Introduction to this document

Compressed hours clause

Compressed hours working is a type of flexible working under which the employee still works their total normal hours of work but over fewer working days, giving them extra time off. Use our clause to cover this arrangement.

How it works

Under a compressed hours flexible working arrangement, the employee still works their full-time hours but over a reduced working period. For example, they work longer hours on four days a week, giving them one extra day during the week when they’re not required to work, or they work longer hours on nine days per fortnight, giving them one extra day off every two weeks. Part-time staff can work compressed hours too, but in practice they’re less likely to want such an arrangement.

Hours of work

We’ve drafted our Compressed Hours Clause so that it constitutes an alternative to the hours of work clause in our Written Statement of Employment Particulars. It sets out the employee’s normal hours of work but then outlines how those hours would be varied if a compressed hours arrangement is approved by their manager. Typically, you’ll compress a five-day week into four days or a ten-day fortnight into nine days, so our clause covers both options. It also provides for the extra day off to then be a fixed day as agreed with their manager - it makes sense for this to be a day on which the employee’s workload is light or when there’s adequate staff cover. A compressed hours arrangement normally reduces the need for overtime, but it may not eliminate it. So, we’ve still kept the option in there for additional hours and overtime pay. Finally, our clause makes clear that the operational needs of the business are paramount, and the employee’s particular role and job duties will need to be suitable for a compressed hours arrangement. So, it may not always be granted. Even if it is, we’ve reserved the right for you to suspend the operation of the compressed hours system at any time on notice.

Working time and minimum wage

As the Working Time Regulations 1998 still apply, you must ensure that the arrangement doesn’t lead to an employee’s working hours breaching that legislation, particularly in relation to in-work rest breaks and daily rest periods. If staff are paid weekly but you operate a fortnightly compressed hours system, do ensure you’re still paying them at least the applicable national living or national minimum wage rate for the hours they’ve worked that week. One option would be to pay them according to the compressed hours actually worked each week, rather than based on their total normal weekly working hours.

Flexible working request

As compressed hours working is a type of flexible working, it’s possible an employee may make a formal request for it under the flexible working legislation. If they do, deal with it in the same way as any other flexible working request.