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Flexible working – Implementing a compressed hours working arrangement


According to a recent poll of 1,000 office workers, nearly three-quarters staff are in favour of working a compressed four-day week. If you are going to allow staff to work compressed hours, what should you think about when drafting a contractual compressed hours clause?

Under a compressed hours arrangement, which is a type of flexible working, the employee still works their same full-time hours but over a reduced working period and with no reduction in pay. It normally involves their working longer hours on four days a week, giving them one extra day off during the week. Part-time employees can also work compressed hours, but in practice they’re less likely to want such an arrangement.

When drafting a compressed hours clause, first consider:

  • which categories of employee will be eligible to apply to work compressed hours (it might not be suitable for all roles or departments)?
  • how will the employee’s normal hours of work be varied under the compressed hours arrangement?
  • will the extra day off be a fixed day each week, or will the employee be able to vary their day off?
  • whether you wish to reserve the right to suspend or vary the operation of the compressed hours arrangement on notice according to business need
  • the implications for overtime – a compressed hours arrangement normally reduces the need for overtime, but it may not eliminate it. Will the employee still be required to work overtime as the needs of the business dictate, and will they be paid for it?
  • Working Time Regulations 1998 requirements – you must ensure that the compressed hours arrangement doesn’t lead to an employee’s working hours breaching this legislation, particularly in relation to in-work rest breaks and daily rest periods.