#WorkMakesMe image


Staff Squared date icon30th September 2016

Tag iconOperations

We all struggle, from time to time, with the thought of going to work.

At the end of a week on the beach or Bank Holiday weekend, it can be particularly difficult to walk back into the office.

Some have the careers that they’ve always dreamed of. Even then, they’d often rather be at home.

For a majority, a job pays the bills and will never be anything special.

Work will never compare to a lazy afternoon sitting by the stream enjoying picnic with your toddler, or a night in the bar with your friends, but what’s a healthy dislike of work and what’s something to raise the alarm about?

Is it right that these are Google’s most popular suggestions?

Have we created a culture where it’s normal to hate your job?

Have you heard of Hump Day?

It’s a nickname given to Wednesday.

Having a Hump Day implies that you spend Monday and Tuesday miserably climbing to the top of the hill, but once you’ve reached Wednesday you’ll be racing back to the weekend.

On Facebook and Twitter, you’ll come across dozens of posts about how hard Monday morning can be.
Here are a few quotes that you might recognise:

  • “In three hours, I’ll have five hours left.”
  • “If I died and went straight to hell, it would take me a week to realise I wasn’t at work any more.”
  • “Oh, so you hate your job? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY.”
  • “Can’t enjoy Sunday. Too anxious thinking about Monday.”
  • “One does not simply be happy on a Sunday night”.

We’re constantly bombarded with messages about miserable Sunday nights. We’re told that it’s normal to be desperate for the end of the working day, as soon as you’ve stepped into the workplace.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the belief that everyone hates their job.

Is it time to speak out and get help?

Nobody should have a panic attack thinking about work. You shouldn’t be lying in bed, crying into your pillow, after a hard day in the office.
Some jobs are more emotionally draining than others.

Hearing a desperate 999 call and trying to keep a mother calm will never be the same as serving customers at a toy shop, but good mental health should not be sacrificed to pay your monthly bills.

We asked people to speak out about the things that they find hard at work. All of these are real quotes from real people like you, with their identities protected.

How many of these can you relate to?

We hope to get you thinking about your own #WorkMakesMe experience.

Natalie says:

 “I get so upset and worried. I’m not understood.
I went part-time due to health problems. I’m being bullied and it makes my life hell.
I’m getting nasty comments on Facebook, so it’s followed me home.
The job is great, but I’m miserable when I think about work. I’m constantly wondering what they’ll blame me for next.
When I had to go off sick, I was treated like I was letting them all down because they had to work harder. I was told I was a slacker.
It’s not the manager doing this. It’s the other members of staff, making me feel like I’m ruining work for them because they have to cover for me”.

Our response:

It’s hard enough to be bullied at work. Now that we’re all online, this bullying can follow us home.

Workplace bullying isn’t acceptable. It can lead to depression.

The Workplace Bullying Institute, over in the US, found in 2012 that 52% of people experience panic attacks as a result. 49% were diagnosed with clinical depression. 29% of the 1000 respondents said that they had thought about suicide.

There is no clear definition of workplace bullying, but if it is impacting on your health then it is important to talk about what’s happening.

First, check your company’s bullying and harassment policy. This might feature in an employee manual, rather than as a separate document. If you can’t find it, ask someone in HR for a copy.

A company policy will outline how your employer deals with workplace bullying. It will tell you what step to take next. You will probably need to have a conversation with your manager or the HR team.

Keep a diary of every incident. Record the date, time, who was involved and what happened. Be sure to also mention any witnesses. If you are being bullied on social media, take screenshots to keep as evidence.

In an ideal world, all workplace bullying would be resolved informally. A conversation with your manager may be enough to make a bully stop and think about their behaviour. You may need some form of mediation, with third party intervention.

Of course, if you’re being bullied by a group then it might be harder to stop.

If the bullying is not dealt with, there are further steps that you can take.

You can make a formal complaint, in writing. The company that you work for is legally responsible for acting on any complaints. They have the right to follow the dismissal process, to remove a workplace bully if the situation cannot be resolved.

If a formal complaint is not enough, you can take legal action at an employment tribunal.

