Work Time Regulations

Work Time Regulations
LLM, LPC & LLB (Hons) Shereen Murphy
Legally reviewed by: LLM, LPC & LLB (Hons) Shereen Murphy Updated:

Work time Regulations and holidays can be difficult to calculate meaning employers can often make mistakes regarding your pay. These mistakes can cost businesses, as well as make unhappy employees resulting in a high staff turnover. If you find yourself in a situation where your employer is failing to adhere to work time regulations or is now allowing holidays or making it hard to book holidays, you can take legal action.

What are the Working Time Regulations?

Working Time Regulations 1998 put a limit on the number of hours workers can do each week. Additionally, they require you to be paid the correct amount for holidays. If your employer is failing to meet these regulations our employment lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.

The basic provisions for the Working Time Regulations state that employees are:

  • Required to work an average of / no more than 48 hours a week, unless they are specifically opt-out
  • Entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid time off per year
  • Allowed 1 consecutive hour’s rest per 24-hour period
  • Entitled to a 20-minute rest break (for working days longer than six hours)
  • Meant to have 11 hours of rest between working days. For example, if you finish work at 8 pm, you wouldn’t work again until 7 am the next day.
  • Given a minimum of one day off per week
  • Not allowed to work more than eight hours – for night shifts – in any 24-hour period
  • Restricted to 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week if they are aged 16-18

What do the Working Time Regulations Cover?

They cover all part-time and full-time workers, including most agency workers and freelancers. Exceptions are:

  • The armed forces and police are exempt from the regulations. This also includes emergency services staff when dealing with an emergency.
  • Workers whose “working time is not measured or pre-determined” are exempt. This can include senior managers and people employed by family members.
  • Young workers, classified as under 18, are entitled to more generous rest break allowances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get Holiday if I Am On a Zero Hours Contract?

Yes, you are still entitled to holiday if you are on Zero Hours contract. The calculation is that you accrue 12.05% of holiday accrual for every hour you work under your Zero Hours contract. How much you will receive when you have accrued a week’s holiday is based on your average weekly earnings over the last 12 weeks where you have been paid.

The government’s website provides further information about how to calculate how much holiday you are entitled to.

What if My Employer Denies My Holiday Requests?

As long as your employer gives you the correct notice, they can refuse your holiday request. If they keep refusing and it’s stopping you from taking your holiday, it’s worth talking to them to find out why. If they keep refusing your request so that you’re not able to take your holiday in the current leave year, our solicitors can help you claim that your employer has refused to allow you to take holiday. You would have to start early conciliation within 3 months less one day of the date on which you wanted your holiday to start.

What If I Don’t Take Holiday?

It is common for employers to receive an influx of holiday requests at the end of the year or having to pay out for holidays not taken by their employees. To help your employer it is recommended to book in for holidays as soon as possible and try to use up all your holidays. Your employer is allowed to write regular written reminders that your holidays are not used, track when your holidays are approved or denied, and serve notice to you to take holiday. However, your employer is not allowed to force you to take holiday. Additionally, it is unlawful for employers to make it too difficult for workers to take holiday.

Can I Opt Out of the 48-hour Working Week?

The UK allows for workers to opt-out of the 48-hour working week limit, but this does not mean they are opting out of the whole regulation. If you opt-out of the 48 working hour week limit, you are relinquishing the right to work no more than 48 hours in a week. However, you are still entitled to rest breaks and holidays. If you have opted out of the 48-hour working week you can opt back in again if you give your employer fair notice. If your employer is forcing, you to work over 48 hours and you have not opted out of the 48-hour work week our solicitors can help you make a claim.

 Do I Get Outstanding Holiday Pay If I Am Leaving My Job?

No matter your reason for leaving your employment, you are entitled to holiday pay accrued all the way up to your last day. You are even entitled to this payment if you have been dismissed from the company.

Do I Get Holiday Pay for Overtime Hours?

When you work any overtime, you accrue holiday pay. Make sure that you make a note of your overtime hours. Therefore, you can make sure you are getting the correct holiday pay.

For a consultation about your work time regulations, call the experienced employment law solicitors at AWH Solicitors on 0800 999 2220.

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