How many hours can my employer make me work?
Your employment contract or written statement of terms should tell you your normal working hours. The Working Time Regulations say you should not work more than 48 hours a week on average, unless you have agreed in writing to work more. If you have signed a form saying you will work more than 48 hours a week, you can change your mind and say you no longer want to do this. You may have to give your employer notice of this, but they cannot insist on more than three months’ notice.
The regulations also set out:
- the average number of hours a day you can work if you work nights;
- how often you must be allowed to take rest breaks and how long these breaks must be; and
- how many days of holiday you are entitled to each year as a minimum.
You can complain to an employment tribunal if your rights under the regulations are broken. And the law protects you from being dismissed or treated less favourably for complaining.
The law says that your employer may have to deal with a union for the sake of ‘collective bargaining’ (negotiating terms for the workforce as a whole).
If your employer doesn’t voluntarily agree to deal with your union, and you want to use the law to force them to, you will need to meet various conditions, such as having a special vote by the workers. The Central Arbitration Committee deals with this. You can contact it for more details on getting your union recognised (see ‘Further help’ for details).
- Am I a worker?
- What are my rights as a worker?
- What are my rights as an employee?
- Do I need a written contract of employment?
- What is the least I should be paid?
- How many hours can my employer make me work?
- What should I do if I have a problem at work?
- What if my employer has a problem with me?
- What if I’ve been dismissed unfairly?
- Bringing a claim for unfair dismissal
- What if I’ve been made redundant?
- Bringing a claim for wrongful dismissal
- What if I've been discriminated against?
- What are my rights if I work part-time?
- What are my rights if I’m having a baby?
- Can I take leave as a new father?
- What are my rights if I'm adopting a child?
- Can I change my working arrangements if I have children?
- Can I change my working arrangements if I care for an adult?
- Can I take time off if I am someone's carer?
- Further help with employment law
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