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Employer Has Changed My Shifts: What Are My Rights?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 12 Jun 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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Anybody able to help?? Having childcare problems and would like to work just the hours I'm contracted for. Am I able to?be told I have to work 3 weeks notice to do so.
Kjv - 12-Jun-18 @ 7:41 PM
Hey av been on sick from work for 3 month losing my dad 2 sister and my parnter of 16 years left me a work 3 shifts a week I have 6 children my manger has not put me on nights at work one of my children has a disability this change would make my life really hard when I go back to work my boss has getting other staff to approach me about being on the sick pulling me on the shop floor while customer are there can they do this to me
Tracey - 12-Jun-18 @ 7:57 AM
I work on the railway and we work all kinds of shifts, but for next 8 weeks the station is closed so our roster has been suspended and we have been given a new one a week before it starts and on certain days they have removed a few hours off on each shift then added and an extra day for me to work, is that allowed as I had made plans as the roster said it was originally my day off.
Bobcat24 - 29-May-18 @ 6:08 PM
Corey - Your Question:
Fired for shift change request, I have a 3 year old child with special needs and I was working 3rd shift and requested to be switched a few times to 1st shift, I just got fired for it. Is this legal

Our Response:
What does you contract say? If you are unable to work the shifts you're offered on a regular basis, your employer may have reasonable grounds for dismissing you. You haven't however, provided a great deal of information, so there's not much advice we can offer we're afraid.
SafeWorkers - 29-May-18 @ 3:26 PM
Fired for shift change request, I have a 3 year old child with special needs and I was working 3rd shift and requested to be switched a few times to 1st shift, I just got fired for it. Is this legal
Corey - 29-May-18 @ 9:32 AM
My daughters been working from dec2017 & hasn’t had a rota yet haveing to work pretty much every weekend never getting many days of if of its midweek . Is there a law in Evan getting a Rita or 1 weekend of a month . I’m taking her to rights office tomorrow as this is terribly unfair 4am /12 pm some shifts so has to get up at 2am . Or 12/9 2/10 . Which she hasn’t problem with just every weekend too
Nikita - 24-May-18 @ 9:26 PM
Sue - Your Question:
I have worked for my employer for 25 years doing early (4am to 3 pm ) and afters (3pm to 11pm)on a rota basis over the years this has changed to 6am to 2pm and 2pm to 10 pm now im told I have to do a three shift rota including night shift 10pm to 6 am this is not convenient for me as I cannot sleep or eat properly as I have tried it in the past and my health sufferd significant ly but as it was only for a short period I did do it.now I have no choice I have to do it can I refuse and insist on redundancy pay

Our Response:
This depends on your contract. Please read our guide to Objecting to Changes in Your Contract here
SafeWorkers - 23-May-18 @ 3:44 PM
I have worked for my employer for 25 years doing early (4am to 3 pm ) and afters (3pm to 11pm)on a rota basis over the years this has changed to 6am to 2pm and 2pm to 10 pm now im told i have to do a three shift rota including night shift 10pm to 6 am this is not convenient for me as i cannot sleep or eat properly as i have tried it in the past and my health sufferd significant ly but as it was only for a short period i did do it .now i have no choice i have to do it can i refuse and insist on redundancy pay
Sue - 22-May-18 @ 11:13 PM
Riz - Your Question:
Hi,I recently got married I am doing night shift I told my manager to change my shift from 9am to 6 pm.i have completed 1 year doing night shift he not ready to change my shift.help me

