An Annualised Hours system is essentially one in which employees are contracted to work a certain number of hours per year rather than the traditional approach of hours per week with any excess paid as overtime. Typically:

  • Hours are calculated on an annual basis
  • Hours are rostered over the year to match business demand
  • Holiday is often rostered or partially rostered
  • Overtime is usually eliminated or substantially reduced


The principles and benefits are well documented and there are numerous case studies on the process of implementation. However, it can be difficult for somebody , unfamiliar with the concept, to work out how to apply the principles to their own application just through reading case studies. There are broadly three types of Annualised Hours systems and, although the underlying principle is the same, the rules are many and varied.

  • Stable patterns of business demand (for example in continuous processes, 24/7)
  • Predictable variations in demand (for example, seasonal peaks and troughs)
  • Unpredictable variations in demand


The key to unlocking the benefits of Annualised Hours is through the construction of  shift patterns to efficiently match the workload and the selection of a suitable set of rostering rules. We can help with all stages of the process of introducing annualised hours from workload analysis to establish staffing level requirements, through to shift patterns, discussions with staff or union reps, negotiations, communication with the workforce and, finally, implementation, including software. We have a number of blue chip companies using our rota administartion software, RotaView, for keeping track of hours worked. Please contact us and one of our advisors will give you a ring to discuss your requirements.

If you are operating an Annualised Hours system, you may want to construct an annual roster. How you do this depends on the type of Annualised Hours system - for example, for a continuous system (ie. 24/7) you would typically go through the following stages:

  • Decide on the year start and finish dates
  • Decide on the year start and finish dates
  • Decide on the shutdowns (if appropriate)
  • Decide on the number, the length and the timing of long breaks (ie. holiday breaks) (if appropriate)
  • Decide on shift pattern "building blocks" (typically, a basic pattern and a long-break pattern)
  • Put the shift pattern "building blocks" together over the year
  • Tidy up the linkage between the different shift pattern "building blocks"
  • Put in shutdowns (if appropriate)
  • (Optional) Make adjustments to the annual pattern (typically, around the shutdowns) to create a better balance of shifts rostered for each team

How can we help?

If you provide us with parameters we can construct an annual roster from scratch. Alternatively, we can provide you with examples of annual rosters or ideas for the basic shift pattern "building blocks"  - see our Shift Patterns page.

Examples of annual rosters

We have lots of examples of annual rosters for the following systems:

  • continuous (24/7)
  • semi-continuous (24 hours a day but not 7 days a week)
  • discontinuous (up to 7 days a week but not 24 hours a day)

Some of the examples available are shown below. Prices on request.

Continuous (24/7) systems

5 teams

  • 8 hour shifts
  • 8 hour shifts with FLOAT periods
  • 8 hour shifts with ON CALL
  • 12 hour shifts
  • 12 hour shifts with FLOAT periods
  • 12 hour shifts with ON CALL
  • mix of 8 and 12 hour shifts 
  • mix of 8 and 12 hour shifts with FLOAT periods
  • mix of 8 and 12 hour shifts ON CALL
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