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Employer Has Changed My Shifts: What Are My Rights?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 19 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Work Nights Day Shift Night Shift

Q.

I have been asked to work nights, I have no one to look after my son on some of the nights I am wanted to work. There is still a day shift running on the section that I am currently working on. What are my rights to stay on the day shift if my employer trys to force me to work nights?

(A.D, 1 June 2009)

A.

The Issues

The suggestion that an employer may force someone to work nights is certainly worrying. Employers who take this approach upset staff and damage their companies’ reputations.

Furthermore, it’s clear from the question that this employee cannot work nights. After all, on some occasions there’ll be no one at home to look after a child.

First Point

The first point to make is that an employer cannot force someone to change shift patterns. This is unreasonable. There’s a potential problem in the way this situation may unfold, however.

If an employer tries to force a member of staff to work nights, and the member of staff refuses, such a confrontation is bad for everyone involved. The member of staff may win in the short-term; but in the medium to long-term, the employer may prove difficult over other issues such as granting time off.

Communication

One way to avoid harmful confrontation is for both sides to talk to each other in a sensible way. More than likely, the employee will have to make the first move.

The best course of action is to speak to the appropriate manager. Explain why a change to the night shift is impractical. Most managers will respond positively.

If the manager isn’t sympathetic, speak to the HR section. Again, explain the situation and ask to stay on the day shift.

Flexible Working

If the HR section takes the manager’s side, or your company doesn’t have an HR professional, then discuss flexible working.

Employees have a legal right to ask for flexible working. To make such a request within the law, an employee mustn’t be an Agency Worker; must have worked for the company for 26 weeks or more; and mustn’t have made a similar request in the past year.

Employees must also give a reason for the request. The three eligible reasons are:

  • caring for a child aged 16 or under
  • caring for a disabled child under 18 who is receiving disability living allowance (DLA)
  • caring for certain adults
In this question, the employee is not asking to change hours as part of a flexible working arrangement but to stay on the day shift. Because the request is not to change, the employer may seize on this and still try to force the employee to work nights. If so, the employee needs to point out that once on the night shift, he or she will demand the legal right to Flexible Working. This will lead to a return to the day shift in order to care for the child.

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I have been at my job for two years now and all of the sudden i am being falsely accused of neglect with a resident. There were no evidence found and I was told I now have to work day shift. I am a night shift worker and have been for years due to being a single parent and my parents can only watch my child at night. I told the employer I can not work day shift and they said I am making that choice to not work then and that is not the case!
lin - 19-Apr-18 @ 1:49 PM
Marty - Your Question:
My employer want me to pick another work colleague up and drop them off each day totalling an extra 1 1/2 hours each day I drive a work van. He lives in the opposite direction to my place of work. In total 30 hours a month, without any extra pay!! I know another employer drive a work van too and picks people up and gets extra money for his troubles, he's self employed and I'm on contracted hours. Is this unfairness in the workplace and discrimination? I have only worked for this company for 7 weeks Cheers. My manager also said if I didn't do this, I wouldn't have a job, what rights do I have. I even told him I'd drive my own vihcle to work like over employees do, but he wasn't interested. Please help.

Our Response:
If you're not being paid the extra time for performing this task and your employer will not let you pick up the other employee within work hours, you maybe able to object. This depends on the wording of your contract really. We can help much further as we don't know the details of the contract etc. It might be worth giving ACAS a call. Please also see this guide from The Work Smart website
SafeWorkers - 16-Apr-18 @ 10:48 AM
My employer want me to pick another work colleague up and drop them off each day totalling an extra 1 1/2 hours each day I drive a work van. He lives in the opposite direction to my place of work. In total 30 hours a month, without any extra pay!!I know another employer drive a work van too and picks people up and gets extra money for his troubles, he's self employed and I'm on contracted hours. Is this unfairness in the workplace and discrimination? I have only worked for this company for 7 weeks Cheers. My manager also said if I didn't do this, I wouldn't have a job, what rights do I have. I even told him I'd drive my own vihcle to work like over employees do, but he wasn't interested. Please help.
Marty - 13-Apr-18 @ 3:08 AM
I work for tesco night shift,I've been given roster for 4 weeks in advance and it's been signed. I got told there's no budget. What's my rights Could you please help.
Hakeem - 12-Apr-18 @ 5:04 PM
Andrea - Your Question:
Iv recently started a new job, when I applied I applied for nightshift and I was given the job however when I started I was told id be working dayshift, this wasnt what I had applied for and now I will have to work days, iv had no written contract or anything to state my working hours. This is a problem as my partner works days and there will be nobody to see to my dogs during the day for 12 hours, im scared to ask my manager about a change as she gets annoyed very easily, what can I do? I dont want to give up my beloved pets.

