Care Home Management

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lady beside giant clock | Care Home Professional Magazine

Clock change dilemma – should night staff leave early? 

At 2am, Sunday 29 October, the clocks go back. So do care home night staff have to work the extra hour, and should they be paid?

Employment Law Advice Bureau  responds: First, check your employment contracts. The answer is in there. If the contract says when they must work, eg, 11pm. to 7am, staff should work the extra hour. Similarly, when the clocks go forward (Sunday, 31 March, 2024, 1am) staff should continue to work to the specified hour.  

However, other considerations include:  

  • Whether working the extra hour might exceed the Working Time Regulations  (limited to 48 hours unless they agree otherwise) or
  • The rules for night work state that night workers can only work eight hours within 24 hours. 

Legally, you don’t have to pay for the extra hour unless the contract specifies how many hours they should work. But be careful not to drop their average hourly rate below the national minimum wage during the pay period. If a specific quantity of hours are in the contract, and you want staff to stay for the extra hour, consider offering some compensation, ie, pay or time off in lieu.

Care Home Management will consider the legal provisions for night workers in its November/December issue, which will only be available in digital format. To sign up for the digital version, and for a chance to win £100 in Marks & Spencer vouchers, subscribe to the digital version before midnight, December 31, 2023.

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