Breaks can be split into the following 3 categories:-

  • Rest breaks
  • Daily rest period
  • Weekly rest period

Please consider this a fact sheet of the rest periods that workers are entitled to under the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Rest Breaks

Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day if they work in excess of 6 hours per day.

This can include a lunch or tea break and must be taken as one complete block. This should be taken during the working day and not at the start or end of the working day.

Most employers allow entitlements in excess of this statutory minimum (i.e. 30 minutes, 1 hour or 1 x 30 minute and 2 x 15 minute breaks in the morning and afternoon), which I would suggest employers consider to ensure a productive and motivated workforce. Employers should also consider an employee’s health and safety when establishing the break entitlements for their staff.

In the case of young workers (i.e. those over compulsory school age but under 18), there is an entitlement to a break of at least 30 consecutive minutes where an individual’s daily hours exceeds 4.5 hours.

Daily Rest Period

Workers are entitled to a rest period of 11 consecutive hours rest between each working day. For example, if an employee finishes work at 9pm today, they should not be asked to return back on shift until at least 8am the following day.

There are exceptions to this rule, including shift work, so if you operate this system of working then I would suggest that you take advice on this matter to ensure that you are you not in breach of the regulations.

For young workers, the requirement is to provide not less than 12 consecutive hours rest in any 24 hour period.

Weekly Rest Period

Adult workers have the right to either (1) an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week or (2) an uninterrupted 48 hours without any work each 14 day period.

For young workers, the minimum weekly rest period is 48 hours.

Related article:

Death by workplace inactivity: https://hr-24.co.uk/professional-insights/death-by-workplace-inactivity


Nitu Patel

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2017-12-18T16:50:35+00:00 June 29th, 2015|