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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49816
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am currently employed full time and have been with the

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I am currently employed full time and have been with the company for 16 months.
One of my colleagues is off sick next week and my manager would like me to work the saturday shift. However, I have been on the rota for the Monday-friday shift and have plans. This has only just happened, We know the rota many months in advance.
I have checked my employment contract and it does say 'You will be required to work flexible patterns that may include weekends and evening, no additional payments will be made'.
'Work at weekends, evenings will form part of the average working weekly time'.
I have been scheduled for months to have this saturday off, and they have only given me 9 days notice. I know this seems a lot, but i have plans.What are my rights with this? I don't have a problem working Saturdays but I have been scheduled off for that saturday on the rota for months and they only want me to work this particular one because my colleague is sick.
I definately am not working that Saturday, what are my rights? I'm asking as I haven't yet told them i'm not doing it, i'm going to tell them tomorrow. I assume because we are given the rota months in advance, it is unreasonable to change this just 9 days before a shift?
Gregory Mahony
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just to update that i do work every couple of saturdays and it's not a problem but I'm always given advance notice. They want me to work an additional saturday due to sickness.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. What is the usual notice one may get if they were to cover sickness or holidays? Please note that I am due offline shortly but will pick this up first thing in the morning.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Ben, there is no usual notice period for covering sickness, It's just upto management to look at the rota and discuss it in advance. I'm just concerned if i say I am unable to do this particular shift that they will mention the contract of employment that mentions 'flexible working hours including weekends etc'.
The rota we go by is currently done until the 1st September, usually i work 1 in 3 saturdays and for the past year it's been 1 saturday working, 2 saturdays off. I know the contract states flexible time, so It's difficult but I'm concerned they will try to force me to work this extra saturday. That means working two saturdays in a row which is unusual.

The law is relatively silent on this matter. For example, there are no defined minimum notice periods in law which an employer must give to ask you to work a specific day or to change your rota. Their ability to do so and the notice periods required will be defined in the contract. It essentially allows the employer to determine what your rights in such a situation would be by defining these in your contract or a relevant workplace policy.

One main issue for you here is your length of service, because with less than 2 years’ service you are not protected against unfair dismissal. This unfortunately means that the employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason and without following a fair procedure. So worst case scenario here – you do not do the shift as requested and in turn the employer decides to treat this as a misconduct matter and terminates your employment. You would not be able to challenge that, regardless of what is in the contract.

So I suggest you approach the employer, explain that you cannot do the shift and that this is due to you having already made plans due to the already published rota and apologise for your unavailability. They may not be happy still and could issue you with a warning but I hope that this soft approach will avoid a potential dismissal.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.

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