The Acas helpline could provide you with the information that you need to stop workplace bullying, or at least ensure that the bullies don’t get away with their behaviour. Call Acas on 0300 123 1100.

Lianne says:

 “I constantly feel stressed.
I’m the last link in the chain. Other teams don’t keep to the timescales, so I don’t have sufficient time within my working day.”

Our response:

When you’re given too much work, the pressure quickly piles on.

Many people find themselves staying late to get things finished, or spending their time at home feeling guilty.

It is important to remember that, if you are working to the best of your ability, then your workload is not your fault.

Remember not to blame other employees. They may be as overwhelmed as you. If everyone along the chain is struggling, then the problem is compounded by the time it reaches you. Others may have the same issue, which indicates that workload pressures are happening across the board.

UK law states that you cannot work more than 48 hours per week, on average. Some weeks may be busier than others, but you should not be working more than 48 hours each week. If you are staying late, it may be that you are being pushed over this limit.

Also remember to look at the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. If you are not being paid for any extra hours that you do, then your wage or salary will be spread over a longer working week. It’s possible that you’re earning less per hour than you should be.

Once the practicalities are covered, the problem must be dealt with. It may be that you are not working extra hours, but feel continually stressed through the day.

This can be one of the hardest problems to deal with. How do you prove that it is a workload issue, and not that you’re working too slowly?
Keep a work diary, showing what you’re doing and when, to use as evidence if it’s requested.

When you receive a piece of work, write down what is involved and how close you are to the deadline. Unrealistic expectations will quickly show up on paper.

Arrange a meeting with your manager. They’ll need to be made aware. Ideally, they’ll take action to reduce your workload immediately.
If your manager can’t immediately reduce your workload, then they should take time to find out what is causing a delay. Is it an excessive workload at the start of the chain, a series of slightly late deliveries adding up over time, or one person letting the team down?

A written complaint is often needed to encourage an employer to take action.

It may be that your employer will need to hire more permanent or temporary staff, or could require freelance workers and outsourcing agreements. Alternatively, a better solution may be a change to processes or training to improve staff efficiency.

If you are a member of a union, they may be able to support you with complaints about workload.

Debora says:

 “I do enjoy working, but I often think it’s not worth it.
I have a toddler, and the stress of getting her ready and making her eat her lunch, then getting her to nursery and rushing to work, is all just too much!
I have to fit in all of the jobs at home, plus caring for and teaching my daughter, and I feel rushed all the time. I constantly have one eye on the clock, and when my toddler is ill I dread calling my manager just to receive comments about my lack of childcare.”

Our response:

The work/life balance is difficult enough, without children added in to the mix.

Many parents wonder if being employed is really worth it.

Being a working mum, or a working dad, can mean that you’re missing out on milestones and quality time with your child. It’s a situation made worse when you’re spending so much on childcare, paying someone else to look after your child with the money that you’ve earned in the workplace.

From a financial perspective, the first thing to do is make sure that you’re claiming any support that you’re entitled to.

Does your workplace provide a childcare voucher scheme?

Many companies can give their employees childcare vouchers, up to a value of £55 per week. This is an alternative to cash, so it reduces how much you are paid but will be tax-free and National Insurance exempt. You could save more than £800 per year, if you make use of childcare vouchers.

When your child is ill, your employer must give you reasonable time off. This does not mean that they give you the full day off to care for your child, but should give you an hour or two to make alternative arrangements. You should also get time off for a visit to your GP.

If you have to take further time off, your employer may require that you use your annual leave or sick day allowance to cover it.

Your employer doesn’t need to pay you for time off when you’re caring for your child. Some choose to, but it isn’t a requirement.

If your child is at school or nursery, and you receive a call and need to go and see them, then you can leave work for an hour or two.

Your employer might not be happy with any time off that you have to take, but they should not discriminate against you because you have a dependent. This means that they must continue to treat you fairly and cannot dismiss you as a result. Your employer will also need to agree to any required time off, as long as it isn’t unreasonable.

You may evaluate and decide that time away from your child, and the stress of balancing family life, is simply not worth your take-home pay. If that’s the case, it could be time to hand in your notice.

