If you’re waiting on a delivery, or a response on an important issue, you’ll often be given timeframes in business days. The definition of a business day can depend on whether the company you’re dealing with considers Saturday a Working Day. This can make it confusing to work out what the timeframes mean on a calendar.
We’ll look at how to define if Saturdays are classed as working days in some common scenarios.
The UK Working Week
Traditionally, the UK working week was considered 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. However, the structure of the working day in the UK has changed significantly.
Confusingly, when we given a timeframe, we are told the number of business days it is expected to take. We assume this to be Monday to Friday with weekends not being counted.
But this isn’t always the case. Some businesses are now fully operational on Saturdays.
What is a Business Day?
Put simply, the official definition of a business day is any day that the banks are open and processing payments.
Although many banks are open for half days on a Saturday, they cannot always process payments on a weekend.
UK Business Days
In the UK, a business day is any weekday when banks are open and processing payments. UK business days run from Monday to Friday.
The exception to this is bank holidays such as Boxing Day or May Day. Although most banks are open Saturday mornings, they don’t process payments.
This means Saturday and Sunday are classed as the weekend for the purposes of determining what a business day is.
What’s the Difference Between a Business Day & a Working Day?
The difference between business and working days can cause confusion. The terms can be used interchangeably, but they are not necessarily the same.
Sometimes, if you are told you can expect a response within 7 working days – this actually means within 7 business days. This depends on the nature of the business, and isn’t always clarified.
Business days and working days in the UK have different meanings. We have already established a business day is when bank transactions are processed.
A working day, however, can fall on any day of the week, including a weekend. An employee’s contract of employment will stipulate what their working days are.
Some people will work solely during the UK business days (Monday to Friday), and others will work throughout the weekend.
See also: Sunday Working – a look at how and if workers can opt out from being on rota on the traditional day of rest.
How to Work Out Business Days
You are eagerly awaiting an exciting delivery that is going to take 8 working days, just how do you work this out?
We all know how infuriating it can be when we are expecting a delivery. Often we aren’t given an exact date but instead given an estimate such as 8 working days. How do we calculate this so we understand when we need to be home for the delivery?
There are online working day calculators that can help. However, it is fairly easy to calculate yourself.
You can assume that business days, in the traditional sense, refer to Monday to Friday.
Example: It is Monday 21st of November and you have had an email from the a company with your delivery date. They have said you can expect delivery 8 working days from today.
To calculate this, you count 8 days on a calendar, excluding the weekend. You can expect your new sofas to arrive on Wednesday 30th of November.
Is Saturday a Working Day for Evri and Royal Mail?
Some companies will include a weekend as a working day because they deliver on those days. This includes Evri and Royal Mail.
We all get parcels and letters on Saturdays so Royal Mail classes a Saturday as a working day. They still go to the sorting offices and then deliver the mail so Saturdays are a normal working day for the Royal Mail staff. Evri also classes Saturday as a working day, and part of their business week.
Some deliveries do take place on a Sunday which you will know if you are a fan of Amazon. Their delivery drivers still offer their service up until 10 pm on Sundays.
Many other workers class Saturdays and Sundays as normal working days. While Saturdays and Sundays are generally considered rest days, there are large parts of the UK that work these. They make up part of their contracted hours like any other day of the week.
Can My Employer Make me Work on a Saturday?
There are many companies and sectors which require their staff to work some weekends. This will be reflected in their contract of employment. You can’tbe forced to work on Saturday if it is not in your contract.
We only have to look at supermarket opening hours, some of which boast 24 hours, to realise cover is needed. Other roles such as nursing, care staff, and Royal Mail will all have staff covering weekend shifts.
A contract of employment is in place for many reasons, one of which is to set out the employee’s working hours per week.
Whilst your employer can stipulate some weekend work, there are limits on this that must be honoured.
According to UK working laws, if there is no contract which stipulates weekend working, then this cannot be enforced. Put simply, an employee with nothing in the contract about working Saturdays or Sundays is under no obligation to.
They can be asked if they will work, but they do not have to. If an employee agrees to work Saturdays or Sundays then the contract should be updated. This should be done and signed by both parties before the weekend work begins.
Even if you are required to work weekends, there are rules in place to protect employee rights. This falls under the Working Time Regulations of 1998.
These laws stipulate how many hours per week employees can be asked to work. The law sets this at a maximum of 48 hours per week. Some sectors are not covered by this law and there is also an opt out clause available.
The opt out clause is an agreement that employees can sign, stating they are happy to work above the 48 hour rule. This should be produced by the employee before extra hours are undertaken. For just the occasional weekend work, employees can do this and then work fewer hours the next week. This will balance the average per week out and keep everyone on the right side of the law.