Can I Have a Rest Break Please?

George Heron

George Heron

Email Click to email
Phone 01952 566918

1 February 2017

Under the Working Time Regulations, an employee who works more than 6 hours is entitled to an uninterrupted rest break of at least 20 minutes. Rest breaks can be either paid or unpaid. The break should be taken during the working day and therefore not at the beginning or end of it by way of a later start or earlier finish - even if this would be more convenient for you and/or the employee.

In a recent case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether the employee must have requested the break to be able bring a claim for this entitlement being withheld. The EAT held that the onus is on the employer to provide a worker with a statutory rest break, regardless of whether it is requested by the employee.

It is therefore essential that you ensure your working arrangements allow employees to take rest breaks. If you don’t, you will be in contravention of your employees’ statutory rights under these regulations.

Whilst you must act proactively in this respect, there is no obligation for an employee to actually use their rest break. Therefore, if you make allowance for a rest break but the employee decides not to take it, that’s entirely up to them (and they can’t demand an extra payment for working through their break if it was genuinely their decision to work through!).

It is also worth noting that if a working day exceeds 12 hours, the statutory requirement is still only for one, 20 minute, rest break. However, for shifts of this length, additional Health and Safety considerations will need to be taken into account when deciding what rest breaks may be appropriate.

At Alpha, we have a vast experience in providing bespoke, practical advice on HR and employment law issues. This includes providing tailored advice on how to handle difficult employees. We are proud of our commercial outlook and do not sit on the fence. If you would like to have Alpha on your side, please feel free to contact us.

Testimonials

  • Martin Kaye

    Martin Kaye have provided advice in some highly complex HR matters and they continue to provide our day to day HR advice through their "ALPHA" HR scheme. They offer a very commercial and pragmatic approach and we have always been impressed by the level of service. The members of staff are approachable and easy to deal with.

    Eurofilms Extrusion Ltd

  • Martin Kaye

    Martin Kaye have provided us with employment and HR advice for several years and we have been very pleased with the level of service and quality of advice provided. We have no hesitation in recommending the team to any organisation which wishes to manage its employment related enquiries.

    D Wauchope, Company Secretary - McPhillips (Wellington) Ltd

  • Martin Kaye

    As a large employer of cleaning personnel, we require expert and prompt employment related advice. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" service provides this in a clear and robust manner. We have been extremely impressed with the service and would thoroughly recommend them to any employer requiring expert HR & employment support.

    J Conry, Chairman - JPC Cleaning

  • Martin Kaye

    It is important for us to create a close relationship with our advisors. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" HR service is excellent. It enables us to work closely with our lawyers particularly in the complex area of employment law.

    Johnny Hobeika, Operations Manager - Sanita (UK) Ltd

  • Martin Kaye

    ALPHA is an excellent, reliable, professional service which is an integrated part of our business that we could not do without.  This service is part of our structure and provides staff and business with the professional HR Support it requires - Invaluable

    Wendy Cox - Genvolt

Martin Kaye are rated 4.5 out of 5 based on 21 testimonials.