The Working Time Regulations ensure that workers have rights in respect of limits on the amount of hours they work and provide a statutory entitlement to paid leave
In particular they:
- Give a limit of an average 48 hours a week that a worker can be required to work, though individuals may choose to work longer by ‘opting out’. It is illegal for an employer to dismiss or unfairly treat a worker if they refuse to sign an opt-out. The average week is normally calculated in any 17 week period and includes, job related training, travel time during working hours, working lunches and paid overtime. It is does not include breaks, normal travel to and from work, holidays and unpaid overtime that a worker has volunteered for.
- 5.6 weeks’ paid leave a year (for more information see the Annual Leave Guide)
- 11 consecutive hours’ rest in any 24 hour period
- A 20 minute 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 8 hours in any 24 hour period, and an entitlement for night workers to receive regular health assessments.
16 and 17 year olds
There are special regulations for young workers, which restrict their working hours to 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. The rest break is 30 minutes if their work lasts more than 4.5 hours. They are also entitled to 2 days off per week.
A worker can cancel their opt out agreement by giving their Employer at least 7 days’ notice.