Since 22 October 1995, all EU countries have been required to move clocks forward by an hour on the last Sunday of March and back by an hour on the final Sunday in October.  As a result:Daylight saving time 2019 in the United Kingdom will begin at 01:00 on Sunday 31 March 2019 and end at 02:00 on Sunday 27 October 2019. When the clocks go forward, the UK time zone will change from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to British Summer Time (BST), a concept first introduced in the Summer Time Act 1916.

For Individuals

Although, according to the meteorological calendar, spring began on 01 March and lasts until 31 May, the conversion to BST is recognised as the first day of spring.  The mornings are darker but the evenings are lighter and, despite losing an hour’s sleep, if only psychologically, the weather is warmer.

I look forward to the clocks advancing.

For Workers

For workers like me, I have the chance to recover from one hour’s less sleep before starting again on Monday morning.

For people that are working a shift that crosses 1am on Sunday 31 March 2019, their first thought will be that the shift is shorter than usual, perhaps 7 working hours instead of 8.

This in itself poses problems for employers.  Do they pay for an 8-hour shift or a 7-hour one?  If the person is on a salary, do they adjust the salary down by one hour?  Maybe the following observations will help:

  • There are fewer considerations about working time and the National Minimum Wage when clocks go forward rather than back
  • What does the contract of employment say?
  • What did you do when the clocks went back? Did you pay for 9 hours?
  • Are you considering hourly-paid and salary-paid staff the same, i.e. equal treatment?
  • Communicate! This applies in the above situations and for staff that are scheduled to work on the Sunday morning (which is brought forward by the fact the clocks advance)

The most important thing is the contract of employment and to make sure that you are consistent and fair.  This applies to payroll operation when the clocks go forward and when they go back plus treating salary-paid and hourly-paid the same.

Workplace disharmony at the start of spring is the last thing the employer wants.

The Future?

The commission of the European Union (EU) has proposed abandoning summer time in the European Union.  This is following a consultation bloc-wide that saw 84% of respondents are in favour of putting an end to the bi-annual clock change.  A timetable for ceasing the twice-annual activity is set for 2021.

Whether the UK will be part of the EU at this time is anyone’s guess!  Whether the UK will seek to follow suit if it is outside the bloc at this time is also up for debate.

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