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HR Advice: What to do when an employee wants to get a second job

Due to the cost-of-living crisis we have found that more people than ever are starting to look for secondary employment. As an employer you may be concerned that having two jobs will mean less commitment to the role, a potential increase in sick leave and other negative implications such as tiredness at work or lack of motivation.

From our experience we know that if handled well it is possible to make this scenario work for both parties and we have provided all the things you need to think about below.

Is it legal for an employee to get a second job?

Unless you have an express clause in your employment contract then generally speaking an employee is free to work elsewhere and get a second job at any time.

It is common to have an express clause in your contract which states whether an employee can work elsewhere, and this may differ based on the persons role within the company. For senior members of staff, you may want to include a blanket ban on secondary employment to ensure that the employee is fully devoted to their role, but for junior members of staff it could be that they just need to seek permission first.

❗Act now by reviewing your employee contracts to check that they meet with your business requirements. If they do not mention anything about secondary employment, then you may want to consider introducing a clause to address it.

Working time regulations and 48-hour limit

If you are happy for your employee to take on a second job, then one of the main things you will need to consider is the number of hours they will be working across both jobs. It is your duty to ensure that your employees don’t exceed the 48-hour weekly working limit, and this includes hours that they might work for another company.

✔️To begin you will need to find out how many hours your employee will be working in their second job to work out whether they are exceeding 48 hours.

It is important to remember that an employer is not committing an offence if the employee has signed an opt-out agreement of the 48-hour limit in writing. This is something that your HR department will be able to help you with, and if you would like support from Whitcombe HR then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Daily & Weekly rest periods

Workers are entitled to a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours and a weekly rest period of 24 hours. Where an employee has more than one job, it is possible that they may not be able to take these breaks, and this is something you should take into consideration.

Although you can’t force an employee to take a break it is worth reminding them that they are entitled to an uninterrupted 20-minute break if they are working more than 6 hours in a day. This could be for a tea break, or lunch, but it is recommended that they take this as an opportunity to refresh and refuel for the rest of the shift ahead.

With burn out and work-related stress on the rise it is important that you have good working relationships with your employees so that you can help them with workplace wellbeing and reduce the chance of them becoming overworked.

We would recommend that you provide mental health awareness training for managers, and you can also appoint someone as a mental health first aider so that employees always have someone to turn to when they are feeling unwell or stressed. Creating relaxing spaces for employees to take their breaks, or having daily check ins with employees who may be on site or working from home are also ways that you can promote taking the appropriate daily and weekly rest periods.

Health & Safety

It is important to consider whether having two jobs will put your employee’s health and safety at risk. If a member of staff works with machinery or does heavy lifting, then this may be especially important to consider.

If an employee is working more than 48 hours a week and has two jobs, then it is likely that they will begin to get tired, and this may pose a risk to themselves or to others. If this is the case and you are worried that this may cause a problem, then you will need to take steps to reduce risk.

Depending on the situation you can refuse consent, ask your employee to stop their second job, or you can reduce their hours of work. It is important that you follow company policy and procedure throughout this process and if you would like further guidance please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Conflict of Interest

If you do not want your employees to work for a competitor, or a company that conflicts with your own, then you will need to state this in the terms of your employment contract.

❗Reduce risk by ensuring that you have a clause in your contracts that specifically relates to whether or not they are able to work for a company that conflicts with your own.

Can you help in other ways?

Having to get a second job can be complicated and your employee may be feeling very uncomfortable about approaching the subject with you. The cost-of-living crisis is something that is affecting us all and perhaps there are steps that you can take to increase pay so that employees aren’t forced to get a second job.

✔️ Don’t forget that national minimum and living wages went up at the beginning of April and all employees should receive pay increases accordingly. Other ways you can increase pay include:

  • Allowing employees to buy and sell annual leave.

  • Providing overtime for additional work.

  • One-off cost of living bonuses.

  • Targeted pay rises.

If you would like to discuss anything covered in this blog, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via the link below.

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