Shift Allowances Policy

Policy on Shift Allowances for Operational Staff Grades 1-5

1) Introduction

2) Definitions

3) Shift Allowances

4) Policy Review

5) Policy Questions


It is recognised that in some areas of the University, Operational staff may regularly be required to work non-standard hours in response to business needs which means their normal working hours will not fall within the range of standard University arrangements and may involve shift working.  This policy covers non-standard but regular patterns of shift working among Operational staff and outlines the shift allowance such patterns of work attract.

The purpose of any such allowance is to enable services to attract and retain experienced staff in order to respond effectively to service user needs and operational requirements and to ensure that staff who provide business critical services outside standard working hours are recognised and rewarded for their efforts in a fair and consistent way which also represents value for money for the University.

While the working patterns of other professional services staff in the University vary according to local practice and may, on occasion or from time to time, require non-standard working hours, most involve Monday-Friday working between the hours of 8am and 6pm as specified in contracts of employment.  Existing conditions of employment set out arrangements for overtime payments, time off in lieu and flexible working as appropriate which support the working patterns of these professional services staff.  This policy is outwith the scope of those arrangements.


This policy primarily covers non-standard work undertaken outside the hours of 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday which are typically specified within contracts of employment.  This mainly involves variable shift working, including constant night shift working.

Overtime -work undertaken outside the standard 35 hour working week.

Shift – a working day or working period spanning the end of one day and the start of the next.

Shift cycle – a regular, predicable arrangement where the timing of the shifts worked changes by a minimum of five hours after a given number of days to a different time pattern, e.g. early shifts changing to late shifts.  The expectation in this case is that any such variation typically occurs regularly over the course of a calendar year.

Alternating shift (two shift cycle) – typically an early and late shift pattern.  Start times for the shifts vary by five hours or more.  Allowance values recognises the additional disruption where working patterns involve at least 3 hours work between hours of 11pm - 6am.

Rotational shift (two or three shift cycle) – typically consisting of days/nights or early, late and night shift pattern which covers a 24 hour period of service delivery over 7 days.

Split shifts – describes the working pattern for a single job which normally requires two separate periods of attendance on the same day, where there is a break of at least five hours between shifts.  The University does not currently have split shift working although staff with multiple appointments may work at separate times during the same working day.  The University does not support staff working more than a total of 35 contractual hours across multiple appointments per week.

Night shift (constant) – A constant night working pattern.  A minimum of 4 hours worked between the hours of 11pm - 6am across all shifts.  Typically based on a static rostered work pattern potentially over seven nights.

Unsocial but non-shift based working pattern –  A fixed working pattern which, whilst not shift based, does regularly require work after 8pm or at the weekend.

Any non-standard working pattern where daily working hours equate to or exceed six hours must include a break of at least 30 minutes.

Shift Allowances

Shift allowances reflect the complexity of the working pattern, the requirement to work unsocial hours and/or in recognition of potential disruption as a consequence of shift working.

There are six levels of allowance associated with the range of work patterns in use across the University, the level of the allowance being aligned with the perceived inconvenience of any particular working pattern.  To qualify for a shift allowance the pattern of work requires to be integral to the member of staff’s ‘normal’ working week, i.e. the working pattern requires to regularly meet the definition.  The applicability of a shift allowance will be highlighted at the recruitment stage consistent with the applicable candidate attraction strategy of any particular assignment and will be specified contractually in any subsequent offer of employment.

The levels of shift allowance are as follows:

Work Pattern


Allowance %

Night Shift

Constant pattern – minimum of 4 hours worked between the hours of 11pm and 6am across all shifts.

33%  of basic salary

Rotating Shift

Two or three shift cycle – covering 24 hours over 7 days.

25% of basic salary

Alternating Shift

Two shift cycle – where 3 hours worked in the hours between 11pm and 6am

20% of basic salary

Alternating Shift

Two shift cycle – where start times vary by 5 hours or more.

15% of basic salary

Split Shift

Two separate attendances at work on the same day at least 5 hours apart within the same job.

8% of basic salary – applicable to second shift only.


Unsocial but Non-Shift Based

Where fixed working pattern regularly requires work after 8pm or at weekends

6% of basic salary

Part-time staff are entitled to the same hourly rate, including shift allowance, as full-time staff on the same working pattern, (i.e. the allowance, where relevant, will be paid on a pro-rata basis calculated on their FTE.)  Where additional hours, up to 35 per week, are worked by part-time staff the relevant shift allowance will continue to apply conditional upon any additional working hours not being subject to any other salary enhancement.

Shift allowances will be pensionable but will not apply when overtime is worked which already attracts a salary enhancement.

Normal and established University policy applies to payment for scheduled work on public holidays when staff scheduled to work normal contracted hours will be paid an additional hour for every hour worked.  In effect this means that staff receive double time for the hours worked on a public holiday and the equivalent period of time worked that day can be taken as a holiday at a later date.

In circumstances where more than one of the above definitions applies, only one allowance is payable, whichever is the higher.  The allowance will cease to be paid where the member of staff’s working pattern no longer meets the definition for a period of four continuous weeks.  There will be no recovery of any allowance already paid for such a period.

Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed after its first full year of operation to:

  • ensure that it is meeting all necessary University requirements
  • consider implementation in the context of the University’s duty of care in relation to working time and staff wellbeing
  • consider implementation alongside staff recruitment and retention strategies.


Thereafter the policy will be reviewed on a regular basis.

Policy Questions

Where questions arise about the applicability of a shift allowance to a particular pattern of work advice will be provided by the University Services Human Resources Team.  The Head of Human Resources for University Services and the Director of Pay, Performance and Reward can provide additional advice and guidance as appropriate.