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Second job - what you need to know

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The increased cost of living has led many more people to take on second jobs to make ends meet. What should you know about your employment rights if you are thinking of taking on a second job?
First of all, check your current employment contract in case there is a term in it which prevents you from carrying out a second job. Contracts for senior employees usually include a provision that they are expected to devote the whole of the time, attention and abilities to their employer and often expressly forbid second employment. Contracts for junior employees will usually just require them to seek permission from the first employer.
If the contract prevents you from taking on a second job, the employer can refuse their consent. They would usually only do this where the second role would pose some sort of risk to their business or perhaps bring it into disrepute. If an employer does not act reasonably however, it could give rise to a claim of constructive unfair dismissal. 
Even if the contract says nothing about second jobs, it makes sense to inform the employer before you go ahead. If there is a clause in the contract which forbids secondary employment and you fail to obtain consent this is likely to result in a disciplinary.
There is a limit on the number of hours that an employee may work during the course of a week. Employers are responsible for ensuring that an employee does not work more than 48 hours per week under the Working Time Regulations. It is possible to opt out of this, but you should discuss it with your employer. There are also strict rules around daily and weekly rest breaks between shifts.
Employers are responsible for protecting the health and safety of staff and to make sure that they do not pose a risk to themselves or to others. An exhausted employee who is operating machinery or working in health care could make mistakes which could be life-threatening.
If you have a second job, check your tax code for each job to ensure it is correct and that you don't get an unexpected tax bill at some point in the future. If you earn more than £190 a week in the 2022/23 tax year, you’ll also have to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions. 
What happens if you are off sick? An employee can claim sick pay from one job whilst continuing to work for another employer. This will only cause a problem if the employee is not medically unfit for their first job and/or they carry on their second job in the hours they would have otherwise been working for the first employer.
If you need advice on employment law in relation to second jobs, give our team a call on 01827 317070.