A career break is a reasonable option, and your partner may even be able to negotiate a slightly higher wage. Read on for tips that could help you to keep your household income on track.

Amy says:

 “Money issues are affecting me.
I don’t feel that I’m earning enough for what I do, and I’m struggling with debt at the moment.
I’m not sure how to ask my manager for a pay rise.
I’m finding things even worse because I’ve discovered that another member of my team is earning more than me.”

Our response:

Whilst debt problems aren’t strictly a work issue, they can certainly affect you in the workplace.

The stress of dealing with debt will spill into every area of your life.

It can be hard to ask your manager for a salary review or pay rise, even if you know that others on your team are earning more for doing the same work.

You may feel that you need your employer to know that you’re struggling financially. You may even be considering looking elsewhere for work, in search of a higher wage.

First, it may help to know that you have a right to equal pay. This means that your employer should pay you the same amount as others that do the same job. Unfortunately, it isn’t that straight forward. Even with the same job title and job role on paper, two people may do slightly different tasks.

An employer can also, legally, recruit someone new at a higher starting salary. If you’ve been working at a company for a while, then there is a good chance that a new recruit is earning more money than you.

If you are being paid less than your colleague sitting next to you, who was employed at the same time and is doing the same work, then you have a right to ask for equal pay. This includes the right to claim backdated payments for up to six years.

A union representative may be able to help with pay negotiations, if you can’t convince your employer on your own.

If your employer refuses all negotiations, then you may be able to take legal action with an employment tribunal.

Rights don’t always need to come into the discussion. Negotiating a pay rise is still an option, even without legal entitlement.

Before asking for a salary review, you should have statistics about the average market salary and why you are a valuable employee. Figures make all the difference.

If you can’t negotiate a pay increase, would you be happy being offered paid overtime or given permission to take a second job?

Elaine says:

 “A lack of appreciation is a big issue.
I feel like the work I’m doing isn’t appreciated, which is really bad for motivation and, honestly, it has an impact on customer service.
There’s a real lack of company direction. Even when I do the work, the goalposts often change. Suddenly, something that was important last week is never going to be used. It means that I waste hours on a project that’s abandoned.  And I never get thanked for any of it.”

Our response:

Some people don’t care about what their employer does with their work, as long as they’re being paid for it. But for most, doing work for no reason can have a very negative impact.

Many people feel undervalued and believe that their time has been wasted. Often it’s not about the time, but the mental effort put into a piece of work that’s simply discarded or ‘set aside for later’.

If people don’t feel good about what they’re doing at work, it’s reflected in their productivity. They’ll learn to care less and do less, because 100% effort has never been appreciated. Then, these workers feel guilty and upset. Nobody likes losing motivation!

Unfortunately, there are no laws stating that your employer needs to wander over and say “thanks” once in a while, or that they have to use every piece of work that you do.

Many people quit their jobs and move elsewhere, as a result of being underappreciated.

Speaking to your boss could be awkward. You probably don’t want to ask them to praise or reward you, but if they don’t see a problem then they definitely won’t be able to fix it. See if others are feeling the same, because this will show your boss that you’re not alone in your thinking.

If you are tackling this situation alone, ask your employer if there is anything that is not meeting their expectations. This will alert them to the problem, whilst potentially alerting you to goals and areas for improvement.

What’s your #WorkMakesMe?

How does your job make you feel?

Do you spring out of bed on a Monday, excited for what’s to come, or do you hit the ‘snooze’ button and wish that you could hide away forever?

Whether it’s positive or negative, we want to hear YOUR #WorkMakesMe today.

Written by Sue Crow

Office Manager - Staff Squared

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Helping to build a healthier, more consumer-friendly tech ecosystem

Staff Squared date icon1st November 2018

Tag iconTech

Where there is great power there is great responsibility – Winston Churchill, 1906.

Twitter, Facebook et al have succeeded in connecting people all around the world in ways that we could never have imagined only a decade ago.   With just over 2 billion people on Facebook alone, the platform is a central repository of data the likes of which the world has never seen before. Even the much less popular Twitter still boasts 336 million accounts.

