Working Time Regulations Guide

Time Off

Employers must check:

  • How working time is arranged and whether workers can take the time off they are entitled to.
  • Whether any exceptions or flexibilities apply [more].
  • The different entitlements for young workers.

Daily rest

A worker is entitled to a rest period of 11 uninterrupted hours between each working day.

Weekly rest

A worker is entitled to one whole day off a week.

Days off can be averaged over a two-week period, meaning workers can take two days off a fortnight. Days off are taken in addition to paid annual leave.

Employers must make sure that workers can take their rest, but are not required to make sure they do take their rest.

For information on when the limits may not apply click here

Mobile workers are excluded from the usual rest break entitlements under the Working Time Regulations. Instead, these workers are entitled to ‘adequate rest’.

‘Adequate rest’ means that workers have regular rest periods. These should be sufficiently long and continuous to ensure that fatigue or other irregular working patterns do not cause workers to injure themselves, fellow workers or others, and that they do not damage their health, either in the short term or in the longer term.

Special rules for Young Workers

Daily rest

A young worker is entitled to 12 uninterrupted hours in each 24-hour period in which they work. The rest may be interrupted if periods of work are split up over the day or do not last long.

A young worker’s entitlement to daily rest can be reduced or excluded in exceptional circumstances only. Where this occurs, the young worker should receive compensatory rest within 3 weeks.

Weekly rest

Young workers are entitled to two days off each week. This cannot be averaged over a two-week period, and should normally be two consecutive days.

If the nature of the job makes it unavoidable, a young worker’s weekly time off can be reduced to 36 hours, subject to them receiving compensatory rest (see section What is compensatory rest?).

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