What you need to know about working hours and rest breaks
The way working hours are arranged can help an organisation to manage its business and help workers balance their responsibilities at work and at home. Many businesses are under pressure to satisfy demands 24/7, and must balance this with the needs of their workers.
The Working Time Regulations determine the maximum weekly working time, patterns of work and holidays, plus the daily and weekly rest periods. They also cover the health and working hours of night workers. The Regulations apply to both part time or full-time workers, including the majority of agency workers and freelancers, although certain categories of workers are excluded.
In general, the Working Time Regulations provide rights to:
- a limit of an average 48 hours a week on the hours a worker can be required to work, though individuals may choose to work longer by “opting out”
- paid annual leave of 5.6 weeks’ a year
- 11 consecutive hours’ rest in any 24-hour period
- a 20-minute rest break if the working day is longer than six hours
- one day off each week
- a limit on the normal working hours of night workers to an average eight hours in any 24-hour period, and an entitlement for night workers to receive regular health assessments.
Any proposals to change patterns of working are best carried out in a consultative way, explaining the reasons behind such a move and the benefits which may accrue to both the organisation and worker.
Workers have the right to take an uninterrupted 20-minute rest break, away from the workstation, if their day’s working time is more than six hours. Workers can be required to remain in or about their workplace (but not at their workstation) while taking a rest break, provided that they are not still having to perform any duties.
Note that the statutory right is limited to one 20-minute break per day if the shift is at least six hours. Even if the shift is 12 hours or more (for example), only one break need be offered (subject to the employer’s general duty to prevent risks to health and safety).
Employers may use a collective or workforce agreement to exclude or modify the right to the rest break provided compensatory rest is given wherever possible. A collective or workforce agreement may also be used to determine the duration of the rest break or the terms on which it is granted.
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I could not have hoped for better assistance and expertise in resolving the recent issue around my employment than I received from Partners Employment Lawyers.
In a very stressful and unfamiliar situation for me, I was extremely grateful that Partners Employment Lawyers understood my situation quickly and perceptively, and then worked hard to secure for me the outcome that I desired.
The firm displayed a level of professionalism and sensitivity to my personal situation that I appreciated and will not forget.
At all times the lawyers were mindful of the result I desired. As the matter progressed they explained to me clearly and in balanced terms the likelihood of achieving that outcome.
I appreciated Partners Employment Lawyers also giving me thoughtful advice on other, broader points relevant to my future employment, which I now understand it was important to make clear as part of a successful outcome. Without reminding me of these, my longer-term interests, I could easily have thought about only the immediate problem at hand, which I now see would have been ultimately to my detriment.
Partners Employment Lawyers spoke with me from a more holistic perspective on my employment future than I was able to take, which this was an immense benefit to me. Giving me a calm and encompassing perspective at such moments was, itself, an immense relief to me, as was simply having someone on my side.Individual Client
Hina and Remziye recently delivered employment law sessions to our London management team which focused on a range of key employment law issues. Feedback was that the sessions were excellent, informative and well presented. They discussed not only actual case law but also advised on company-relevant scenarios, based on their knowledge of our internal policies and procedures.
HR Department, Euromonitor International Ltd.
“A well though out and delivered employment law seminar that covered important and critical areas of employment law and issues facing employers”Fran Ryba, HR Consultant, Fran Ryba Consultancy Ltd
A special thanks to Hina Belitz for her interesting talk on what we must take into account before employing someone at any level. She carried us through what could be a “heavy weight” topic with such ease that we could have listened to her for hours!Marilena Narbona – The Athena Network
Thank you for all your great work on the tribunal. I am pleased with the outcome and continue to hold my breath and hope that XXX can move on.Chief Executive of City Company
“Partners came on site to deliver a session on managing redundancies…their delivery was clear and was easily understood – there was certainly no confusing legal speak or jargon that we had to get our heads around. Partners are highly recommended”Company Training Client
You have been affable and extremely efficient from the minute I met you. I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me. A million thanks once again.Saleh Abdulrahim
The update has been informative and concise with a excellent amount and choice of subjects covered. High attendance alone shows how valuable we all find these sessions. Partners are streets ahead of new laws, legislation and regulations where little to no case law exists.Yvonne Mathurin – Head of HR – Aukett Swanke Ltd – Afternoon Update 14/09/2017
‘A highly talented and resourceful lawyer’Richard Rodelli, President and CEO, Thermo Electric Inc’
10th September 2014 Discrimination From the Inside Out Event – “I’ll take this opportunity to say what a great seminar it was and that the passion and knowledge of professor Livingstone was truly inspiring.”Florentina Pascaru, HR Coordinator, Central & Cecil
Great Employment law update – Thank you.Raffelina Huber, Associate Director, Central Eastern CSU
Employment Law Seminar 6th March 2014 – The two lady speakers were great. It was really helpful having questions from the floor and they both provided really helpful case studies of the recent cases they worked on. Overall to cram all that information in just two hours, it was a good event and would like to attend more!Chetna Kerai, NatCen Social Research
The Penguin Guide to Employment Rights will help management and workers alike to navigate this increasingly complex and important area of lawCherie Booth
The Employment Law Seminar on the 18th June 2014 was professional, informative, practically interactive and enjoyable. Lovely venue – calm & helped the acoustics. Thank you.Suzanne Prince, HR Consultant, Osram
“I would like to say that Partners were very helpful in sorting out a case in my previous workforce that could have been a potentially awkward situation.
