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Employer Has Changed My Shifts: What Are My Rights?

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 3 Dec 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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My employer has got me starting my first two days on nightsthen a day of rest then next three days are on day shift. I was wondering as my working week has gone from nights to days, do i still get paid for the day off?. Started on the sunday and my last shift will be on the friday. I've looked on the net for information but I'm unable to find any thing.
Steve - 3-Dec-19 @ 1:26 PM
After 25 years my employer wants every day and afternoon shift worker to work some nights.I do not drive and am reliant on my husband to take me to work and publuc transport is a mission even worse at night. Can they enforse this.
Buzzy Bee ! - 17-Nov-19 @ 9:25 PM
I just finished a 12 hr night shift thursday night to friday and then told by my employer to do a Saturday 12hr day shift is this legal
Dillon - 15-Nov-19 @ 11:31 PM
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John - 10-Nov-19 @ 7:10 PM
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Jay - 4-Oct-19 @ 3:16 PM
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gemini - 3-Oct-19 @ 10:20 PM
If I worked 3rd shift an they paid me a certain amount can they switch my cause of shift differential pay
Mike - 3-Oct-19 @ 2:42 PM
I have worked for 5 years within a company and its basically 12 hour shift 2 days 2 nights and 4 days off . i never change shift before .. manager and supervisor came with a decision to rotate shift for 3 months. To take me out of 12 hours and wrk monday to friday 8 hrs .. now the 12 hours isnt redundant ,it is being replace by a other individual .. this was made clear it wasnt a company decision it was just the manager and supervisor came with a idea ,is there any health and safety issues with having a sleeping disorder adjusting to a different shift after 5 years ..
Vawn - 19-Sep-19 @ 2:26 AM
We have another manager instore I filled out op-out form in working sunday be now she said I have not where do i stand with this
Xxxxxx - 29-Aug-19 @ 6:41 PM
i have worked for the same company for 8/9 years now they have just made 18 people redundant now they are given 5 of use 2weeks notice to come on to days and reduce our hrs and pay we have said give us redundancy they said no you will have to leave if not work days is this correct can they do this
mar - 14-Aug-19 @ 9:41 PM
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Lili - 29-Jul-19 @ 6:42 AM
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Dollygizzy - 26-Jul-19 @ 10:22 AM
My husband has been working for the same company for 6 years, previously to this he worked for them but had a stroke due to stress at work, he was re-employed when he was for to work and works a 6am to 6pm day Monday- Friday and also 2-3 weekends out of the month. He has to take medication to prevent another stroke or heart attack at the same time in an evening and has to rest after taking this. They have now told him his job is redundant as it doesn't produce enough revenue to pay his wages and want him to go onto night shift. Due to the importance of the timing of his medication he has gained a letter from GP saying it would be detrimental to his health if this was to happen. He has given his company this letter and they still want him to do night's ignoring the recommendation from GP. Where do we stand on this matter? As they have stated his job has been made redundant can he take redundancy and leave? As they are basically saying do night's or nothing.
Kat - 19-Jul-19 @ 11:19 AM
I just started working at a foundry 2 months ago on 3rd shift and now they're getting rid of the shift. My girlfriend just got a job to work around my shift because we've only got one car. What can I do?
sdmf - 17-Jul-19 @ 12:30 PM
Hi, I’m working for my company 9 years, for the last 3 months I have work in two branches, last month I asked the area managers to be transferred to the branch which I helped for 3 months because it’s more close to my house, I can travel by car and the main reason it very convenient for me to look after the kids after school till my husband come back from work and I can go to work night shift. They refused me with the reason that the business need me in other branch. What can I do ? I’m finding difficult to manage finding all the time someone to help with the kids. Thank you!
Emy - 14-Jul-19 @ 10:19 PM
Dave - 14-Jul-19 @ 12:18 PM
Hi, looking for advice, I was offered a job this week and accepted but for a reason unknown they have changed their minds and I'm not getting the job. Is there any legal advice ?
Phil - 12-Jul-19 @ 3:29 PM
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Jackie - 3-Jul-19 @ 9:42 AM
Hi I would like to change my shifts to day time as they are my perferreedhours plus my partner nan is having a massive hip operation and id like to be around as much as i can for her as shes only round the corner. Im a bit scared to ask this but im more concerened for his nan being on her own constantly!How can i apporach this without being too diffucult??
Anna - 29-Jun-19 @ 4:38 PM
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
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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
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