Certain industries require 24-hour around the clock cover to ensure that demands are met.

This is likely the case for health care, hospitality, security, retail and transport sectors.

For employers, it is important to understand your legal obligations when employing people at night and how much to pay these workers.

Night period

The night period is 11pm to 6am.

Another night period can be agreed, but in any case, it must be at least 7 hours long and cover the period of midnight to 5am e.g. midnight to 7am.

Night worker

If a worker works at least 3 hours during the night period on a regular basis, they will be considered a night worker.

Working time limits

Night workers’ normal hours of work should not be more than an average of 8 hours in each 24 hour period over a 17-week reference period.

However, if the worker’s job involves special hazards or heavy physical or mental strain, this eight hour limit cannot be exceeded.

Pay

Workers are not legally entitled to a special premium for working nights.

Employers may find it hard to attract and retain staff, so they wish to pay extra for working anti-social hours. If you have stated a higher rate in their Contract of Employment, you need to pay them what you have set out.

In any case, workers are entitled to the applicable National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage.

Risk assessments

Before assigning a worker to night work, you need to give workers the opportunity to have a free health assessment. These health assessments must also be offered regularly to workers once the night work has started.

Young Workers

Typically, younger workers are not permitted to work at night between 10pm and 6am. There are some exceptions to the rule, for example, if the person works in agriculture, retail, hospitals, hotels, pubs, restaurants or bakeries. They may also work at night when the work is necessary to maintain continuity of service or production or to respond to demand for services or products, but certain conditions need to be fulfilled. However, they are not permitted to work between midnight and 4am, other than in very exceptional circumstances.

Speak to your Ellis Whittam Employment Law Adviser if you believe such exceptions apply to your organisation.

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