Home > Ask Our Experts > Employer Has Changed My Shifts: What Are My Rights?

Employer Has Changed My Shifts: What Are My Rights?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 16 Feb 2019 | 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
My cleaning job in an office haschanged company..So I worked there Tues n friday..now they say that they want it done on a Wednesday.. whereas I work in another job with my first company on that eveningantwon't be able to do..what r my rights
Paddie - 16-Feb-19 @ 5:15 PM
I work in a factory as a stand in lead i have done this for a year however now they want to move me to a different department. Do i have any right to refuse? There has been nomovement on making mw a permanent lead at all.
Juls - 27-Jan-19 @ 6:49 PM
Hi I started working for my current employer on a 4x 12hr night shift on set nights within a Residential Care home. (The set nights was verbal agreement Not on record but it’s worked well for over 18months)!! I have to attend a London hospital every Friday for treatment which is a 2hr drive from my home! Not a problem! Therefore I cannot work Thursday night and Friday night! Eight months ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and joint hyper mobility, I decided to email my boss, be upfront with him, I told him I wanted to drop 1 12hr shift as I had found it quite exhausting (I am also registered disabled). He was very understanding and obliged. Everything was great! During the past 2 months he has left and we have got an interim manager and also a replacement manager who have now said basically “you work 36hrs for us and we have got the right to allocate where and when we want you to work”! They had taken me off my usual nights and put me on Wednesday Thursday and Friday nights! I went straight away to see my new boss and explained that I totally understand Care work is 24/7 and 365 days a year but..... I have got to go to London hospital every Fridays which I have been doing since before I started working here! She said ok then, now I have to go on a Flexi contract? And prove to her in writing proof from my specialist/consultant that I have got to go there every week? I did explain to her that during my divorce my exes solicitor wanted this proof too and my consultants response was? Indescribable! Basically! He has said before quote “ how dare anybody dispute your treatment which you Have to receive which is paramount to your health”!! I do receive a txt reminder every week detailing my appointment which I did (minus the consultants contact phone number) forward to the managersphone! Question 1. Is that sufficient? 2. Do I still have to accept a Flexi contract? 3. Have I got a leg to stand on? 4. 3 12hr shifts are just enough for me due to my fibromyalgia,do I have to accept doing 5 straight just because it covers 2 weeks? 5. Can they force me to provide more than what I can from my London hospital? I received a general staff message back saying.......Due to change of Night staff requiring to change hours this is the Updated rota for everyone! Which I found really Degrading! Then because I Was originally due to work Saturday as Cover then my usual Sunday they are making me work 5 straight night shifts??!!In my mind just to be blatantly awkward!! (Our week goes from Monday to Sunday!!
Shaz - 24-Jan-19 @ 8:54 PM
I have worked 3 nights a week for 27 years for the nhs I am contracted to do days or nights but always done nights Now I’ve been told is has to change and I’ve got to work days which means a pay cut of around 350 a month As I’ve always worked nights all my bills are set to my income working nights so now I will not be able to pay my bills at the end of the month I have an old back injury caused at work so I can’t work any extra shifts to make my money up What are my rights
Banjo - 23-Dec-18 @ 5:52 PM
I work 3 shifts and they are putting me on a different shift to my brother who takes me and brings me back from work I spoke to my boss about it because I can’t afford taxi every day but he told me it wasn’t his problem how I get to work and I would like some advice on the matter the shift are 6am-2pm. 10pm-6am.2pm-10pm
Major3liond - 18-Dec-18 @ 1:42 PM
I work 3-4 shifts a week on a zero hour contract. I was given 5 nights to which I asked if I could get Monday covered as my 4 year old boy wanted me to accompany him to his school party and attend his Christmas play. I found cover with 2 people as I was on a cash shift, so one covered my duties on floor and the team leader working that evening was happy to cover my cash close. This has been granted in the past for other staff. I was told that this was denied as I could only ask a bar/cash person, after asking every single one no one could do it other than my original offer to which they said it was down to the discretion of the manager that evening. I wasn’t replied to when I asked who the manager was, the following day another manager replied and told me who was on that shift and left the email thread for him to see. I got no reply for 2 days so I followed up to which he just said the same as the first manager, when I contested it he said that the TL has other duties and was unable to cover cash and I said there is no one else trained who can do it (felt handcuffed to that roll) he said you will have to go down the absence procedure so I did and then he said that it will go to a formal as it’s my 4th absence, when I mentioned that my availability was for the 4 shifts max and I’m continuously on nights and was discussed in my last return to work that it runs me down with the school run but they’ve not met my request. I’ve discussed issues with the rota as I’ve been able to work day shifts for the past year and been given 3. I’ve lost sleep and cried for days choosing my son over work as I may now face disciplinary action.
