Sunday working and night working

Terms and conditions for Sunday and night workers

Guide

You need to comply with the rules for working hours. This means giving at least 11 hours of rest per day, at least one day off per week (or two days off per fortnight), and a rest break of at least 20 minutes (this can be paid or unpaid) if the working day is longer than six hours.

Young workers are entitled to longer and more frequent breaks. See hours, rest breaks and the working week and employing children and young people.

Assess the health and safety implications of night working - for instance, your fire-evacuation procedure may need to be changed at night. Also, you may need to tighten your security arrangements.

Download our sample health questionnaire to assess if you are fit to work nights (DOC, 105K).

Rewards and good practice

If you employ people outside normal working hours it is a good idea to reward them for working antisocial hours. You're not required by law to do this, but it can help with staff recruitment and retention and can improve business productivity.

Common ways to reward night and Sunday workers include paying them time-and-a-half or double time, paying a premium for working shifts or giving them extra leave.

Other matters of good practice when dealing with night and Sunday working include:

  • giving employees at least one weekend off in three
  • providing hygienic food and refreshment facilities as local facilities could be shut
  • giving reasonable notice periods when changing employees' shift patterns and being careful not to breach their contracts
  • showing an interest in shift workers by visiting them while they work
  • considering whether the number of night workers requires specific supervision or management to help maintain discipline and productivity
  • considering supplying transport to the local station, eg a minibus

Take your employees' preferences into account as far as possible when organising shift work. Workers will be happier if they can have some say in how their schedule is arranged. See employee engagement.

For information on non-standard work patterns, see flexible working: the law and best practice.