/we can do to prevent this change? also we have been threatened by the HR Manager & Director that if we dont comply, we will be shown the door, can they make that kind of threat?

    Editor: Given that your contract states that your employer can change your hours with due notice, your best recourse, if the proposed new shift impacts on your childcare responsibilities, would be to make a flexible working request to change your hours to fit in with your childcare responsibilities. Your employer would have to follow a set procedure to deal with such a request.

    If your request was refused then your employer would be obliged to objectively justify the reasons for the change in your shift patterns weighing up the advantages to the business with the disadvantages to you, specifically relating to childcare.

    If, following an open and fair discussion with your employer, they continue to insist that you undertake the new shift pattern regardless of the impact on your childcare responsibilities and are also unable to objectively justify this, this could form the basis of an indirect sex discrimination claim. In the worst case scenario, if you lose your job because you are unable to work the new shift because of your reasonable childcare responsibilities, you may also have a claim for unfair dismissal.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, I have had set shifts since returning from maternity leave. I stated at 1st that i would be able to work between 9-9 on a sat but only 9-5 the other 3 shifts but my manager said that i wouldnt need to and would be able to stay on a 8-5 on the sat, but now after a year had decided he now wants me to work 1-9 on a sat but I'm unable to due to childcare but cos he said i stated i could back then he said i have no choice. Is this right as i worked my childcare around him saying, i was ok to do 9-5. Any feedback would be appreciated cos think if he pursues with this i will hsve to leave due to childcare. Also my boy is 2 and it wud be unreasonable for me to have to pick him up at 9pm from a minder.

    Editor: You certainly do not have to agree to the change because you suggested it a year ago. Does your contract state that he can change your shifts? If not, you must be consulted on any change – see the advice from Alan Lewis above.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am a sleep in carer (18 years) & my employer insists that the shift will no longer exist soon as they want two waking night carers.. this will force me to give up my job due to other job commitments.. How do i stand?

    Editor: I am unclear if your employer is making you redundant or seeking to change your job. At the very least they are changing the terms and conditions of your job and as such need to consult with you on this. If you do not want to accept the changes you have several options.

  • Anonymous says:

    I want to work on a bank basis for my employer, but have taken up work with another employer nearer to home. Do I have to terminate my employment and provide a letter of notice, and have a new contract stating that I work on a bank basis.

    Editor: You would have to negotiate this with your first employer. 

  • Anonymous says:

    I work a three week rota 7.30 to 3.30 for 2 weeks then 2.00 to 8 Mon to Thurs.Then have friday off and work 8.4 Sat and Sunday..My employer wants to change this to a 2 week rota 8.00 to 4.00 and 12.00 to 8.00.this will start from 3rd Feb, but there has been no discussion with us at all.

    Editor: You should be consulted about any change to your shift pattern. Does your contract specify any notice period and that shifts can be subject to change?

  • Anonymous says:

    I was working 9:30 am to 7 pm and now I have to work 5 pm to 2 am. The shift still exists – they hire new people and put them on my shift. In the contract it just says that I will have 40 hours, but that the factory has the right to change my hours. That is all that is said and thank you for your reply.

    Editor: If your contract states that the factory can change your shifts according to business need then you would still have to be consulted about it. Have your asked why you have been changed and what is the response? Do you have any specific reasons for not wanting to do this shift, such as childcare issues?

  • Anonymous says:

    I had been working in factory for 9 years and now they have done second shift and they move me to evening shift without consultation with me and I didn't like working that shift. What can I do to make them change the shift to morning. Do I have any chance?

    Editor: Can you give a few more details on the shift change? What hours were you working before and what hours do you have to work now? Does the shift you were doing before still exist? Does your contract specify your hours? Does it include wording to the effect that your employer has the right to change your shift pattern or hours of work? If such a term is not included within your contract, your employer cannot unilaterally change the terms of your contract concerning your working hours without your consent. Your employer may be entitled to terminate your existing contractual arrangement by giving you the appropriate notice set out in your contract and offering you new employment on the new shift pattern. However, they would be expected to fully consult with you before doing this and you may still have grounds to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal, particularly if you can establish your employers have acted unreasonably. Even if your contract does allow them to change your shift, if you have worked this pattern for some years you would still be entitled to be consulted about changes.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have worked for a large insurer for 13 yrs, Monday -Friday 9.30 – 2.30 – never changed since then. They have now said all part timers who are on annualised or flex contract have to change their shift patterns and they have aligned me in a pattern which I am not happy with.I told them I want to see my contract, they said they do not have it now and can I refer to my letter of appointment. My letter of appointment states that I am Fixed Hours, other members of staff have same letter but theirs states Annualised or Flex. I am now in discussions with HR. asked them to point me to the terms of my contract which they have done so, which says for example "People who are employed on this contract will either work a full time shift pattern or they may work fixed hours." and Part-timers – part time staff will have a working pattern individually agreed and this will not vary on a week to week basis i.e. the hours will be fixed.
    I wonder if you could let me know if you think I have a case for refusing to do the change in shift pattern? many thanks indeed for any comments.

    Editor: Your hours cannot be changed without consultation with you and your agreement. If your employer wants to alter your employment contract, he will have to formally consult with you and try to get you to agree to the changes. If he cannot, then your employer would have to terminate your employment and rehire you on new employment terms. If you have worked this way for 13 years it is likely that it has become custom and practice.

  • Anonymous says:

    My contract says 0915 to 1315 (4 hours in the morning). I have worked part time for 6 years, now they want me to work 8 hours to meet the needs of the company. If I do not I am being told to take a job on the factory floor or I will be told to leave without a payoff. I have worked for the company for 19 years and I am a single mum with a six year old. I have asked for a jobshare, me in the morning and someone in the afternoon which we could cover each other on holidays, but they do not want that, they want a 8 hour person.

    Editor: This is a change in your terms and conditions and as such it must be done in consultation with you. If you do not want to accept the changes, your employer can sack you and hire you again on the new terms and you can claim unfair dismissal. 


  • Anonymous says:

    My contract says 0600hrs to 2200hours(8 hours morning shift from 0600hours to 1400hours for one week then 1400hours to 2200hours) but I had to change my shift with someone because I could work morning shift. That was 7 years ago. Within 3 months after changing my shift the company reduced the workforce and we stayed with only one shift which was the morning shift. Now they have come back saying I need to do both shifts, but I have two kids and I can't afford to pay for childcare.

    Editor: Could you send your request through our Advice & Support/Q & A page box so that one of our legal experts can advise and get back to you if they need further information?

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