Pimmy - 16-Dec-18 @ 4:00 AM
I am currently a head of department in a medI'm size hotel. Part of my job title states duty manager and general help as well as my hod status. I have been told to cover as a night manager in the hotel reception work is not my normal working area. When I asked the general manager why can the corresponding duty manager and reception hod cover the night shift for there department I was told it is better to have a man in that role. Can I refuse to cover this shift as it pulls me away from my contracted role.
Dandy - 7-Dec-18 @ 2:10 PM
I work day shift and job title is going to be eliminated soon because of some changes in the company, I asked for a different position at the same shift but they said they won’t have any.They asked me to get a different job on night shift and I don’t want to change my shift because of family matters. I am lost and don’t know what to do
Maniche - 22-Nov-18 @ 11:27 AM
I’ve been working at my present employer for 8mths now & was employed as a NIGHTS engineer working 4on 4off. We have got an intrim Eng manager at the moment who is trying to change our shifts too days & nights 4on 4off. The day Engineers do not want to work nights & vice versa. But we have been told that it is happening & basicly have no say in the matter at all. So if we do not agree & except our new contracts will be making ourselves redundant? What can we do & where do we all stand? Also is there a time scale for changing someones shifts/contracts? Cheers Mark
N/A - 8-Nov-18 @ 9:59 PM
I have worked shifts 17 years and was TUPEd over 7 years ago. I have worked 12 hours and two weekends a month for all this time. My employer has us all go through an interview process which I showed concerns about as i haven't had an interview in 17 years. I suffer from depression. I was not successful and am being told I will be moving onto days doing a 8.5 hour day. Losing a lot of money.This has seriously affected my health. Do I have any rights
Nat - 29-Oct-18 @ 5:31 PM
My partner has worked night shifts (4 x 12 hour shifts a week) at his company for over 25 years. There are apparently rumours floating around that he might be moved back on to day shifts with the same total hours. This would result in a fairly catastrophic reduction in his income. He says that he suspects he would have no grounds to argue against the change as he has at some point in the past signed a contract that says that he is a full time day shift employee whose night shifts are temporary. My question is whether or not such a contract term would be considered unfair, especially given the length of time he has been working nights? Is there a point at which it could be argued that he has a right to expect that he be kept on night shifts after so many years? It is only a rumour right now, but we want to understand his rights in the event it becomes something more.
tel86 - 25-Oct-18 @ 3:46 PM
Hi I’ve worked for the Winfield hospital for nearly 12 years for the last 10 years I’ve been doing the same shift become I write out a flexible working hours because I care for my mum well got a new boss in the last 2 years and he said he can’t find a letter and he won’t to change my shift it is stressing me out so bad I suffer from depression and under dr for migraine vertigo which I’m allowed to have 10 extra sick days of work I spoke to a x boss of mine and she said the letter was put in my personal folder but my new boss said there isent a letter I don’t no what to do I’m Of until next week been on hoilday and I no he’s going to change my shifts help please x
Lorna - 7-Oct-18 @ 9:52 PM
My branch manager has just told that I was suppose to be in on a Friday, but no rota was made the week before as it should. My manager said I'm contracted to do that day when I started there but my contract is hours not days.
