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Working Time Regulations

The Working Time Regulations are primarily centred around health and safety legislation and are intended to protect workers from the risks that arise out of working excessively long hours or for long periods without breaks.
The Regulations provide that all workers should be entitled to:
  • A maximum average working week (inclusive of overtime) of not more than 48 hours  
  • A 20 minute rest break where the working day is longer than 6 hours
  • A minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours in each 24 hour period 
  • A minimum of 24 hours rest every 7 days (or 48 hours every 14 days), this rest period does not have to include a Sunday
  • A restriction of 8 hours night work in every 24 hour period, the restriction of 8 hours to be averaged except where the work involves special hazards or heavy physical or mental strain in which case it can never exceed 8 hours
  • Free health assessments prior to workers being assigned to night work and at regular intervals thereafter
  • 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave - apart from the excluded sectors no opting out of the annual leave provisions, no carrying over of holiday from one annual leave year to the next and no payments in lieu except on “termination of employment”
  • Protection through the Employment Tribunals from suffering detrimental treatment or dismissal by the employer for taking entitlements under the Regulations
  • All “employers” under the Regulations are required to keep records to show that they have complied with their obligations unless workers have opted out of the 48 hour weekly limit
The Regulations set down minimum standards. There is nothing to prevent employers and employment businesses from giving workers more than the statutory minimum requirements. 

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