Hours of work and working time
Hours of work and working time

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Hours of work and working time
  • Working time defined
  • The maximum working week
  • Opting out of the maximum working week
  • Daily rest periods
  • Weekly rest periods
  • Rest breaks
  • Adequate rest breaks where work patterns risk health and safety
  • Adequate rest for mobile workers
  • Special case exemptions: compensatory rest
  • More...

This Practice Note considers the restrictions and limits on working hours and shift patterns imposed by the Working Time Regulations 1998, SI 1998/1833 (WTR 1998).

Workers and employers are free to agree any hours of work they choose up to the maximum working hours set out in the WTR1998.

The WTR 1998 implement Directive 2003/88/EC, the Working Time Directive, (WTD). Legislation that implements UK obligations under EU law (such as the obligation to implement a Directive), applicable in the UK at the end of the Brexit transition period/IP completion day are preserved in the UK’s domestic legal framework as retained EU law. For further information, see Practice Note: Brexit and IP completion day—implications for employment lawyers—Retained EU law.

This Practice Note contains references to case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Broadly, EU judgments handed down on or before the end of the Brexit transition period/IP completion day (11pm on 31 December 2020) continue to be binding on UK courts and tribunals (even if the EU courts later depart from them) until the UK courts exercise their powers to diverge. For the most part, EU case law made after that date is not binding on the UK, although the UK courts and tribunals may continue to ‘have regard to’ EU judgments if relevant. For more detailed information on the treatment of EU

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