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Working Time, Hours, Rest Breaks and Holidays

The working time regulations set out the rules in relation to working time, hours, rest breaks and holiday.

In summary they include the following important provisions:

  1. Ensure working week does not exceed 48 hours per week. Employees are free to opt out of this provision.
  2. Night workers’ normal hours do not exceed 8 hours per day on average.
  3. Ensure no night worker doing work involving special hazards or heavy physical or mental strain works for more than eight hours in any day.
  4. Ensure that all night workers have the opportunity of a free health assessment.
  5. Transfer a night worker to day work if a doctor advises that the night work is causing health problems.
  6. Give workers adequate rest breaks where the pattern of work is such as to put their health and safety at risk.
  7. Employers must keep and maintain records showing whether the limits on average working time, night work and provision of health and safety assessments are being complied with in the case of each worker.
  8. Allow workers the following rest periods unless they are exempt; 11 hours' uninterrupted rest per day; 24 hours' uninterrupted rest per week (or 48 hours' uninterrupted rest per fortnight); and a rest break of 20 minutes when working more than six hours per day.
  9. Allow workers 5.6 weeks' paid holiday each year (equivalent to 28 days for a full-time worker).
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