Sunday working and night working

Night working rules

Guide

If any of your workers do night work - even casual, freelance and agency workers - there are special regulations you must comply with.

The regulations define night time as the period between 23:00 and 06:00, though this can be slightly varied by agreement between you and your workers. A night worker is someone who regularly works for at least three hours during this period.

In general, night workers:

  • should not work more than an average of eight hours in a 24-hour period, usually averaged over a reference period of 17 weeks (this can be longer if agreed in a workforce or collective agreement)
  • can't opt out from this limit
  • must be offered a free health assessment before they start working nights and on a regular basis after that (a follow-up examination by a health professional should be provided where necessary)

When devising your health questionnaire, make sure you ask a qualified health professional for advice. Download our sample health questionnaire to assess if you are fit to work to work night (DOC, 105K).

Exceptions to the rules for night workers

For workers dealing with special hazards or heavy mental and physical strain - there can be no averaging at all - the eight-hour daily limit is absolute.

Note that there are separate rules for mobile workers in air, sea and road transport.

In general workers under 18 are not permitted to work at night. However, there are quite a few exceptions. For more information, see employing children and young people.

Employer responsibilities on night working

It is your responsibility to comply with the night work rules. You should keep records to ensure workers don't exceed their night working limit.

You should also retain records of your night workers' health assessments for two years or, if they didn't accept the offer of a free health assessment, record when the offer was made.