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working time regulations

Working Time Regulations

The Working Time Directive of the European Union Council Directive concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time is a collection of regulations concerning hours of work, designed to protect the health and safety of workers.

Key features are the limiting of the maximum length of a working week to 48 hours in 7 days, and a minimum rest period of 11 hours in each 24 hours. These regulations also give workers rights in relation to night working, rest periods and paid annual leave.

The regulations gives all workers the right to 4 weeks (20 days) paid annual leave plus the 8 bank holidays. Both full-time and part-time workers are also covered by these regulations. If a worker works 5 days a week, they are entitled to take 20 days annual holiday. If however, someone works 4 days a week, they are entitled to 16 days paid holiday a year. However, if your employment contract specifies otherwise the holiday year begins at the employees start date and each anniversary of the start date.

The law stipulates that workers do not have to work more than 48 hours a week on average unless they want to. The law surrounding this issue is often referred to as 'working time directive' or 'working time regulations'. Your working hours will be set out in your employment contract or in a written statement of employment details. All employees will have employment contract with their employer.

Does The Working Time Directive Apply To Me?

Working Time Regulations do not apply to jobs:
  • Where working time is not measured and the worker is in control
  • In the armed forces, emergency services and police (in some circumstances)
  • Where 24-hour staffing is required
  • In security and surveillance
  • Where a domestic servant works within a private household

Please note that this list is non-exhaustive and other work sectors may have different rules in regards to maximum working hours. Employers should speak to their employers for further information.

How We Can Help You

Our panel firm of Employment Law solicitors provide expert tailored advice and can assist you with any query you may have regarding your working hours. If you are looking to opt out of the 48 hour limit our solicitors can help you!

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