The Working Time regulations are a set of rules that govern how many hours people should work each week, what breaks they are entitled to, and how much holiday they should get. They were introduced as a health and safety measure.

For example, there is a maximum weekly working limit of 48 hours averaged over 17 weeks, unless an employee has signed an ‘opt-out’.

Employees are also entitled to 20 minutes rest (unpaid) after working for 6 hours; daily rest breaks of eleven hours in every 24; and one day’s rest in fourteen.

Note that there are exceptions to these rules for different sectors and for different working arrangements.

The Working Time regulations also stipulate that every employee is entitled to a total of 28 days paid leave in every year (pro rata for part-time staff) which can include bank holidays.

Example: Dave’s contract states that he has a 40 hour week but he is regularly made to work at least 60 hours and he has not signed an opt-out form. He has worked both days at every weekend for the last six weeks. Depending what area Dave works in, his employer may be in breach of the Working Time Regulations. Enforcement would be carried out by the Health and Safety Executive.

Published in…

Updates: For employers: Contracts and incentives | Day to day HR support | Holiday and working time | For employees: Holiday |
Tagged with: Health and safety |

Share this definition on

Other employment law terms

  1. ACAS Early Conciliation
  2. Adoption appointments
  3. Adoption leave
  4. Alternative dispute resolution
  5. Ante-natal care
  6. Apprenticeship
  7. Basic award
  8. Collective consultation
  9. Compensatory award
  10. Compromise agreement
  11. Constructive dismissal
  12. Contract of employment
  13. Disciplinary hearing
  14. Discrimination
  15. Employee shareholder
  16. Employment tribunal
  17. ETO reason
  18. Flexible working requests
  19. Grievance
  20. Gross misconduct
  21. Harassment
  22. Industrial action
  23. Injury to feelings
  24. Maternity and parental rights
  25. Maternity leave
  26. Maternity pay
  27. Mediation
  28. Parental leave
  29. Paternity leave and pay
  30. Polkey deduction
  31. Pre-termination negotiations
  32. Protected characteristics
  33. Redundancy
  34. Restrictive covenants
  35. Settlement agreement
  36. Shared parental leave
  37. Staff handbook
  38. Statutory annual leave
  39. Strikes
  40. Study and training rights
  41. Summary dismissal
  42. Sunday working
  43. Trade union
  44. TUPE
  45. Unfair dismissal
  46. Unlawful deductions
  47. Victimisation
  48. Whistle-blowing
  49. Without prejudice
  50. Written particulars
  51. Wrongful dismissal
  52. Zero hours contracts