They dealt with the case really well and made me feel calm in a difficult time for me.
They were able to sort out the case quickly and were able to offer me some good advice along the way.”Individual Client
‘Made me laugh when I should have been crying’D Rudich
A short note to say I found you and all my dealings with the company highly professional; it was a pleasure ( under the circumstances) doing business with you. You took care to listen to the detail of the case, take it on board, build a relationship with me and the aggressor , and come to a final and acceptable agreement swiftly.Individual client
The Employment Law Seminar on the 18th June 2014 was very informative and relaxing, thank you.Kerrie Smith, HR & Office Manager, John Brown Media
‘Hina, you’re a superstar!!!’Rory Kindlon
“I would like to acknowledge and appreciate the role that Partners Employment Lawyers and in particular Remziye Ozcan, played in securing a Settlement Agreement with my former employer.
Remziye was very helpful in clarifying my legal position in the debate with my employer over redeployment vs. retirement vs. redundancy. Even though we work on opposite sides of the world and in different time zones, she always responded to my queries, quickly absorbed the volumes of data on company policy and procedures which I sent her and promptly provided me sound practical advice to help achieve my objective. The whole tone of the conversation changed when my employer recognized that I had engaged professional outside help and there is no doubt in my mind that without the intervention of Partners Employment Lawyers, the debate would have been more protracted and likely more contentious.
Their charges were very reasonable and in any event the cost is more than covered by the outcome. I would have no hesitation in recommending Partners Employment Lawyers to any employee who found him or herself in a similar position.”Individual Client
I have worked with Hina Belitz on numerous complex employment issues within our business. We have an open and consultative relationship which ensures risks are addressed in a consistent manner. This has led to the honesty and openness I rely on to make key strategic decisions for the business.Di Milliard, Head of Human Resources & Recruitment Business Monitor International
Employment Law Seminar 18th June 2014 – A very interesting session with good speakers covering a range of topicsJulie Fisher-Jones, Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman
Since Hina’s training day we have reduced absences by 60%Mark Jackson, Seebord
I have been using Hina’s Penguin Guide and it’s fantasticDanish Ahmad – (Chamber of Commerce)
Thank you so much for all your help and advice. It was nice dealing with someone who honestly caredKylea Jarrold
“Hina, thank you very much for yesterday’s employment law seminar, it was extremely informative, skilfully presented in a professional and ‘HR friendly’ manner.
I was particularly impressed by you and your team as all of you communicated your respective knowledgeable and experience in a pragmatic way, which, in my personal experience is not always the case. I have attended other legal firm’s seminars and although the content is usually good it is frequently presented using too much ‘lawyer speak’, often assuming the very worst outcome including extreme escalated litigation, which for the majority of cases is not the most likely outcome. I realise that we as HR practitioners, need to be aware of worst case scenarios but sometimes there is too much emphasis on this. “Suzanne Prince, HR Contractor
“I was extremely pleased with how Remziye handled my case, a difficult and delicate dispute with my employers. I found her to be professional, courteous and understanding of my situation. My case got resolved very quickly with the end-result exceeding my expectations.
I am very grateful to Remziye for all her help and would not hesitate to recommend Remziye to my friends and family.”Individual Client
Very useful, thank you – more time neededHR Administrator attendee
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Remziye and Partners Employment Lawyers for the support and professional service. You were extremely knowledgeable and efficient and I would have no hesitation in using the service again.”Eileen Flatley
“I would like to thank you for the way in which you handled my employment matters. The whole team at Partners were at all times professional, compassionate and kept me fully informed at every stage in particular Remziye helped me through a situation that I found very difficult and stressful and I cannot thank her enough, I would highly recommend Partners Services.”Individual Client
“Thank you for your hard work, persistent and diligent efforts over the last few months in bringing this case to resolution.
I do not believe that we would have been able to resolve this matter without your involvement as legal advisor.
Great work and successful outcome.”