While social media companies benefit immensely from this data and generate billions of dollars in revenue from it, they have not taken the steps necessary to secure it.  This is evidenced by the vast number of data breaches reported in recent years, including the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Staff Squared strongly believes technology companies have a responsibility to balance their business interests with protecting their users’ privacy.    Safeguarding your information while contributing to a healthy, consumer-friendly network is important to us.   For those reasons, we’ve decided to stop engaging on these platforms.  While we can’t give up our pages as another person or company could take them, we will no longer contribute content and advertising on Facebook and Twitter.

We believe social media has plenty of uses for good causes.  We’ll remain hopeful that the promises made to improve privacy settings is taken seriously so that the web and people can continue to benefit from the social good of social media.

You can continue to read our tips and expert knowledge on HR via our blog.  Subscribe to our newsletter for our latest thinking, or drop us a line at customercare@staffsquared.com for enquires and support.  The time we save not propping up these platforms will be invested in driving Staff Squared forward and continuing to deliver the great products and service our customers have come to expect from us.

Written by Simon Swords

Managing Director - Staff Squared

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Are you compliant with work break laws?

Staff Squared date icon15th October 2018

Tag iconOperations

Work break laws are overseen by the Working Time Directive and your employee’s contract of employment.  At first glance, they seem relatively simple for your average adult worker, but become increasingly complex as you take a closer look at exceptions and considerations.

As part of our spotlight on Working Time Directive we’ve reviewed the 48 hour maximum and opting-out of the limit.  In this blog we turn our attention to your work break laws and your responsibilities so you can be sure you’re doing what’s legally right.

First, let’s quickly review what counts as work

“Working time” is defined by the Working Time Directive as any period when the worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his or her duties.

What counts as work

  • normal duties
  • job-related training
  • job-related travelling time (e.g. as a sales rep)
  • working lunches (e.g. business lunches)
  • time spent working abroad
  • paid and some unpaid overtime
  • time spent on-call at the workplace
  • travel time for mobile employees with no fixed place of work (also called Peripatetic workers)

What doesn’t count as work

  • breaks when no work is done (e.g. lunch breaks)
  • commuting to and from work
  • time when they are on-call away from the workplace
  • unpaid overtime that they have volunteered for (e.g. staying late to finish something off)
  • paid or unpaid holiday

Know your types of breaks

You have a responsibility to make sure that what counts as work does not exceed 48 hours  and that your employees are receiving the correct amount of rest, daily and weekly breaks during their defined working time.

Rest breaks

In general, workers over the age of 18 have the right to 20 minutes rest when working more than 6 hours per day.  A lunch, tea or smoke break can count as a rest break.

The 20 minute rest can’t be split into two 10 minute breaks.  The right to rest after 6 hours is an entitlement to only one block of time unless your employment contract says so.

There’s no statutory right to ‘smoking breaks’.  Employers are not required to give smoking breaks on top of the usual breaks.  Smokers aren’t entitled to more favorable treatment under work break laws.  While it could be an unfavorable stance to not grant them extra time, it might be necessary to avoid hostility amongst employees.

There’s no legislation pertaining to a worker’s right to take religious breaks.  Like smokers, employees have no legal rights to additional religions breaks.  Still, religion is one of the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010.  Meaning if an employer does refuse a request for religious breaks, they must ensure that they’re not treating them less favourably than employees of another religion.

There is no opt-out permitted.   Whether on an individual basis or by virtue of a collective or workforce agreement.

You can decide when it’s taken… The fact that you’re legally entitled to schedule the break is a hotly contested topic.  There have been cases where the Employment Tribunal ruled against an employer who organised an employee’s work hours so that they break was scheduled at the end of their shift.  You should make arrangements to schedule it somewhere in the middle to avoid

but not where it’s spent. They are entitled to spend the time from their workstation and away from the the premises.

For some special cases of worker, entitlement to breaks does not apply. This class of worker must be allowed:

  • where possible, to take an equivalent period of compensatory rest; or
  • where not possible, offered protection to safeguard their health and safety.
  • This is known as compensatory rest.

