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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

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 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
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Absfab - 24-May-19 @ 12:16 AM
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Cc - 18-May-19 @ 11:04 AM
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MJ - 14-May-19 @ 8:00 PM
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Keke - 13-May-19 @ 1:34 AM
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mucked about - 4-May-19 @ 8:10 PM
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rHIANNAX - 30-Apr-19 @ 7:06 PM
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Shiva - 12-Apr-19 @ 9:18 AM
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Philu - 28-Mar-19 @ 8:53 AM
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Gaz - 25-Mar-19 @ 3:01 PM
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Daniel - 22-Mar-19 @ 3:39 PM
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None - 17-Mar-19 @ 9:56 AM
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Angry bird - 14-Mar-19 @ 9:21 PM
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Stoney - 13-Mar-19 @ 12:47 PM
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Heefee - 6-Mar-19 @ 3:55 PM
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Juls - 27-Jan-19 @ 6:49 PM
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Major3liond - 18-Dec-18 @ 1:42 PM
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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
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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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