Workers’ rest

In an unreported case, an Employment Tribunal has held that a care service provider was in breach of the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR 1998) for not incorporating daily rest breaks and daily rest periods into a support worker’s shift pattern and by failing to offer compensatory rest when the support worker was denied the rest he was entitled to.

An adult worker is entitled to a rest break of not less than 20 minutes where his/her daily working time is more than six hours. In addition to a daily rest break, an adult worker is also entitled to a rest period of 11 consecutive hours per day. Employers can be excepted from the obligation to provide daily rest breaks and daily rest periods where the worker’s activities involve the need for continuity of service or production, but should in such circumstances allow the worker an equivalent period of compensatory rest. If it is not possible at all due to “objective reasons”, then the employer should give the worker protections to safeguard their health and safety.

Workers can therefore expect:-

  • rest breaks are scheduled into their working time;
  • shifts are organised so as to allow daily rest periods;
  • they should not be put under pressure to forego rest breaks;
  • rest breaks should be observed and respected by management; and
  • records are kept in order to demonstrate that rest breaks and rest periods have been taken (and compensatory rest has been provided if necessary).


Deaf, hubby to Rachel, dad to Corey, Libby and Emily, Solicitor, Lecturer in Legal Practice at University of South Wales, PhD student at University of Leicester.

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