Daily breaks

Adult workers have the right to a break of at least 11 hours in each 24 hour period during which they work.  For example, if they finish work at 7pm, they can’t start work again until 6am the following day.

Weekly breaks

Adult workers have the right to 24 hours clear of work each week or 48 hours clear each fortnight.  Put another way, you’re required to grant one weekly rest period at some point during each seven-day period.

Therefore, your employee could work up to 12 consecutive days if the weekly rest periods were granted on the first day of the first seven-day period and the last day of the following seven-day period.

Exclusions and special circumstances to work break laws

As is the case with every Working Time Directive provision, there are a number of exclusions.

  • Workers in an industry with busy peak periods, like agriculture, retail or tourism
  • Workers in industries with 24 hour staffing requirement. For example, those who work in the Armed Forces, security or surveillance-based work, health care services, emergency services or law enforcement.
  • Workers who work with sea, road, or air transport are excluded from the rest break rules. However, there are usually other regulations that apply to these sectors.
  • a job where they freely choose what hours they work (like a managing director) or where the work is not measured (ie no set hours)

Instead of getting normal breaks, these workers are entitled to ‘compensatory rest’. This is rest taken later the same day or the following working day.

Young or adolescent workers

Workers under the age of 18, but over school leaving age (he/she is under school leaving age until the end of summer term of the school year in which you they 16) are classified as a ‘young worker’.

Over 18

Young workers

20 minutes for 6 hours

30 minutes for 4.5 hours

Daily  11 hours 12 hours


24 hours

48 hours


 You’re not obligated to pay for breaks.  Whether or not it is paid will depend on the terms of the employment contract.

Record keeping

There is no requirement under the Working Time Directive for employers to keep records of rest breaks or rest periods.

Nevertheless, a well-rested workforce is happy, engaged and better performing

Technology has given us more flexibility in work than ever.  Workers are increasingly working remotely and aren’t constrained by working hours.  We’re also in an era where retention and staff engagement is critical.  To attract talent and keep staff working effectively and healthy, employers will often promote work-life balance.  Workers however, are then left to their own to set breaks.

Very few will take the full break, or choose to skip it altogether.  This leads to a whole host of mental and physical consequences.  Meanwhile, the benefits of time out are endless – lower stress levels, boost concentration and productivity, reduce sickness absence and healthy weight levels.

So aim to create a culture where taking breaks is the norm.  Encourage them to go outside, stock the kitchen and lead by example.  Your team will be energized and engaged even when work is challenging.  Meanwhile, your business will reap the rewards.

If not for these motivations, do it because of your legal obligations and not doing so can have consequences!

Contact ACAS for more details and exceptions on the Working Time Directive and rest breaks.

Written by Clarisse Levitan

Customer Care Team - Staff Squared

Clarisse works on our Customer Care Team to provide all of our customers to the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.

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Working Time Directive : Opting-out of 48 Hour Weekly Maximum image

Working Time Directive : Opting-out of 48 Hour Weekly Maximum

Staff Squared date icon4th October 2018

Tag iconOperations

One of the most contentious issues in Employment Law is the Working Time Directive.   With Brexit looming, there is no certainty what will happen to worker’s rights across the UK after March 2019.   Despite this, the UK government continues to emphasize that they firmly believe in the importance of strong labour protections.  It remains crucial that companies continue to comply with Working Time Directive. Failing to do so can result in a costly employment tribunal.

Last week we took a closer look at the 48-hour maximum work week.  This week we look at the provision to opt-out of the maximum and the steps you need to take to ensure you act in accordance with the Working Time Directive regulations.

Decide if you need an agreement

As part of the Working Time Directive, workers in the UK are limited to a 48 hour working week week.  Employees over the age of 18 who aren’t part of the exceptions can choose to opt out and work more than 48 hours a week on average.

In most cases, the main reason employees opt-out is to earn more money by working longer hours.

Remember the 48 hour limit is averaged over 17 weeks.  For this reason, occasional long hours shouldn’t be a problem without opting out.

