Due to the current credit crunch i have to work two jobs. I have to do three nights at a hospital and was also doing 37 hours in a childrens home. Due to having a rolling rota I was not getting any time off between jobs or at best having one day off. I asked my boss in the childrens home if i could dropp down to 2 long days (14 1/2 hours each) and lose a 7 1/2 hour shift. He has told me that it was up to me to have two jobs and that i should manage my time better, I also have to continue doing my contracted hours of 37 hours? This means that quite often i finish my third nightshift in hospital at 7.30am (11 hour shift) and then have to start a shift at the childrens home by 3pm which i have to work to until 10.30pm . What is the law about leaving a certain amount of time between shifts. Not only is it not safe to not have adequate sleep after a night shift but i feel my health is starting to suffer (and i only get basic sick pay of £28.50 per week!!)
Please can you tell me where to stand and if my boss can make me work my contracted hours..
Welcome to HR Space. You pose a very interesting question (well, interesting is a matter of perspective of course!).
Without going into the nitty gritty of the Working Time Regulations there are four things which affect you here that you need to consider - the 48 hour rule, the daily rest rules, the weekly rest and the rules relating to night shift work.
48 hour rule
You should not be working more than 48 hours per week on average unless you have signed an opt-out. Normally this means that if you work for a single employer then you would only need to sign the opt out if you worked more than 48 hours per week for him. In your case you have two employers and if you have not signed an opt out with either of them then they could legally cut your hours to ensure that you did not do more than 48 on average (obviously to do this you would need to have disclosed what hours you work with one employer to the other).
Daily & Weekly Rest
The WTR sets out what breaks you should have between shifts and between weeks. Again, with a single employer this is easy to monitor. Where you have two employers then the onus is on you to ensure that you get sufficient rest. Your children's home boss is correct in opne respect - you are the one with two jobs so it is up to you to manage your time, but it is not quite so simple for him. Although there is no requirement on him to keep records of your hours he is now aware of the fact that you are working excessive hours each week. There is a health and safety requirement for him to make sure that you do not put yourself or your colleagues/charges at risk and so he could take steps to ask you to cut your hours at the hospital. Equally, if the hospital become aware that you are working excessive hours then they could take steps to reduce those hours.
If you are working the night shift at the hospital then they are obliged to give you a health check (usually in the form of a general health questionnaire). As part of this there is also a general requirement on you to speak up if working at night is affecting your health. You really need to tell the hospital about the hours you are working during the day and the fact that you are not getting rest/time between shifts.
On top of all of this is the Health & Safety at Work Act. You have a legal duty to make sure that your actions do not put yourself or others at risk. You have already identified that you feel your health is suffering and that you could be a risk to others. If you cause an accident whilst in this state then your could be prosecuted by the HSE.
Your original question was about what your boss can make you do. Currently you are contracted to 37.5 hours at the children's home. If you are unable to meet that requirement then there is no standing obligation on your boss to change the hours (and I certainly would not recommend allowing employees working a 14.5 hour day to any employer). You can ask the question, but the basis of your request is that you want to maintain your hours for another employer - not really an incentive to get him on your side!
To be honest if your boss had posted on the forum asking for advice I would have told him to look at reducing your hours and if that was not possible then to tell you to cut your hours at the hospital. To allow you to carry on working the hours you describe is dangerous and if anything were to happen to you he risks being blamed as he knew what you were doing.
The children's home is your main employer and with that comes an expectation that you will commit your working time to them. If you do not want to do that then perhaps you need to find another role that fits better with the night shifts you do.
Hope this helps.
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