Different week, Different hours?


There are many instances when the number of hours worked by an employee, are not accurately stated in Contract of Employment. This might be where the employee is employed on a part-time basis but regularly works in excess of the hours specified in the contract. This occurs most often in industries where there is significant seasonal and periodic change in business activity such as Retail & Hospitality. For example, an employee contracted for 20 hours per week but, to support the needs of the business, regularly works above this number and works 25, 30 hours and possibly more in any one week. 

To address this issue, the Employment Act 2018 gives the right for employees whose employment contract does not accurately reflect the number of hours they actually work to request what is known as a ‘banded hours contract’ that better matches their average weekly working hours.


A banded Hours Contract is a contract/agreement produced following an employee request to have the number of working hours, stated in the Contract of Employment reviewed by their employer to a more accurate number, using a specific reference period. The contract can apply to any of eight bandings, as detailed below; 

   Band A:       3 to 6 hours   
   Band B:       6 to 11 hours   
   Band C:       11 to 16 hours   
   Band D:       16 to 21 hours   
   Band E:       21 to 26 hours   
   Band F:       26 to 31 hours   
   Band G:       31 to 36 hours   
   Band H:       over 36 hours  


Who can apply for a Banded Hours Contract?

An employee with a minimum of twelve months service, working variable hours or hours in excess of the number stated in their Terms & Conditions of Employment, over a specific reference period.

How are the average hours calculated?

The total number of hours worked in the reference period divided by the number of weeks worked in the reference period. Annual Leave and periods of lay-off are not included as working time. 

What is the reference period?

Twelve months following commencement of employment or preceding the request. 

What does the Contract mean?

Once the appropriate band is applied; the employee is guaranteed the minimum hours within that band for a period of twelve months. 

On receipt of a legitimate request employers are required, within four weeks, to provide the employee a Contract of Employment specifying the appropriate band for that employee. The appropriate band is determined by the employer using the average number of hours worked by the employee per week during the reference period.