Be aware not everyone is eligible to opt-out

Some categories of workers are unable to work longer than the maximum limit.   In most cases, these workers fall into an industry where tiredness is a major risk.   These include:

  • airline staff;
  • a worker on ships or boats;
  • a worker in the road transport industry, eg delivery drivers (except for drivers of vehicles under 3.5 tonnes using GB Domestic drivers’ hours rules);
  • other staff who travel in and operate vehicles covered by EU rules on drivers’ hours, eg bus conductors;
  • a security guard on a vehicle carrying high-value goods.

Don’t pressure your employee

You might want your workers to opt out so they can work longer hours, for example, to cover periods of high demand from your customers.  This is perfectly fine.  However, it must be voluntary.  Don’t pressure your employee into it.  If they decline your request, you can’t sack or treat them unfairly for not opting-out at your request.

You also can’t rescind an offer of employment because they don’t want to opt out.

Furthermore, you can’t try to make opting out one sweeping agreement across the workforce; it must be done individually with each employee.

Set the cancellation terms

Employees have the right to cancel the opt-out agreement at any point – even if the opt-out provision is part of their employment contract.   For that reason, you should consider keeping it separate from from their contract and letter of offer.

The employee must give a minimum of 7 days’ written notice.  A longer notice period may be agreed with the employer, but it can be no longer than 3 months.

Write a comprehensive agreement

The agreement must be in writing, signed by both you and the employee.  You can include terms such as duration, hours and pay, any changes to contractual terms, and the notice to terminate.

Here’s a straightforward example:

To:  Manager

In accordance with the Working Time Directive 1998, employees of this organisation are not required to work more than 48 hours per week. This is averaged over a 17 week period. This means that an employee might work more than 48 hours in one week, and less in another during a 17 week period – as long as the average is not more than 48 hours.

Employees can opt out of this restriction on weekly hours. By signing this agreement, you indicate that you are prepared to work more than 48 hours in any week. This is not a guarantee that you will be offered work in excess of 48 hours in any week. This is just an indication that you are prepared to opt out of the restriction.

You understand that in the event that you wish the 48 hour limit to apply to your employment in the future you will be required to notify the Company and give 4 week’s notice.  Such notice should be given in writing.

If you choose not to sign this agreement you will not suffer any detriment.

Signed: (employee)

Signed: (employer)


Take notes and keep records

When you’re having discussions with your employees about opting-out, keep an open approach to ensure that a worker freely gives his or her consent. Keep notes and records of all discussions on the subject so that you have an audit trail.

You must keep a written record covering the last two years showing which workers have opted out.   Store in a secure location with your other HR documents.

Continue to monitor health and safety

Even if a worker has agreed to opt out of the 48-hour week, you still have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to uphold your employee’s health and safety.

Keep an eye out for workers who are working excessively long hours, are showing signs of fatigue, are making uncharacteristic mistakes in their work or exhibiting increased emotional reactions.  If demands are excessive, reduce or redistribute the work. If you leave this unchecked, you’ll be exposed to the risk of claims for injury from those who suffer physical or mental health issues as a result of the long hours.

Comply with other Working Time Directive rules

Opted-out workers are still protected by Working Time Directive limits on rest breaks and holiday entitlements, so you must comply.   The opt-out does not remove these duties.

For all queries about employment rights, best practice and policies, and resolving workplace conflict, you can contact ACAS through the Acas Helpline Online .

Handy tools to help you stay on the right side of Working Time Directive laws

Your payroll or timesheet system will be a good start.  Check out our timesheet calculator if you’re looking for a quick way to add up your employee’s hours.

Of course, there is an easier way. Staff Squared HR software tracks everything you need to stay compliant.

Customer Care Team - Staff Squared

Clarisse works on our Customer Care Team to provide all of our customers to the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.

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Working Time Directive: How to Comply with the 48 Hour Maximum image

Working Time Directive: How to Comply with the 48 Hour Maximum

Staff Squared date icon26th September 2018

Tag iconOperations

The first of October marks 20 years since the Working Time Directive came into force. It is the UK’s leading statutory instrument stemming from the European Working Time Directive introduced in 1993 and is designed to regulate the amount of spent at work in order to protect the health and safety workers.

