Do employees in the UK have the legal right to leave at the end of their shift, even if their managers request them to stay longer? | Lawhive - Solicitors & Lawyers Online
Do employees in the UK have the legal right to leave at the end of their shift, even if their managers request them to stay longer?
Hello all, I’ve been working retail for 4 years, contracted 20 hours. My shifts are always 7-1 and my department is always finished early and I spend the rest of my shift helping other departments. Lately, managers have been taking issue with me leaving at 1pm when my shift ends because things need to be done. I have a personal life that I enjoy and intend to use my free time for me, not working. I already do overtime as I work 5 days a week 7-1 and am contracted 20 hours a week. Do I have the legal right to leave at 1 when my shift ends despite the managers pulling me into the office to grill me for it? My contract doesn’t state anything about staying extra once my shift ends. Thank you

Florence Dickerson

20th October 2021

+718

721 upvotes

Top Answer
> Can I legally go home after my shift ends? In short - yes. No law against it. But there may be a caveat in your contract to carry out a 'reasonable amount of overtime' (either paid or unpaid, depending on your salary/wage), so it's important to check for any terms like this.

Matthew Austin

11th February 2022

+544

547 upvotes

Do you punch in/out or have timesheets or anything? If you’re not getting paid at all then there’s no reason to stay. I hate that culture of people expecting people to work for free

Rashad Dunagan

11th February 2022

+213

216 upvotes

>Do I have the legal right to leave at 1 when my shift ends despite the managers pulling me into the office to grill me for it? Flip it. Why dont you ask them for overtime to cover the extra work.

Gilbert Porter

11th February 2022

+21

24 upvotes

Unless your contract states anything about over time, you have no obligation to do anything other than your contracted hours.

Joe Moore

11th February 2022

+47

50 upvotes

NAL but if you’re contracted to start and end at a certain time then that’s the time you start and leave. Like others have said if you don’t get paid for that time then don’t work it, it doesn’t really matter if they ‘expect’ you to do it. I’m in service and I’m contracted to start at 8.45 to give me time to get everything ready before opening. If thats what they want then that’s what they should’ve done.

William Correa

11th February 2022

+66

69 upvotes

How much are you paid? I ask because if you are paid for 20 hours - but are doing 36 hours (!) per week - you may be getting paid less than NMW. Edit - 30 hours a week. Apparently my brain misfired.

Deborah Millan

11th February 2022

+12

15 upvotes

Maybe you should ask your manager why he thinks you should stay when you've finished all your tasks hours ago and your shift is over. His answer might dictate how you go about this

Gladys Sheffield

11th February 2022

+57

60 upvotes

Is this a big chain - for instance, it sounds very much like a supermarket with departments mentioned. But obviously it may not be.... but I have a reasonably understanding of the in's and outs of at least 1 on the big 4, and minor knowledge of the others. Are you actually contracted to set hours and days? But generally, yes you can just go. But are you happy to forego the overtime you seemingly do do regularly to play hardball about it if it came to that?

Nina Regan

11th February 2022

+12

15 upvotes

NAL. I also work in retail, Tesco to be exact. My department has a very misunderstood contract known as a "Flexi", where you're given your shifts (6-12 for example) but you'd then not be allowed to leave until the work is finished. Lots of people have these contracts and then don't understand why they'd be expected/forced to stay later than their set hours. Is it maybe some warped version of that? Other than that nah, just leave when your contract says you are done I'd say.

Suzanne Tan

11th February 2022

+19

22 upvotes

If you're part of a union it might be worth contacting a union representative. I've had a dispute with my previous job regarding breaks (manager was not giving them to me saying they're really busy). Spoke to a union rep and told him and a higher manager that I was advice by the Union I'm eligible for a break. This made him back down.