Lister of smeg - 29-Sep-18 @ 12:32 PM
I have worked for a company for 9 years, when I started I had a 3 month probationary period and after I was informed my working week would be 20 hours per week Monday to Friday 6am to 10am this increased after two years to 25 hours 6am till 11 am and eventually 2 years ago it increased to 30 hours 6am till 12 am, each time my hours increased I just signed an amended contract and was never told that my working pattern would change and it as remained the same until this week, I arrived in work on Monday and was informed by my manager that I would have to request a flexible working arrangement for the days and hours I'm working, I've read up about flexible working and it says that you can request flexible working if you want to change your current working arrangement, I don't want to change anything I've worked this pattern for 9 years and happy with it, my contract only states my total hours and doesn't and never has specified days, however whenever I increased my hours I was verbally informed by each of the area managers that I would not be expected to work weekends and would continue with my normal working pattern Monday to Friday 6am till 10, 11, and currently 12 am, I take this as an emplied contract so do I have to apply for flexible working at all, please advise as I feel this is just the start of a new area managers quest to force me out as there are many other issues I've already had to deal with before this, also another employee does the same job as me in a different location and he hasn't been asked by my area manager even though it's under her location
Vitamin pill - 28-Sep-18 @ 12:11 AM
I have worked for a company for 9 years, when I started I had a 3 month probationary period and after I was informed my working week would be 20 hours per week Monday to Friday 6am to 10am this increased after two years to 25 hours 6am till 11 am and eventually 2 years ago it increased to 30 hours 6am till 12 am, each time my hours increased I just signed an amended contract and was never told that my working pattern would change and it as remained the same until this week, I arrived in work on Monday and was informed by my manager that I would have to request a flexible working arrangement for the days and hours I'm working, I've read up about flexible working and it says that you can request flexible working if you want to change your current working arrangement, I don't want to change anything I've worked this pattern for 9 years and happy with it, my contract only states my total hours and doesn't and never has specified days, however whenever I increased my hours I was verbally informed by each of the area managers that I would not be expected to work weekends and would continue with my normal working pattern Monday to Friday 6am till 10, 11, and currently 12 am, I take this as an emplied contract so do I have to apply for flexible working at all, please advise as I feel this is just the start of a new area managers quest to force me out as there are many other issues I've already had to deal with before this, also another employee does the same job as me in a different location and he hasn't been asked by my area manager even though it's under her location
Vitamin pill - 27-Sep-18 @ 12:56 AM
Hi I need some advice I have been working at a care home for 3 years working night shift, for the last two months my manager has changed my Rota to suit a colleague,my rota is always out a month in advance and co signed by the manager, when I have my days off I make arrangements only for me to have to cancel them because my colleague states she can't work then and asks the manager to change it, which the manager does without asking me or informing me of the changes, however when I speak to the manager I am told that I have to work that shift regardless if I have arrangements as I have been given plenty of notice, what can I do?
Trace - 21-Sep-18 @ 3:54 AM
Hello everyone , my employer is now asking me to cover night shifts for holidays ( not so happy to do that, I’ve got two kids to look after) My contract says : the hours may be varied from time to time as dictated by the reasonable needs of the company’s business . Also they would not pay same rate as they are paying the night colleague . Can I say no ?
Vlxxcam - 20-Sep-18 @ 7:45 PM
Hello I’ve just started working for a retail company as a visual merchandiser and I’ve been with them for about 3months now. So my issue is. When I had an inteview with them I told th that I don’t want to work on weekends reason being I’m a student and there is not much a visual can do on weekends. And they agreed. But now my contract says I need to work 8 hours a day and it must make up 45 hours in 6 days, but this is not he case because it sums up to 48 hours- (please note that the contract states that I will NOT be paid for working on weekends and public holidays) so this is a little confusing. I sent an email to HR regarding this and no one replied to my question. So I was then told to work my 45 hours from Monday to Friday which means I’d have to work 9 hours per day which adds up to 45 hours. Now I’m told that I need to work 10 consecutive days on a night shift which will be from 20:00 to 06:00 which equals 9 hours a day. My question is that, is this legal and I was told that it’s not a request It’s a demand? They don’t provide food or transport like the labpur act states. And there is nothing about night shift compensation on contract. Please help
Jules - 20-Sep-18 @ 6:00 PM
hello, I work for an architecture practice. my contract says: "Your working hours will be 40 hours per week. The Company may require you to vary the pattern of your working hours if required on a temporary or permanent basis should the needs of the post require this. Overtime payments are not paid. 5. Office hours are a minimum of 9.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday, including a one-hour lunch break.You may occasionally be asked to attend at other locations and times (including weekends) as part of your job task requirement or training." They now told me that I have to work Saturdays and have morning off during the week. Am I entitled to be paid more on Saturday? Is there a law that says that? I am asking since this is an office job.
Moon - 19-Sep-18 @ 9:53 PM
Orse - Your Question:
Hi,I'm working in a mall where I can do morning shift and night shift,but the manager are making me doing only morning shift as the company is not willing to pay for the transport,as I live 10 minutes after a colleague. Is it right?

Our Response:
This depends on your contract - what hoursyou were taken on to do etc. It's highly unusual for employers to pay for transport for employees to get to/from work.
SafeWorkers - 18-Sep-18 @ 2:30 PM
Hi,I'm working in a mall where I can do morning shift and night shift,but the manager are making me doing only morning shift as the company is not willing to pay for the transport,as I live 10 minutes after a colleague. Is it right?
