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Employer Has Changed My Shifts: What Are My Rights?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 13 Jun 2019 | comments*Discuss
Work Nights Day Shift Night Shift


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)


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.


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 working in one company, I am agency employee. Last 5 months I am working night shifts. Can my manager without asking me change my shift on days? I will have just one whole day off. Can they do it?
Bibi - 12-Jun-19 @ 4:55 AM
I'd like to know please, or seek advice on, whether it is a breach of licencing, health and safety laws, or, something similar, to keep a caged parrot in a publicbar, which serves food and has a restaurant area, however, you can choose to eat where you like.
Absfab - 24-May-19 @ 12:16 AM
My boss is my partner, were not getting along so everytime we have a disagreement he threatens to fail my probation and gives my shifts away, I was going to move out of the home we share this week but he cut down my hours so I couldn't pay for a months rent and bond, I've witnessed him get customers to send in emails of complaints about his staff that are made up lies to the company so he can get rid of them so ino he plays dirty, what do I do
Cc - 18-May-19 @ 11:04 AM
I have worked continuous night duty for 30 years! My employee wants me to go on day duty! I do not accept this! Am I able to stay on nights?
MJ - 14-May-19 @ 8:00 PM
Can my boss change my availability.When I started I put down 8-4.30 due to my son in school.now they changing it when ever they get ready.they putting me down for 11.00 -5:00
Keke - 13-May-19 @ 1:34 AM
Where I work people who are bone idle get away with murder and those who go above and beyond are dumped upon constantly.Management don’t want to know because ‘As long as the work gets done they don’t care who’s doing it’. (Actually told to me when I pointed the problem out!
mucked about - 4-May-19 @ 8:10 PM
My manager changes my shifts on the Rota quite often without notifying me first. Is she aloud to do this?
rHIANNAX - 30-Apr-19 @ 7:06 PM
Hi I have been working for job and talent agency from 2018 October 20. Then last couple of weeks I had problems with teamleader. I have reported to manager and they said they'll have word with him. Nect think I know that I'm not getting any shift at all.
Shiva - 12-Apr-19 @ 9:18 AM
I been transferred to another store from 40 to 32 hours store, as I changed my place. In my old place my manager had a great understanding,that he always give me shifts where my little girl doesn't have to be alone. When she goes to school I am at work, when she is at home, I am off. But my new work place manager is female, but no understanding. As a single mother without any financial support, she gives only 32 hours by saying labor hour are reduced, keep.me busy for 5-6 days to complete those hours. Give me evening shift from 4 to 11, when my daughter is looking for me to get her food, homework and company. Other employees who are single or has no kids, work in the morning shift, because they are senior than me and her favorite. Then I requested that if you can't give me 40 hours, then please finish my 32 hours in 4 days,with 8 hours shift. She agreed after a big interference of FCA. But now she gave me Friday-Saturday 4to 12 and Sunday-Monday nights. My daughter didn't sleep both nights as she scare alone in home all alone, and I requested my manager to change it, but she left option to either quit or continue working. Can I quit this job and can apply for unemployment in this situation ? Even 4 to 12 also my daughter can't manage, as she is not allowed to use stove or oven, as 2 times she forgot to turn the stove off and was going to get fire. She can't sleep until I come home because we don't see each other until I come home and cook something to eat, and she sleeps late and go to school late, and getting a lot absence or late notes. Please tell me what is my solution ?
Philu - 28-Mar-19 @ 8:53 AM
I have been on sick for 2 months due to a broken bone in my foot, I work a 12 hr shift pattern. the shift I was on completed 19 shifts towards my scheduled yearly total while I had a sick line in. When I returned to work I was moved onto a different shift. This shift had only completed 18 shifts during that time. My wages department have deducted 19 shifts worth of shift allowance . So I requested clarification that I would now be over my yearly shift total due to moving shifts, as by the end of the year all shifts complete the same amount, Meaning I'd be owed 12 hrs once my current shift completed they yearly shift pattern.HR have commented that it doesn't matter as I didnt complete the 19 shifts, but clearly having deductions already made it does. As I'm never off work sick. I'm a bit unsure the procedure now.
Gaz - 25-Mar-19 @ 3:01 PM
My employer is changing my hours of work and trying to change my days off, this interferes with my whole life, I have two jobs and if my main full-time job does this change it means I no longer can work my second job and I'll be loosing out on income for my family, also my days off are needed because I look after my young child and have no one else to do I need those days off and my employer knows this. Also I take classes at a gym that it will interfere with also. I have been employed 3years in this job and they know my situation. Do I have any right whatsoever to say no if it interferes with my life this much??
Daniel - 22-Mar-19 @ 3:39 PM
My employer has asked me to work day shifts. I have worked night shifts for many years. I do not want to work days. Can they force me?
None - 17-Mar-19 @ 9:56 AM
My husbands firm is making the 2 night shift workers redundant but not one of the 3 doing same job on the day shift who does exactlythe same work. When HR were asked they were told because day shift is different, when it isnt. Is this legal and what can be done about it?
Angry bird - 14-Mar-19 @ 9:21 PM
I work a 3 shift pattern and now my employer as cancelled the night shift I’m I entitled to notice and for how long.
Stoney - 13-Mar-19 @ 12:47 PM
Hi I am at school in 6th Yr and work at Mcdonalds at the weekends. I will be 18 mid march and they said I now have to do a Friday night shift even though I'm still at school can the do that?
Heefee - 6-Mar-19 @ 3:55 PM
I work in a factory on afternoon shift for 22 years now the company want to transfer me to day shift after this long time I found it very hard to get up 4am to do day shift I have very bad headache doing that,.Can the company force me if I can't do it. Regards need some advice thanks
Hi - 5-Mar-19 @ 4:25 AM
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
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 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 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
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
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
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
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
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