HR Expert: The impact of daylight savings
My client has recently taken over the running of a care home, which of course is staffed 24 hours. The question has arisen, what to do about the clock change happening at the weekend? As we ‘spring forward’ an extra hour, what does my client need to consider and how will it impact their employees?

On Sunday 26 March 2023, the clocks will go forward one hour at 1am, when the UK moves to British Summer Time (sometimes called Daylight Saving Time). Most people usually miss when the clocks actually change, although there will no doubt be the brief moment of confusion in the morning when we try to work out what the time actually is.

For some, however, such as your clients’ employees who are working overnight from Saturday 25 March to Sunday 26 March, they will see and feel the effects of this. Below, we outline what your client should do do for those staff affected.

Impact on pay and working hours

Firstly, your client should attempt to find out what has happened in the past, if this is a newly acquired existing business, as this may help them to decide what to do now. Technically, the effect of the clocks going forward by an hour is that employees will be working an hour less in their shift; for example, an employee working an eight-hour shift will actually only work for seven hours.

Payment for this time will come down to what is written in the contract of employment, so your client will need to check this carefully. If it sets out that the worker is entitled to hourly pay, paid for every hour they work, then they will only receive payment for seven hours. If, however, the employee is salaried, they will more than likely receive their usual pay regardless of whether they work one hour less. This is because a salaried employee is more likely than an hourly paid employee to be required to work extra hours without additional pay and to be entitled to pay even if they work fewer hours.

Be consistent

Subject to any contractual constraints, it is up to your client how they deal with this matter as long as they are consistent and fair in their decision. They may, for example, ask the employees to work an extra hour or simply “write it off”.

Be prepared

Employees due to work when the clocks go forward should be reminded that this will happen and told how your client will be dealing with it. In particular, those due to start work early on Sunday morning are most likely to be caught out, so a reminder of the rules on lateness would be appropriate, as well as encouraging them to prepare for the change.

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