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Working Time Regulations: Employers’ Obligations



A business must take all reasonable steps to ensure that workers’ average working time (including overtime) does not exceed 48 hours each week.  If the business fails to make sure these steps are complied with, criminal sanctions can be imposed on the business.

However, if workers have signed an opt-out agreement, the limit on average working hours will not apply.  The business must keep records covering the last two years, showing which workers have opted out.

A business must provide its workers with adequate rest breaks, where their health and safety could be put at risk due to their pattern
of work, (for example, where the work is particularly monotonous).

The business 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 for each worker.

The business must allow all its workers the following rest periods unless they are exempt, in which case compensatory rest will usually have to be given:

A business must allow its workers 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday each year (this is equivalent to 28 days for a full-time worker).


There are a wide range of penalties that can be imposed on a business for breaching the Regulations, including:

Practical steps

 in an employment contract).

     Time that is not normally classed as “working time” includes:

     - attending work-related social events;

     - travelling to a fixed workplace; and

     - attending evening classes that are not a requirement of the job.

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