Our Response:
We do not have any details of your contract unfortunately so it's difficult for us to comment. If the contract says you can be asked to work night shift or day shift, then there's not much you can do.
SafeWorkers - 14-May-18 @ 1:44 PM
Hi, I recently got married I am doing night shift i told my manager to change my shift from 9am to 6 pm.i have completed 1 year doing night shift he not ready to change my shift .help me
Riz - 13-May-18 @ 8:06 PM
My manager has been criticising, my work the past 3 months. For silly mistakes, for example a spelling mistake.which has made me lose my confidence I made a further mistake. In resulting reports went out wrong. He had me in a discussion saying I was under performing therefore changing my shifts. Manager knows I have commitments and will be studying further. This has left me so upset. Can I do anything regarding this.
Neddygee - 4-May-18 @ 6:53 PM
Viv - Your Question:
So we recently just got new Rota change my contract is 37 but with people just leaving we are not given a choice of whether or not we can do extra and our rota changes everyday meaning we can’t plan a personal life. My studies are suffering and I don’t have a social life we work 7.30am to 10.00 pm or 7.30 to 10.00 then a sleep then up 7.30 to 5pm or 10pm. Sometimes don’t even get breakfast or shower as am up at 4 am but I still have the whole day shift. No breaks and this is support work. On a sleep we can here all the noise off residents. Please advise on what to do. I feel pushed in the corner

Our Response:
Raise a formal grievance with your employer. We don't have full details of your contract, but if you have it to hand it's worth contacting ACAS.
SafeWorkers - 1-May-18 @ 11:43 AM
So we recently just got new Rota change my contract is 37 but with people just leaving we are not given a choice of whether or not we can do extra and our rota changes everyday meaning we can’t plan a personal life . My studies are suffering and I don’t have a social life we work 7.30am to 10.00 pm or 7.30 to 10.00 then a sleep then up 7.30 to 5pm or 10pm . Sometimes don’t even get breakfast or shower as am up at 4 am but I still have the whole day shift . No breaks and this is support work . On a sleep we can here all the noise off residents . Please advise on what to do . I feel pushed in the corner
Viv - 30-Apr-18 @ 4:24 PM
We have fixed pattern of 4on3off for 2wks and on 3rd wk 5on2off mon-fri or the same fri-thurs if on midwk shift and you can only get off wk end shift if someone leaves midwk our company has employed all new drivers on a new rotating shift with variable start days and start times and has removed the option for us to move off wk end shift unless we move onto the new rotation or we stay as we are for the next twenty yrs which is unfair what is my legal stance on this issue?
Apl1971 - 29-Apr-18 @ 7:52 PM
Terry - Your Question:
We currently taken of shifts 4 on 4 off.we asked do we want rotation of days back shift nights etc.or permanent one of them.in order 123.I need the money so put days as my last option as it won't cover my bills. everyone else has got what wanted or a rotation.where'd do I stand as its unfair as I've been in company for years. Surely I should be on rotation to.or I might as well quit as days alone won't cover my bills.Thanks

Our Response:
What does your contract say? If you're not contracted to work jsut night shifts there is very little you can do. If you feel you have been discriminated against, raise this with your employer.
SafeWorkers - 27-Apr-18 @ 2:17 PM
George Dunster - Your Question:
My employer is swapping my shifts around with a fellow colleague because he’s constantly letting us down and not showing up for his hours, I’ve agreed to swapping from mornings to nights but after some evaluation I’ve found that it’ll have a negative impact on my education, what can I do as I’m happy working the hours I’ve been given and can’t afford to let this job affect my degree.

Our Response:
This all depends on your contract - if it states that you can be asked to work any shifts, or doesn't state specific shifts, then your employer can change them. Talk to your employer and see if you can negotiate shifts that fit in with your other interests, although note that your this may be of little relevance to your employer.
SafeWorkers - 27-Apr-18 @ 2:14 PM
We currently taken of shifts 4 on 4 off..we asked do we want rotation of days back shift nights etc.or permanent one of them..in order 123...I need the money so put days as my last option as it won't cover my bills.. everyone else has got what wanted or a rotation...where'd do I stand as its unfair as I've been in company for years... Surely I should be on rotation to..or I might as well quit as days alone won't cover my bills .... Thanks
Terry - 24-Apr-18 @ 9:17 PM
My employer is swapping my shifts around with a fellow colleague because he’s constantly letting us down and not showing up for his hours, I’ve agreed to swapping from mornings to nights but after some evaluation I’ve found that it’ll have a negative impact on my education, what can I do as I’m happy working the hours I’ve been given and can’t afford to let this job affect my degree.
George Dunster - 24-Apr-18 @ 8:03 PM
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
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