The main provisions of the Working Time Directive are:

  • an average or no more than 48 hours a week that someone can be required to work
  • 6 weeks’ paid time off per year
  • a rest period of 11 consecutive hours a day
  • a 20-minute rest break for working days longer than six hours
  • a minimum of one rest day per week
  • night working must not average out at more than eight hours at a stretch
  • workers between 16 and 18 are restricted to 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week

It’s important for SMEs to understand the particulars of this legislation, especially for those who employ shift and night workers.  Over the next week or so we’ll take a closer look at your duty as an employer to comply with the Working Time Directive.

First, we turn our attention to your responsibilities as an employer relating to the 48 hours maximum work week.

Understand who is covered and what are the exceptions

The 48 hour working limit covers most full-time and part-time employees above the age of 18.  Like most cases, there are exceptions.  Broadly, these exception cases are employees in the following sectors:

  • air, rail, road, sea, inland waterway and lake transport;
  • sea fishing, and other work at sea;
  • doctors in training;
  • the armed forces or the police, or to certain specific activities in the civil protection services.

Establish what counts towards “working time”

“Working time” is defined by the Working Time Directive as any period when the worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his or her duties.

In addition to carrying out their normal duties, your employees working time includes:

  • job-related training;
  • job-related travelling time (e.g. as a sales rep);
  • working lunches (e.g. business lunches);
  • time spent working abroad;
  • paid and some unpaid overtime;
  • time spent on-call at the workplace;
  • travel time for mobile employees with no fixed place of work (also called Peripatetic workers).

Rule out what doesn’t count towards working hours

Don’t include the following:

  • breaks when no work is done (e.g. lunch breaks);
  • commuting to and from work;
  • time when they are on-call away from the workplace;
  • unpaid overtime that they have volunteered for (e.g. staying late to finish something off);
  • paid or unpaid holiday.

Calculate your employee’s working hours

Now that you have a good understanding of who it applies to and when, let’s look at how the calculation is done and go through a few scenarios.

In most cases, you add up your employees working time over the last 17 weeks and divide it by 17.  The last 17 weeks are referred to as the rolling reference period.   Bear in mind some careers have a different reference period.  For example, doctors in training have a 26-week reference period and the offshore sector has a 52-week reference period.

Let’s start with a straightforward example

Your workplace has a standard working week of 40 hours (8 hours a day, Monday to Friday).

Your employee does 10 hours overtime a week for the first 12 weeks of the 17-week reference period.

STEP ONE:  17 weeks of 40 hours + 12 weeks of 8 hours overtime (17 x 40) + (12 x 8) = 776 hours

STEP TWO: 776 hours ÷ 17 weeks in the reference period = 45.7 hours

45.7 hours per week is within the working time limits.

If your employee was absent

Let’s say your employee was absent during the last 17 weeks (any sort of leave or time off sick). You will need to make up the missing days by extending the reference period by the same number of days he/she was away.

Keeping with the same scenario above, your workplace has a standard working week of 40 hours (8 hours a day, Monday to Friday).

  • Your employee does 10 hours overtime a week for the first 12 weeks of the 17-week reference period.
  • They also take 3 days annual leave and work two normal day (16 hours) that week.
  • They return to work and continue with normal hours with no overtime for one week.

STEP ONE: add together the 16 weeks of normal hours, plus two days normal hours, plus the 12 weeks of overtime

(16 x 40) + (2 x 8) + (12 x 10) = 776 hours during the reference period

STEP TWO: include the time worked on the 3 days directly after the 17-week period

3 x 8 = 24 + 776 = 800

STEP THREE: 800 hours ÷ 17 weeks = 47

47 hours per week is within the working time limits.

Lastly, if your workplace is based on nightshifts

  • Your employee works 13 hours, 4 days a week.

STEP ONE: 13 x 4 = 52 hours x 17 weeks = 884

STEP TWO: Calculate the number of days you could have legally asked for them to work.  Bear in mind you must offer one day rest per week.