Our Response:
You need to talk to your employer. Did you receive an offer letter? Did the job advertisement specifically state night shifts? Sorry there's not enough information here.
SafeWorkers - 10-Apr-18 @ 3:30 PM
None - Your Question:
I have worked for my employer for nearly 10 years most of which have been nights, I have come back from holiday and received a letter telling me that they are changing things and that I am to now also work a Sunday day shift on rota. This is about the 5th time they have tried to change my night shift pattern, I am 63 and have trouble sleeping as it is can they keep doing this

Our Response:
This really depends on the terms of your contract unfortunately. It might help you to read our full guide: If your employer changes your hours - here
SafeWorkers - 10-Apr-18 @ 12:46 PM
Iv recently started a new job, when i applied i applied for nightshift and i was given the job however when i started i was told id be working dayshift, this wasnt what i had applied for and now i will have to work days, iv had no written contract or anything to state my working hours. This is a problem as my partner works days and there will be nobody to see to my dogs during the day for 12 hours, im scared to ask my manager about a change as she gets annoyed very easily, what can i do? I dont want to give up my beloved pets.
Andrea - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:53 PM
I have worked for my employer for nearly 10 years most of which have been nights, I have come back from holiday and received a letter telling me that they are changing things and that I am to now also work a Sunday day shift on rota. This is about the 5th time they have tried to change my night shift pattern, I am 63 and have trouble sleeping as it is can they keep doing this
None - 9-Apr-18 @ 6:10 PM
I was due to work a 2-12 shift however when I arrived at work I was moved into a different area and told my shift had changed and I was now finishing at 10. Then two hours later I was moved back to my original area and told I was working until 12 again all in the same shift. My normal hours on this shift are 2-10 however my company runs a tilt day system where we work 2-12 on there request and then get the hours back when work is short, I was happy with this system although I was very angry when my shift was changed three times in one day help please is this legal ?
Bailey - 9-Apr-18 @ 5:53 PM
D - Your Question:
I have worked at my present company for about 17 years working straight afternoon shift 230 to 1230 mondya to thursday ,now they are forcing me to work 5, 8 hrs shifts afternoons are they aloud.What are my rights thanks.Don

Our Response:
What does your contract say? Sorry we can't give you any concrete information without further details.
SafeWorkers - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:43 AM
I have worked at my present company for about 17 years working straight afternoon shift 230 to 1230 mondya to thursday ,now they are forcing me to work 5,8 hrs shifts afternoons are they aloud. What are my rights thanks. Don
D - 6-Apr-18 @ 9:22 PM
Gh - Your Question:
Hi just wondering where I would stand. I work in a care home , I'm contracted for 24 hrs a week. Someone as been off ill so I along with a few others picked up an extra shift a week making it 30 hrs. I have been doing this since before Xmas. I have to work on a Thursday alone (I'm domestic) so I can pick up the 6 hrs on a Saturday. I have looked at the rota and seen that a colleague is down to work Thursday with me meaning I won't be able to do Saturday. So il be doing 24 hrs one week and 30 the next. Is there any way I can challenge this. I haven't been asked or informed of this change.

Our Response:
There's nothing that says you have to be offered more than your contracted hours, so it's unlikely you will be successful in a challenge of this.
SafeWorkers - 4-Apr-18 @ 3:04 PM
Lu - Your Question:
My nhs employer wants to change my permanent contract so I have to be on call 4 times in 6 months which I do not want to do. Do I HAVE to sign this new worded contract? Can they revoke my contract if I refuse to thus making myself unemployed?

