FAQs: Working time regulations

What are the Working Time Regulations?

The Working Time Regulations 1998 are UK regulations that set out the rights of employees in regard to rest breaks at work, rest-periods between shifts and time off. The regulations create statutory employment rights that employees can assert against their employers.

What are the requirements under the Regulations?

All workers over 18 years of age are entitled to a 20 minute rest break when working more than six hours. All workers are also entitled to a break of at least 11 hours between working days. And, workers are entitled to take either 24 hours off each week or 48 hours each fortnight.

How can workers enforce their rights?

Employees whose working hours do not comply with the regulations should speak to their employer about it. Their employer should alter the employee’s roster so that it complies with the Regulations. If an employer refuses to change the employee’s roster, the employee should use the company’s formal grievance procedures to raise the issue.

Are workers protected against disciplinary action?

As the rights under the regulations are statutory employment rights, employees are provided protection from disciplinary action for asserting them. For example, employees could refuse to work hours which do not comply with the regulations and their employer could not take disciplinary action against them for this.

What if an employer fires an employee?

Under UK employment law there are certain reasons for dismissal that are categorised as ‘automatically unfair reasons for dismissal’. When a dismissal is made for any one of these many reasons it is an unfair dismissal. Dismissing an employee for standing up for their working time rights would constitute unfair dismissal. The employee would be entitled to compensation.

We have award-winning lawyers throughout the UK, ready to assist with your case. Fill in the form and we'll be in touch.

Important information

For [selected AoL] law, solicitors will charge a minimum fee of £250 to provide an initial consultation and written opinion on your case. We have a number of recommended law firms in our network who could provide this service to you at the most competitive price. If you would like to proceed, click ‘Paid advice’ below and one of our advisors will call you on a free-of-charge basis to discuss this further with you.