17 weeks x 6 days = 102 days in the reference period.

STEP THREE: divide the number of hours in the number of days in the reference period.

884 ÷ 102 = 8.67 is your average work day

STEP FOUR: Multiply this average by 6 days (a normal work week).

8.67 x 6 =  52 hours

Your employee is working 4 hours over the limit.  You either need to reduce their hours or draw up an opt-out agreement.

Monitor and record the weekly average

You must take reasonable steps to ensure the working time limit is complied with in the case of each worker to whom it applies.

For employees who work regular hours and aren’t in any real danger of surpassing the 48 hour limit, you still need to make occasional checks.  You should flag and monitor those closer to the limit.

You’ll also need to keep updated records of those who’ve opted out (along with the signed agreement), and a list of your night shift workers.  Don’t worry about keeping track of rest breaks.

Records must be kept for two years.  Your payroll or timesheet system will be a good start.  Check out our timesheet calculator if you’re looking for a quick way to add up your employee’s hours.

Of course, there is an easier way. Staff Squared HR software tracks everything you need to stay compliant with Working Time Directive.

Written by Clarisse Levitan

Care Team - Staff Squared

Clarisse works on our Customer Care Team to provide all of our customers to the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.

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UPDATE! New Files Functionality... image

UPDATE! New Files Functionality…

Staff Squared date icon13th September 2018

Tag iconProduct

We are proud to introduce your company files, remodelled. The changes made to this area of Staff Squared will completely reinvent the way in which you manage your HR documents and we cannot wait for you to see what we have done.


Manage Permissions for your Files

Files are no longer shared with everyone by default. Now, you have the option to share new files with nobody, some users, some groups or everyone upon uploading so you can be confident that the relevant files are getting to the right people.


Save your Files into Folders

Say ‘goodbye’ to labels and ‘hello’ folders. Group your files into folders which will give your Files tab a much tidier presentation.

By organising your files according to subject matters such as employee handbooks or policies and procedures, you can search for specific documents much easier and more efficiently.



Choose who should be Required to Read Files

When uploading a file that requires reading, you now have the ability to choose certain staff members to do so rather than requesting all employees to read a file that might not be relevant to them.


Reporting on Required Reading

Before now, reporting on users who have or have not read a file was very simplistic, only showing a tick or cross value against each employee’s name. This has now been completely overhauled to show even more information about who has read a file, including the date they were requested to read it, who the request was made by and when the date and time of the file actually being read by each user.



Email Files to Third Parties

From time to time, you may have files in your account that are relevant to new starters prior to their start date, or documents that need approving by a partner or associate outside of your Staff Squared family, and so, we though it was only fitting that you should be able to email files stored online to third parties not in Staff Squared.



New Colour Key

It is now much easier to distinguish between the different events in your company calendar with the introduction of your new colour key which can be found at the bottom of your calendar.



New Information in your HR Audit Tab

Managers and admin users are now able to view profile file activity for their staff in the HR Audit tab, allowing you to keep on top of any files that have been added or changed.


Default Wall Post Setting

You can still choose who can see messages posted to an employee’s wall, but now, any posts made will now only be visible to them and the user who has posted it by default unless otherwise specified.



Upload Larger Files

We have increased the size limit for uploading files. You can now upload of files up to 20mb to your Staff Squared account.


Report on Bonuses

Admins can now run a report on your staff to show any bonuses that have been awarded throughout the year. This report can be filtered using a custom date range and can be found under ‘staff reports’.



NEW: Premium Files are Available to Buy NOW!

Due to very popular demand, we are excited to announce that you can now download a range of new premium HR documents for a one-off payment of £4.99. This includes employment and staff handbook policies, staff appraisal, training and development documents and recruitment policies and job descriptions.



Coming soon!

Now that we have released these changes to your files, we are turning our attention to improving your expenses workflow, including a streamlined process and improved and more detailed expense reporting.

Keep your feedback coming. We are always keen to hear from you. You can contact us on support@staffsquared.com.

Written by Clarisse Levitan

Customer Care Team - Staff Squared

Clarisse works on our Customer Care Team to provide all of our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.

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