Orse - 17-Sep-18 @ 3:51 PM
Hello. I have recently moved from one McDonalds store to a new one. I am availablable to work at all times through the week. In my old store I had good mix of shifts but in my new store I only work night shifts or through the day finishing 6pm earliest. The reason behind this is another manager who has worked for the store 10+ years can only work opens to spend time with their family. How is this fair that i can't spend time with my newborn and wife because I'm out the house every night? Is there anything I can do about this.
Godzilla - 10-Sep-18 @ 5:30 PM
mum24 - Your Question:
I’ve been in same job for over 13years, I’ve had a few changes in hours and weeks I work requested by employer over the years (I currently only work term time due to kids) but they’re asking me to work full time through holidays but the childcare charges will kill us in holidays so I just can’t do it! Do I have any rights and can I say no?

Our Response:
What are the details in your contract? If your contract is term time only, you can'tbe made to work the holidays without your consent. See our guide to objecting to changes in your contract
SafeWorkers - 10-Sep-18 @ 2:06 PM
hey i been work on my job for 12years on 1st shift and I'm a single parent of 2 kids my management change our hours 2 years ago to 12 hours shift it not work out for company so now we are goin back to 8 hour shifts. when I was on 12hours shift i work morning 6am til 6:30pm now they trying to force me to work 3rd shift a shift I never work and I no this not goin work for my family it like they tryin to force me to pick between my kids and my job is this legal? can they do this?
redd - 8-Sep-18 @ 5:11 PM
Hi, l have been with a company for 6.5 years. In the beginning I did early andlate shifts; however through health reasons for the last 3 years on both a consultant and GP advise I have been working only earlies. My company have now told me this can no longer carry on. I have to work lates or I no longer have a position the company. I have stated the risks of me working the late shift and whose head would it fall on if this risk happened, it was said mine. Have I been put in a corner to have to hand my notice in to this company?
Depre - 8-Sep-18 @ 12:28 PM
Do an employer have to pay me if they cancel my shift without notifying me and I shown up for my shift
Shawn00766 - 7-Sep-18 @ 8:28 PM
Hi I have been currently working with my employer now coming up on 14 years and the last 3 years I have been working on a night shift basis exclusively for the last 3 years with another 20 off employees,I work on a machine with another fellow employee with the same circumstances as myself regarding a young family and that's why working nights suits us both,we work 35 hours a week on nights while the rest of the factory work 37.5 hours,my boss has approached myself and said he needs to take one of us of the machine and move us onto a 2 shift rotation 7am-3pm and 3pm -12 midnight,can I be forced to do this as it will affect my home/family lifestyle and I will be also doing more hours than I'm currently doing and taking a drop in my wage as I'm currently on a night shift premium,any help or advice would be greatly appreciated please.
Gazzer - 5-Sep-18 @ 4:52 AM
I’ve been in same job for over 13years, I’ve had a few changes in hours and weeks I work requested by employer over the years (I currently only work term time due to kids) but they’re asking me to work full time through holidays but the childcare charges will kill us in holidays so I just can’t do it! Do I have any rights and can I say no?
mum24 - 3-Sep-18 @ 6:42 PM
Hi, I have been an agency worker at my place of work for 2 years now, early this year I was put on a nightshift rotation(though I couldn't get anything written from either the company or agency) , 7 on 7 off, 8pm-8am weds-tues, on Tuesday I was asked if I'd like to go on a Mon-Fri dayshift I said no and gave my reasoning, was told "Thanks for your reply, no problem" via text. On Friday morning (while now on shift) my agency (who are actually owned by my company) contacted me to say I've been taken off my shift with immediate effect and have 2 options accept the day shift or be jobless. Now the shift I was on is short-staffed and they must put someone in my place to have their minimum numbers for a squad. They put in a flexi agency guy last night to cover the gap, can they do this? No notice was given, literally took me off mid shift and said my placement wasn't required though it clearly is, they are trying to force me to take the day shift.
Twotone - 1-Sep-18 @ 7:03 AM
Golferg - Your Question:
Hi SafeWorkers,I have never been given a written contract but my manager says our hours are 8:30-5:00 even though we have done 8:00-4:30 for past 16 years and none of the previous 6 managers had an issue with this,Thanks,Golferg

Our Response:
If you've never had a written contract but have worked the same hours for 16 years you may be able to claim these hours were what you assumed were in your contract. Your employer is also breaking the law by not giving you a contract. Seek advice from ACAS or a union rep.
SafeWorkers - 29-Aug-18 @ 10:24 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments