Should my contract of employment specify what hours I should work?

The written statement of particulars of employment, which should be given to employees within two months of starting work, should include "details of terms and conditions of employment relating to hours of work and normal working hours."

In order to avoid confusion, normal hours should be specified, such as '8 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday excluding an hour for lunch'. Sometimes the employer may wish to retain some flexibility and add something like "or any other such hours as the company reasonably deems necessary". It is in your interests that the contract is as specific as possible. The policy on overtime should also be made clear.

The precise details of the hours of work are between you and your employer, as long as they comply with the Working Time Regulations and the obligation to pay you at least the National Minimum Wage.

If you work annualised hours, a normal working week's hours should still be stated so that, for example, holiday pay can be correctly calculated.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.