Should my contract of employment stipulate what days I should work?

The written statement of particulars of employment, which should be given to employees within one month 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, including the normal working days. If your employer wants to be able to require you to work on other days, this needs to be stated in the contract. The policy on overtime should also be made clear.

There are special arrangements for Sunday working.

Recent years have seen an explosion in employment contracts without a minimum number of guaranteed hours (including ‘zero hour’ contracts), up from 1.7 million in 2016 to 1.8 million in 2017. In this type of arrangement, “normal working hours” are typically described as “to be agreed”, “as required”, or even “zero”, leaving workers with no ability to predict their hours or earnings from one week to the next, and at the mercy of bad employers.

Two-thirds of workers polled by the TUC would prefer a contract with guaranteed hours, and almost three-quarters have been offered hours with less than 24 hours’ notice. If you feel insecure at work, it is a good idea to join a union. The best way to deal with bad treatment at work is often to work together with other workers to get a better deal. Browse our Unionfinder tool to find the most appropriate union for you.

From April 2020, the information that must be included in the written statement will be tightened up, and all workers (not just employees) will be entitled to a statement from the first day of their job. 

In particular, from April 2020, employers will have to tell all workers from day one of their job about any terms and conditions about normal working hours and working days, any variation to those hours and days and how that variation is to be decided, and how long the job is expected to last.

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.

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