Our Response:
What does your existing contract say? Is "On call" part of the contract at all? If not, then you can object to unreasonable changes. Four times in 6 months does not really seem unreasonable....we're assuming you will be paid for any additional shifts/call out, as a result of this? If you want to object, take a look at our Guide to Objecting to Changes in your Contract
SafeWorkers - 4-Apr-18 @ 9:31 AM
My nhs employer wants to change my permanent contract so I have to be on call 4 times in 6 months which i do not want to do. Do i HAVE to sign this new worded contract? Can they revoke my contract if i refuse to thus making myself unemployed?
Lu - 3-Apr-18 @ 10:28 PM
Hi just wondering where I would stand. I work in a care home , I'm contracted for 24 hrs a week. Someone as been off ill so I along with a few others picked up an extra shift a week making it 30 hrs. I have been doing this since before Xmas. I have to work on a Thursday alone (I'm domestic) so I can pick up the 6 hrs on a Saturday. I have looked at the rota and seen that a colleague is down to work Thursday with me meaning I won't be able to do Saturday. So il be doing 24 hrs one week and 30 the next. Is there anyway I can challenge this. I haven't been asked or informed of this change.
Gh - 2-Apr-18 @ 2:55 PM
Hello I’m an on-call employee that get scheduled on Friday for the next work week and is on-call for any other day I’m not scheduled for. Right now I need every work hour I can get and my job scheduled me to go to work on Monday. However, now a day after the schedule was made they took away my Monday scheduled shift. Can they do that?
Aaron - 31-Mar-18 @ 7:48 PM
Lina - Your Question:
Hi there Just would like to know I’m a health care assistant on zero hours working for them nearly on a full time basis near enough 7 days a week. My employer keeps changing my rota even at the last minute to cover other calls. Is this allowed? It nicks up my whole day. We do get a weekly rota. But would like to know if they must give you 24 hour notice before they change something?

Our Response:
If you're on a zero hours contract, you can refuse or accept any work that is offered. If you agree to a work a certain shift, your employer should honour it. Please read our guide to Zero Hours Contracts
SafeWorkers - 28-Mar-18 @ 12:13 PM
Hi I work in a care home I have set shifts I work round my days off I have a dog and I organise for some one to come in and let my dog out in advance.. I have got my Rota and I have bin put in on a Wednesday when I should be off and I usually do a half day Thursday and all day Friday that has bin swap round and I am off Monday instead of the Wednesday shift. It like to suit because of being on a different unit. Are they allowed to just change it when they feel like? Without informing Me? What do I Do?
Shell - 27-Mar-18 @ 5:55 PM
Hi there Just would like to know I’m a health care assistant on zero hours working for them nearly on a full time basis near enough 7 days a week. My employer keeps changing my rota even at the last minute to cover other calls. Is this allowed? It nicks up my whole day. We do get a weekly rota. But would like to know if they must give you 24 hour notice before they change something?
Lina - 26-Mar-18 @ 3:02 PM
Cooper- Your Question:
Hi there,i currently work for a big roads maintanence company in scotland. I have a mental illness in which im medicated for it effects day to day life style but I now have medication to help me due to this I cant do nightshift which ive been signed off by the doctors and a medical professional. Knowing this my employer was fine about it but then I was promised my hgv class 2 licence unfortunately there was a debate about the reasoning to then put me through it I was told "if you cant do night shift we arent putting you through it" so I then saved and paid for the licence myself and they said I would be nowhere near a hgv. Ive recently passed my test and yet they are refusing for me to use it here which is very dissapointing as im trying to progress in life is there anything I can do about this matter??

Our Response:
If you can't do night shift and the HGV drivers are required to this then there isn't much you can do. If you can do your original job on day shift you should be allowed to do so, you may be able to use discrimination legislation if your employer does not facilitate this. Without knowing more details we can't really advise further.
SafeWorkers - 23-Mar-18 @ 3:44 PM
Himy manager has just changed my monthly rota from next month. I am on set days and do 30 hours a week as i have 2 kids. Can she just changed my set days and hours with 2 weeks notice without consulting me first.
Emz - 22-Mar-18 @ 3:57 PM
Hi I work in a shop and have always worked Monday to Friday 30hr contract.My contract does say I can be called to work Monday to Sunday 7 to 10 pm. My employer has given me 4 week notice saying I must work all weekends (50% of my time). And if I need time off on a weekend, he says I must use my holidays? What happens if I refuse? Also, can he prevent me from having 2 consecutive days off?
Sunny - 21-Mar-18 @ 3:45 PM
Hi there,i currently work for a big roads maintanence company in scotland. I have a mental illness in which im medicated for it effects day to day life style but i now have medication to help me due to this i cant do nightshift which ive been signed off by the doctors and a medical professional. Knowing this my employer was fine about it but then i was promised my hgv class 2 licence unfortunately there was a debate about the reasoning to then put me through it i was told "if you cant do night shift we arent putting you through it" so i then saved and paid for the licence myself and they said i would be nowhere near a hgv. Ive recently passed my test and yet they are refusing for me to use it here which is very dissapointing as im trying to progress in life is there anything i can do about this matter??
Cooper - 20-Mar-18 @ 8:38 PM
N - Your Question:
My daughter has worked Monday Thursday and Saturday shifts for past two years, her employer keeps putting her down for Wednesday shift and this is difficult due to nursery days for my granddaughter. Her employer says it’s not in her contract and says she must apply for set shifts but won’t give her the form. Can she refuse and ask for her Thursday shift to stay the same.

