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Working hours & days in the UK.

Learn about the working hours and days in the UK thanks to Horizons’ up-to-date guide.

Horizons is where real, local hiring expertise meets world-class customer service. Quickly and compliantly hire employees in more than 150 countries worldwide, without the need to open a local entity.

What are the standard working hours in the UK?

Anything between 35 and 40 hours is considered to be standard working hours in the United Kingdom. The most common working hours in the UK are 37.5 hours per week.

What are the standard working days in the UK?

Standard working days for most industries in the United Kingdom are Monday to Friday. For some industries like retail, weekend working is considered standard.

How many hours can you work per week in the UK?

Employees can work up to 48 hours on a standard contract, although most contracts are 40 hours or less.

Employees that want to work more than 48 hours a week will need to opt-out of the Working Time Directive. Employers cannot terminate an employee or otherwise treat them unfairly if they do not wish to opt-out of the Working Time Directive. Employees can opt back in to the Working Time Directive with 7 days notice to their employer.

How many hours is part-time work in the UK?

In the UK, there is no specific number of hours that determines if someone is full or part-time, but working for 35 hours or more is generally considered as full-time. anything below 35 hours per week is considered part time.

How many hours is overtime in the UK?

Overtime is generally worked out on a case by case basis. Overtime is only compulsory if stipulated in the employment contract, and employees cannot be required to work more than 48 hours per week unless they opt-out of the Working Time Directive.

Where overtime is in the contract, there are 3 compensation options:

  • Contract stipulates no overtime pay. In this case, average pay for the total hours worked by the employee must not fall below national minimum wage.
  • Overtime pay: paid at a set rate stipulated in the contract.
  • Time off in lieu.

Is it illegal to work on the weekend in the UK?

It is not illegal to work on the weekend in the UK.

Does the UK have a four-day work?

A 4 day work week is not standard in the UK, but some employers are currently trialling a 4 day work week in the UK, and it is seen as a desirable benefit by most employees in the UK.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ):

Overtime should not cause an employee’s weekly hours to exceed 48, unless they have opted out of the working Time Directive.

Employers do not have to pay workers for overtime, but you must ensure that employee’s average pay for the total hours worked does not fall below the National Minimum Wage.

Although not a legal requirement, overtime in the UK often attracts a premium rate higher than the employee’s normal hourly rate. However, there is no legal requirement to pay an enhanced rate for overtime. Overtime conditions are subject to contractual agreement, so employers should ensure that employment contracts stipulate what rate, if any, is paid for overtime.

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