Establish your legal rights
Sometimes management may need to change your shift pattern. For example, to balance staffing levels, meet the needs of the service, or because the opening times of your workplace are changing. The shift pattern change may affect just you or other colleagues as well.
When told that your shift pattern may change it is important to establish your legal rights. Your contract of employment or local policy may allow your employer to change your shift pattern if they follow the correct process. For example, your contract may only specify the number of hours you work per week while requiring you to 'work flexibly to meet the needs of the department' or similar. Your contract may also state that, provided you are given a fixed amount of notice, your working pattern can be changed.
If you have the legal right to continue working to your existing shift pattern, please discuss this with your employer. Please contact us if the issue cannot be resolved and read our advice on contracts.
If you do not have this right, please follow the guidance below. For further support, especially if you are unsure about your contract of employment, contact us on 0345 772 6100.
You could also submit a flexible working request, especially if the changes affect your childcare or caring responsibilities.
Please note, if you work in the NHS and are asked to change your shift at short notice you may be entitled to a change payment of £15. Please see section 2.25 (England and Wales) or section 2.23 (Scotland and Northern Ireland) of the Agenda for Change document for more information.