Do staff lose an hours’ pay when clocks go forward?

  • Employment Contract
Alan Price - Peninsula's Chief Operations Officer and CEO of BrightHR

Alan Price, Chief Operations Officer

(Last updated )

It’s that time of year again. As we jump into spring, time jumps with us. This Easter weekend (1am on Sunday 31st March to be exact), we all ‘lose’ an hour of our day. But what does this mean for the working day?

There’ll be employees working a night shift when the clocks go forward. And technically, they’ll be working an hour short.

This begs the questions: do you have to pay staff the same pay for less work? And can you ask your staff to work an extra hour?

Here’s what you need to consider…

Are your staff on an hourly or fixed daily rate?

The first thing to consider is whether you pay your employees on an hourly or fixed daily rate.

If you pay your employees by the hour, their pay will vary whenever their working hours do.

Or, if your employee is always contracted to work between set times, you might pay them a fixed salary for that timeframe. So, even if they don’t work for the same amount of time, their pay doesn't change.

If you’re not sure which one applies to your staff, you need to check their employment contract.

To learn how pay entitlement differs between salaried and hourly paid staff, tap below for an instant answer on Brainbox:

What’s in the contract?

The wording in the contract matters.

If your employee’s contract specifies the number of hours they should work, they should finish work at their usual time. It doesn’t matter if they’ve technically lost an hour. This would be the case if your staff are on zero-hour contracts.

If the contract specifies that the employee works within a timeframe, they should start and leave at those specific times. This applies even if they’ve worked an hour less.

So, if your employee is entitled to 35 hours’ pay each week, for example, you’ll need to pay that – even if they’ve only worked 34. If you want to change this, you’ll need to amend your contract.

Asking staff to work longer

Imagine your employee clocks off at 8am – but, as they haven’t worked their usual amount, you need them to stay an extra hour.

You’re paying staff for a full shift – but they haven’t completed their usual eight hours’ work. And if you have targets to hit, this could be an issue.

If you want your employee to work the extra hour, consider asking them to do paid overtime or give them time off in lieu. This means they can bank an hours’ holiday to use at another time – like if they want to leave early on a different day.

Alternatively, you can allow them to work the shorter shift but ask them to work the extra hour when the clocks go back in October. This evens out any lost time.

Watch out for these pitfalls

Keep in mind that – unless they’ve opted out of the maximum weekly limit – your staff shouldn’t work above 48 hours each week. So, if you need to ask staff to work an hour longer, check whether this would breach this rule.

Their wages also can’t fall below the national minimum wage rate. If you pay staff by the hour, their average hourly rate could slip below the legal requirement if they work any longer.

You choose how to treat the lost hour

If it’s not a contractual obligation, whether you pay staff for the lost hour is up to you.  

But whatever you decide, you may need to amend staff contracts – and we’re here to help. For watertight staff contracts, call your Peninsula advisers today or discover expert documentation support.

Related articles

  • minimum wage increase


    Low Pay Commission reviews evidence for 2025 minimum wage

    The Low Pay Commission (LPC), the independent body which advises the Government on the levels of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), including the National Living Wage (NLW), has launched a call for evidence to inform its advice to the Government on the minimum wage in 2025 and beyond.

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Pay & Benefits
  • Company fined


    Worker suffers life-changing injuries at metal processing company

    A metal processing company has been fined £12,000 following an incident that inflicted life-changing injuries on one of its workers

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Grievance
  • minimum wage increase


    National Living Wage increase creates risks for employers

    Clear risks remain for employers as meeting legal national living wage obligations can be much more complex than simply paying a worker the correct rate per hour

    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Pay & Benefits
Back to resource hub

Explore free webcasts

Watch leading HR and Health & Safety experts unpack your biggest workplace issues, live

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.