What breaks/rest days are employees entitled to under the working time regulations?

A worker is entitled to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes when daily working time is more than six hours. It should be a break in working time and should not be taken at the start nor at the end of a working day.

Daily rest

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, Regulation 10, a worker is entitled to a rest period of 11 consecutive hours rest in each 24 hour period during which they work for their employer. However, there are a number of special circumstances in which the entitlement to rest periods does not apply, for example, where the activities involve a need for continuity of service or production or where there is a foreseeable surge of activity. Also, if a shift worker changes shift, it may not be possible for them to take their full rest entitlement before starting the new pattern of work. In such a case the entitlement to daily and weekly rest does not apply.

Weekly rest

An adult worker is entitled to one day off a week; this can be averaged over 2 weeks.

Young or adolescent workers

If a young worker (16-18) is required to work more than four and a half-hour at a time, then they are entitled to a break of 30 minutes. A young worker is also entitled to twelve uninterrupted hours in each 24-hour period in which they work. Both these entitlements can only be altered or excluded in exceptional circumstances. Young workers are also entitled to 2 days off each week and this cannot be averaged over 2 weeks.

There is free guidance produced by the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), which can provide more information.

If you are still unsure of where you stand when it comes to break and rest days for employees, then give us a call on 01733 286070.

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