Working Hours and Overtime

Many people seem to work all the hours that God sends, with overtime coming out of their ears left right and centre.

If you are one of these people or know someone that works all these hours, you might want to know a little bit more about overtime, entitlements, notice to perform overtime and whether you should get paid more, less or the same as your ordinary social hours pay rate.

This is quite a complicated area, so this just looks at a couple of key areas in the UK, those requiring detailed information are recommended to look at the DirectGov UK website.

The first point of reference should always be your contract which will state your contracted number of hours and working patterns. You must be given written details of your work within two months of starting.

Long Hours

Another common query is 'how many hours can I work?'

Well, the government has decreed under the working time regulations the answer is 'no more than an average of 48 hours per week', calculated over a 17 week period of time. So you can work more than that one week as long as you work less in another week to compensate.

Note that there are special rules for certain jobs like trainee doctors (who seem famously known for working all the hours there are in the day!)

Opting Out

Adding to the complexity is that you can opt out of the 48 hour limit if you are over 18. This should be voluntary.

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