As an employer, your responsibilities to employees must be respected at all times. Aside from keeping morale at the desired levels, ignoring legal obligations under UK employment law can land your company in very serious problems – not least in relation to staff breaks.
Employee rights regarding breaks at work
Business owners should focus on three key areas when considering the rights of their employees. They are as follows:
Employee breaks during shifts
If employees work for less than six hours in a shift, there is no legal requirement for an uninterrupted break. However, when a shift lasts for six hours or longer, they are entitled to a 20-minute break at some point during the shift.
Employers are not obliged to pay employees during this break.
Employee breaks between shifts
Employees are also entitled to a break of at least 11 hours between shifts. So, if they finish at 10 pm on a Monday, they cannot work on Tuesday until at least 11 am.
This rule is most likely to affect retail and healthcare sectors rather than offices that shut for over 10 hours overnight.
Employee rota rest
In addition to the daily rest, employees are entitled to at least one 24-hour period without work each week or at least one 48-hour period without work over the course of a fortnight. This covers all work-related endeavours, meaning they should not be on call either.
It does not have to be the same 24 hours each week.
The Final Word
While satisfying the above laws is paramount to staff care, many companies will set their own policies that extend beyond them. For example, many organisations extend breaks to either 30 or 60 minutes for employees working eight hours or longer.
On a side note, incorporating regular water breaks and screen breaks is highly advised.
If you need assistance with regard to employment law or the legalities of your employees, Bond Adams Employment Law team are available to help your business with all aspects of UK employment law.