Nicky Buckley
December 14, 2022
3 minute read

Can employees have 2 jobs at once?

Things to consider when your employees want a second job.

There are a number of things you need to consider when your employees have a second job, as productivity levels, health and safety and legal obligations are all points that will affect your business.

There has been an increase over the last 2 years of people having 2 jobs at the same time according to ONS figures.  People are also concerned with the cost of living, and this is causing employees seeking to have 2 jobs at once to cover rising costs.

In this post we’ll be looking at the legal obligations with second jobs:

  • What’s in the employment contract for a second job?
  • Can you work 7 days a week with 2 jobs?
  • Health and Safety
  • Steps to take
    lady offering another lady a job

What’s in the employment contract for a second job?

There should be a contract of employment, review this to see if there is an express term which advises employees seek permission before having 2 jobs at once, this would not apply to zero hours contracts.   Your employees may have been with you for a long time, and may not have a contract of employment, or details weren’t included at this time, therefore, you would rely on Policy Documents or Handbooks, again checking this out is the first step.

It is better if the employee has to gain permission, as they are obliged to notify you and you can discuss the request in detail.  You will need to know the nature of the work for the second job, and who they will be working for.  Making sure there is no conflict of interest or working for a competitor organisation would give you good reason to decline the request.


If the authorisation requirement is in the contract and the employee has failed to follow this, you need to complete an investigation to establish the facts and before considering any disciplinary action.

Can you work 7 days a week with 2 jobs?

The working time regulations (WTR) has specific rules around the number of hours per week and the number of days per week worked without an adequate rest period.

An employee can only work up to 48 hours per week, unless they have signed an opt-out agreement to enable them to work more than 48 hours per week.   

In addition to this there should be a period of 11 hours’ consecutive rest in any 24-hour period. If you read that and are concerned over your existing employees on shift patterns, there is an allowance in the WTR for shift change overs.

24 hours’ uninterrupted rest in every 7 days, or 48 hours’ uninterrupted rest in a 14-day period.  A young worker must have 48 hours’ rest in every 7-day period.

 So, the answer would be no you cannot work 7 days a week every week, but you can work 7 days a week then only work 5 days in the next 7 days.

 Health & Safety with 2 jobs

How would you deal with an employee working 2 jobs and their performance and wellbeing impacts on your business?

Again, you need to investigate the reasons for poor performance, and health concerns to determine if it is a result of the employee working a second job.  Discussion with your employee is essential as soon as problems arise to enable you to discuss the impact to your business of them working for another employer.  You would need to speak to your employee and agree ways they could reduce their hours or change work patterns. 

Steps to Take

Take a look at employment contracts and policies to see if you have rules about taking on a second job

Implement a policy if there is not one in place and get this communicated to your staff.

Discuss the reasons why employees’ want to take on additional work, please keep records of your meetings so you have a record of what was discussed, and actions agreed.


In this post we have talked to you about the contractual obligations for employees thinking of, or already working, a second job.  The Working Time Regulations and what rest breaks are required for both employers.  From a Health & Safety point of view you may need to manage poor performance and well-being issues, and we’ve given you the steps to take action requests.


Want to talk some more about this, or need a policy, contract review

Contact East Midlands HR:  07973 353 498

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