Working time regulations

09 July 2019
Working time regulations are one of the key areas of business management and in some cases, one of the easiest to slip up on. In industries where night shifts, working overtime or being on-call are a matter of course, keeping a close eye on working hours is essential.
  • In most instances, the maximum working week must not exceed an average of 48 hours unless there has been an agreed opt out
  • In addition to this, there is an entitlement to 11 hours rest per day and 48 hours rest per fortnight
  • There is also an entitlement to a 20 minute unpaid rest break for a shift of 6 hours or more
  • For young workers (aged 15-18) the maximum is 40 hours, with no opt-out, and at least 12 hours of rest per 24 hours and 48 hours of rest per week
Crucially, overtime, travelling as part of work, training, being on call and working lunches all count towards those 48 hours. There are some sectors where the 48 hours rule does not apply or the rest period can be applied differently – but these areas normally have their own separate rules on working time.

What are the legal working hours in your business?

Peninsula provides a 24 hour employment law helpline, an employment law app and plenty of online resources, all of which provide detailed advice and information on managing working time regulations, and adhering to legal working hours in your workplace or sector. Our advice services cover every aspect of HR, health and safety and employment law, ensuring employers gain peace of mind and can protect themselves against the threat of an employment tribunal. We also provide bespoke HR training sessions to help your managers and HR professionals understand working time regulations, and handle working hours disputes effectively.

Keeping your employees happy

A company is at its most productive and successful when employees are happy and enjoying their work. Peninsula can provide bespoke advice and support on maintaining wellbeing at work for your employees, ensuring that the workplace is a happy one, so they are able to focus fully on doing their best for the company. While in an ideal world employees would never have an issue, this is unlikely in reality and problems can arise from time to time. Grievance advice is a further service provided by the employment law professionals at Peninsula, providing guidance on the best way to listen and react to employee grievances, which will then hopefully lead to a resolution to the problem which is beneficial for all parties involved. While grievances are often varied in nature, there are many solutions which can be extremely effective in multiple scenarios, allowing your business to quickly master the art of managing grievances and maintaining employee happiness.

Managing working hours

To ensure you adhere to working time regulations, Peninsula provides a comprehensive service. Firstly, we can draft bespoke contracts of employment for you; the employee's agreed working hours can be written into their contract, with additional clauses covering overtime and other special circumstances. As with any information in a contract of employment, this ensures both employer and employee are fully aware of their obligations. When clients sign up for our new HR tool, BrightHR, they will benefit from a cloud-based absence and holiday management calendar. The employee or their line manager can input any sick leave or holiday requests, providing employers with an overview of staffing levels by department or site. Any patterns in absence that cause concern can also be spotted immediately. In organisations where long or unsociable working hours are required, employers need to be on the lookout for signs of work related stress. Peninsula's Employee Assistance Programme provides online stress assessments for all your staff, as well as face to face counselling sessions for any employees who may be at risk. By striving to adhere to working time regulations, and providing a support framework for employees, businesses can make a positive impact on employee wellbeing – so contact us today for more information.

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