Our Response:
No if her contract doesn't state specific days then she can't insist. She does have the right to apply for flexible working and her employer must give it due consideration (and provide a response) - you don't need to use a form, simply put the request in writing.
SafeWorkers - 20-Mar-18 @ 3:47 PM
My daughter has worked Monday Thursday and Saturday shifts for past two years, her employer keeps putting her down for Wednesday shift and this is difficult due to nursery days for my granddaughter. Her employer says it’s not in her contract and says she must apply for set shifts but won’t give her the form. Can she refuse and ask for her Thursday shift to stay the same.
N - 19-Mar-18 @ 2:57 PM
I work on a flexible contract 5 days a week. I requested staying on my alternative weekend shifts from my old contract but nothing came of it.Because the Fenwick catering department at Brent Cross shopping centre is so short staffed all my colleagues as well as myself are under pressure to work weekends back to back without a break.Sometimes these can be as many as 6-8 weeks if not more.The only time i get off if i am working at the weekend is 2 days during the week.Also we do not have any choice of choosing our lieu days & holidays are dificult to come by as 2 people can't take the same time off.
Calamity - 13-Mar-18 @ 3:35 PM
Belly - Your Question:
Hi I am currently working a shift pattern of one week day shift the next either afternoon or night shift. I have recently become a father for the second time in 2 years and my girlfriend has just finished her maternity and found a job that is suitable for our flexible needs with two young children and me working shifts. The job she has just got is trailerd to help us reduce child care costs and around my shifts as you can well imagine this was a pretty hard to come by job and took a lot of ironing out to work for my girlfriends new company. This week I have been informed that I will have to change onto the alternative shift to accommodate somebody having my space as part of a punishment (not me the other person). Me changing shifts will either make my girl friend have to quit her new job (which we can’t afford) or we would have to put our two young children in nusery for extended periods which again we can’t afford, am I able to do anything about this

Our Response:
Please see our guide here which answers several questions like yours.
SafeWorkers - 9-Mar-18 @ 3:43 PM
Hi I am currently working a shift pattern of one week day shift the next either afternoon or night shift. I have recently become a father for the second time in 2 years and my girlfriend has just finished her maternity and found a job that is suitable for our flexible needs with two young children and me working shifts. The job she has just got is trailerd to help us reduce child care costs and around my shifts as you can well imagine this was a pretty hard to come by job and took a lot of ironing out to work for my girlfriends new company. This week I have been informed that I will have to change onto the alternative shift to accommodate somebody having my space as part of a punishment (not me the other person). Me changing shifts will either make my girl friend have to quit her new job (which we can’t afford) or we would have to put our two young children in nusery for extended periods which again we can’t afford, am I able to do anything about this
Belly - 8-Mar-18 @ 10:53 PM
Jodyl- Your Question:
I work part time in a shop, I used to do two overnights and a Sunday. To save money in wages they cancelled a night shift and I had to make up hours during the day.I’ve now been told they want to cancel my other night shift with immediate affect and will try and give me hours during other days.I’m a single mum and have to rely on my parents taking the kids to school twice a week as it is.Can they cancel shifts with no notice? My contracts states I work 23hrs a week, not specific days or times.My other concern is I will lose night premiums - going from just over £10ph down to £8 during the day.Am I entitled to some sort of compensation for loss of earnings?Many thanks for any adviceJ

Our Response:
If your contractdoesn't specify actual shifts, then your employer can ask you to work any of them as long as you are be given the total number of hours stated in your contract. You will not be compensated for the difference in night and day shifts unless you're contract mentions this.
SafeWorkers - 7-Mar-18 @ 2:19 PM
I work part time in a shop, I used to do two overnights and a Sunday. To save money in wages they cancelled a night shift and I had to make up hours during the day. I’ve now been told they want to cancel my other night shift with immediate affect and will try and give me hours during other days. I’m a single mum and have to rely on my parents taking the kids to school twice a week as it is. Can they cancel shifts with no notice? My contracts states I work 23hrs a week, not specific days or times. My other concern is I will lose night premiums - going from just over £10ph down to £8 during the day. Am I entitled to some sort of compensation for loss of earnings? Many thanks for any advice J
Jodyl - 6-Mar-18 @ 5:15 PM
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