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Working Hours

Home > Legislation > Working Hours

Working time consultants’ advice

As professional working time consultants, the Pasfield Curran team can assist will all legislative matters relating to working hours.

Hours of Work (UK)

Workers, unless they have agreed through a defined procedure, may not be required to work more than an average of 48 hours per week averaged out over 17 weeks. If both parties agree, this can be extended up to 52 weeks.

Rest Breaks

There is an entitlement to 3 types of rest break:

  • Daily rest. Workers are entitled to an 11 hour break in every 24 hour period in which they work
  • Weekly rest periods. Workers are entitled to a break of 24 hours in every 7 days. This can be averaged out over 2 weeks, so that a worker may have in each 14 day period either 2 uninterrupted rest periods of not less than 24 hours, or one uninterrupted rest period of not less than 48 hours
  • Breaks during the working day. Workers whose hours of continuous work will exceed 6 hours are entitled to a rest break of 20 minutes. This should be allowed for during the 6 hours and not added on to the end. The employee must be allowed to take the break away from their workstation, though not necessarily off the premises. The period need not be a paid break. Workers under the age of 18 are entitled to a 30 minutes break after 4 hours work.
The European Court of Justice has recently ruled that employers should take positive action to ensure that workers take at least the minimum breaks to which they are entitled.

Drivers Hours

Drivers of vehicles which exceed 3.5 tonnes gross weight (including trailers) engaged on journeys within the UK and other EU member states are covered by the following:

  • No more than 9 hours total daily driving time (increased to 10 hours on no more than 2 days per week)
  • No more than 6 consecutive daily driving periods before a weekly rest period must be taken
  • No more than 90 hours driving time per fortnight
  • No more than 4.5 hours driving before a break must be taken. Breaks must be at least 45 minutes after a total of 4.5 hours driving. This break may be replaced by a break of at least 15 minutes followed by a break of at least 30 minutes each distributed over the period.
  • At least 11 consecutive hours of rest during each 24 hour period, although this may be reduced to 9 hours on a maximum of 3 days per week providing the deficit in rest is made up before the end of the following week

Drivers of vehicles covered by these regulations must use a tachograph to record their working hours.

Night Work

"Night time" is defined as a period determined by a relevant agreement. It must be at least 7 hours in length and must include the hours of midnight to 5am. If there is no such agreement, regulations specify a default period of 11pm to 6am.

Variations and Opt Out

Collective agreement
Workforce agreement
Individual consent
Agreement to opt out of the 48 hour week
Agreement to average out the 48 hour week over a longer period than 17 weeks "for objective or technical reasons"
Agreement to average out the length of the night shift over more than 17 weeks
Agreement to modify the rules on the length of the night shift where there are special hazards
Agreement to vary daily and weekly rest breaks
Agreement on the "leave year" and timing of holidays
Agreement to opt out of statutory holiday arrangements of 4 weeks per year

Young Workers Directive

Our working time consultants advise that the Young Workers Directive affects the working hours of those between minimum school leaving age and their 18th birthday. Their working time will be limited to:

  • 40 hours per week
  • 8 hours in any 1 day
  • Night working prohibited between 10pm and 6am or 11pm and 7am

Contact our working time consultants now

Our working time consultants will be happy to assist with all matters pertaining to employees’ hours of work.

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