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...

Workers and employers are free to agree any hours of work they choose up to the maximum working hours set out in the Working Time Regulations 1998, SI 1998/1833 (WTR 1998).

Where there is any chance that a worker may have to work hours or shift patterns that are close to the WTR 1998 maximums, contractual terms relating to hours should be drafted with the main provisions of the WTR 1998 in mind.

The written statement of particulars of employment must include certain prescribed details of any terms and conditions relating to hours of work, including any terms and conditions relating to:

  1. normal working hours

  2. the days of the week the worker is required to work, and

  3. whether or not such hours or days may be variable, and if they may be, how they vary or how that variation is to be determined

For further guidance on the requirements of the written statement of particulars generally, see Practice Note: Written statements of employment particulars—from 6 April 2020.

If, for example, it is intended that hours of work should be zero hours, an express contractual term to that effect should be included in the employment contract. Where there is no such term, and there is instead an express contractual term that working hours will be specified by the employee's line manager, an employee may have a contractual entitlement to

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