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What Pub Shifts will I work?

Does 40 hours a week consisting of five 8 hour pub shifts sound fair to you? Is it what you're expecting? If you haven't realised it by now, pubs don't really follow standard rules. Ultimately 40 hour weeks should be the norm but it almost never is. And you'll find that when you want more hours, it's a dead season and there are no extra shifts. When you want time off for a long weekend to check out a music festival or fly to Prague, you'll instead find yourself working 5 split shifts in a row (what are split pub shifts?)

Of course the more hours you work, the more you earn. You may or may not be asked to sign out of the 48hour work agreement. You don't have to of course but it's kind of in your interest if you do. Otherwise you might just see your hours reduce to very low levels. Once you've opted out of that agreement the sky is the limit. Which can be great if you're looking so replenish your phat wad of cash, or not so great if you enjoy sleeping, socialising, exploring the country and the opposite sex. 

More info on working conditions and time limits and the 48 hour work week - here

Obviously peak periods are between May – September (summer). Other peak periods include the lead up to Christmas, and as well as any special days of interest. It is true that during May 2006 I found myself working 80+ hours a week – that's 12 hrs a day, all day every day, and it sucked. To add insult to injury because I still hadn't sorted my tax out I was getting paid bugger all for my superhuman efforts and work ethic.

Now don't start screaming and immediately choose another path of employment. This most likely will not happen to you. Summer came early in 2006 and the pub's staff levels were not prepared for the rush. I am sharing this information so you know before you go, what can happen.

You should expect to work anywhere between 30 – 60 hours a week. You should get 2 days off per week but not necessarily in a row. You should be able to negotiate with management in advance if you would like certain days off, but no guarantees there either.

 

winding road uk

"Closing time, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here"

Semisonic

 

 

What are the pub shifts?

Every live-in pub / restaurant works different hours – time for some more generalisations:
            Approximate straight pub shifts can be:

10am – 6pm

with maybe a half hour break for lunch plus 'smoke breaks'

12noon – 8pm 

with maybe a half hour break for a late lunch plus 'smoke breaks'

3pm – 10pm   

probably 'smoke breaks' only

4pm – Close

              “           “

5pm – Close

              “           “

If you don't smoke ask for 5 minutes off your feet instead – take care of your feet!

Split shifts can be pretty sucky as you can't really do anything in the time off in between, and they can be really tiring – too many split shifts in a row will leave you exhausted and searching for the will to live. However you will get the tips for both lunch and dinner services (if applicable) to add to your kitty.

Approximate split pub shifts can be:      

11am – 3pm, then 5pm – Close plus 'smoke breaks'

12noon – 4pm, then 6pm – Close  “       “

As I've said, different pubs operate different hours, so don't hold me responsible if you end up working 14 hour pub shifts (it does happen) conversely when the pub is experiencing a lull, hours can be cut down drastically - leaving you with plenty of time to do your own thing, but no money with which to do it.

A couple of pubs also open earlier for breakfast. Legally they can't serve alcohol before midday though, so most don't bother opening. Some also have a late licence to serve until the wee small hours of the morning. These places are better to be guests of, rather than employees.

My tip is to get yourself in to some kind of routine or pattern (or at least as much of a pattern you can get in to whilst sharing you life with a dozen crazy partying workmates) It's much easier to plan days off and events that way. Try and keep up with music festivals, DJs and concerts you want to go to and book the time off as early as you can - I missed V Festival twice because of poor planning.

Click'next'to find out what experience you will need
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