Working over Contracted Hours Uk

Working Over Contracted Hours UK: What Employees and Employers Need to Know

In the United Kingdom, the legal working hours are set at 48 hours per week. However, many employees often find themselves working beyond their contracted hours due to various reasons such as increased workload, deadlines, and unexpected events. While some companies may encourage their workers to put in extra hours, others may not compensate them for the additional time they put in. This can lead to confusion and even legal disputes between employees and employers. In this article, we will explore what working over contracted hours in the UK entails, the rights of employees, and the responsibilities of employers.

What are Contracted Hours?

Contracted hours refer to the number of hours an employee is expected to work according to their employment contract. This may include standard working hours, overtime, and any other specific conditions agreed upon by the employer and the employee. Employers are obligated to provide their workers with a written statement of their employment terms, which should include the contracted hours.

Working Over Contracted Hours

Working over contracted hours refers to the time an employee spends working beyond their agreed-upon working hours. This can include overtime, working during weekends or holidays, or simply staying late to complete a task. While some employers may offer overtime pay or time off in lieu for additional hours worked, others may not.

Employers` Responsibilities regarding Working Over Contracted Hours

Employers have a legal obligation to ensure that their employees` working hours comply with the Working Time Regulations 1998. This includes ensuring that their workers do not exceed 48 hours per week on average, including any overtime worked. Employers are also required to provide their employees with adequate rest breaks and limit night work for those who work at night.

If an employee works over their contracted hours, employers are obligated to compensate them appropriately, either through overtime pay or time off in lieu. Employers should also ensure that their employees are not pressured to work beyond their contracted hours and should take steps to ensure that their workload is reasonable.

Employees` Rights Regarding Working Over Contracted Hours

Employees have the right to refuse to work beyond their contracted hours. However, this may not be possible in certain situations, such as during an emergency or when there is an urgent deadline. If an employee is asked to work overtime, they should be informed of the reason for the additional hours and the compensation they will receive for working beyond their contracted hours. If an employee is not compensated for their additional hours, they can file a complaint with their employer or seek legal action.


Working over contracted hours can be beneficial for both employers and employees, provided it is managed correctly. It can help companies meet their deadlines and increase productivity, but it should not be at the expense of the well-being of their workers. Employers should ensure that their employees are not pressured to work beyond their contracted hours and that they are compensated fairly for their extra efforts. Similarly, employees should be aware of their rights and responsibilities and should communicate effectively with their employers regarding working over contracted hours.

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