Law guide: Employment

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Limits on working time

Limits on working time

The rights set out in this section apply to workers (individuals contracted to provide work or services to you on a full-time, part-time or fixed-term basis). This includes employees but not self-employed staff.

The rights and limits introduced by the Regulations may be summarised as follows:

Limits on working time

An employee is not permitted to work more than an average of 48 hours per week during a 17-week working period (which may be extended,) unless the period has been extended by agreement.

If employees work at night, they are subject to a working time average of eight hours in each 24-hour period. If their work involves special hazards, or heavy physical or mental strain, they are subject to an eight-hour limit for each 24-hour period.

Adult workers' rights

Employees are entitled to a daily rest period of eleven consecutive hours in every 24-hour period.

For each week, they are entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of not less than 24 hours in each seven-day period, in addition to the daily rest period.

They are further entitled to a daily rest period of 20 minutes rest break, provided that the working day is longer than six hours.

They are also entitled to 5.6 weeks' paid annual leave.

Young workers' rights

The daily rest period will be 12 consecutive hours, rest in each 24-hour period.

Young workers will be entitled to a weekly rest period of not less than 48 hours in each seven-day period. Young workers can't ordinarily work for more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, although there are certain permitted exceptions.

They are further entitled to a daily rest break of 30 minutes, provided that the working day is longer than four and a half hours.

They are also entitled to annual leave of 5.6 weeks.

Other duties/rights

A night worker will be entitled to free health assessments. If the employee is suffering from health problems, which a registered medical practitioner has advised are connected with night work, the employee may be entitled to a transfer to daytime work.

Should your employee's health and safety be put at risk because of the pattern of their work (for example work that is monotonous,) they will have the right to adequate rest breaks.

You must keep, and retain for two years, records that show that the limits on weekly work time and night working, are being complied with.

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