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13th June 2022

Legal Break Requirements You MUST Provide For Your Employees

If you own or manage a business, then it’s important to ensure your employees are getting rest breaks during their working day. In this blog, you’ll find out whether your employees are required to take a break, how often and how you can keep track of these breaks.

Break requirements for adults (over 18)

If you employ adults who are over 18 and they work more than six hours a day, they’re entitled to:

  • 11 hours of rest between each working day.

  • A rest break of a minimum of 20 minutes - this must be taken during the day rather than at the start or end of the day.

  • 1 day off each working week (this can work out as two days off in a fortnight).

However, you may decide to give employees one hour for lunch or more breaks, it should be explained in your contract.

Break requirements for young workers

For employees under the age of 18 but over school leaving age, they are entitled to 30 minutes every 4.5 hours, a daily rest of 12 hours and 48 hours rest every week. Employees above school leaving age but under the age of 18 shouldn’t work between 10pm and 6am unless their contract states otherwise. They cannot work between midnight and 4am.

However, if there has been an ‘exceptional event’ and the work must be done immediately, they may not be entitled to these rest breaks (GOV.UK).

What if my employees don’t take a break?

Legally, as an employer you should ensure your employees take the rest breaks they’re entitled to. You should make sure your colleagues have the opportunity to take appropriate rest breaks. If your employees aren’t able to get the breaks they’re entitled to, you could land yourself in hot water.

There may be instances where employees choose to work through their break. You cannot force them to take a break, but they can’t demand extra pay or expect to finish work early.

Do I have to pay my employees for their breaks? 

You don’t have to pay your employees for their breaks - if you do decide to pay them, it should be stated in your contract.

Who isn’t entitled to breaks?

If your employees work in the following jobs, they may not be entitled to legal rest breaks if:

  • They work in emergency services, police or the armed forces and are dealing with a catastrophe or disaster.

  • They work in air, sea or road transport (they may have specialist break rules).

  • They can choose the hours they work, or they’re not measured by set hours.

If your employees don’t have the right to rest breaks, they may be entitled to compensatory rest breaks. You can find out more here.

How can businesses keep track of employee breaks?

Keeping track of your employees time and attendance is vital to the productivity and efficiency of every business. One way to do this is through TimeEscape.

Powered by UKG, TimeEscape features the latest technology and tools to keep your employee time and attendance management streamlined and simple. Coupled with powerful reporting tools it greatly enhances your management analysis while minimising overpayments and compliance risk.

The benefits of TimeEscape

  • Reduced admin

  • Ensure compliance

  • Reduced costs

  • Prevent time fraud and errors

  • Improved data security and GDPR compliance

  • Accurate reporting

Speak to one of our advisors today and find out how to revolutionise your HR, time and attendance and payroll processes.

Need help to understand what solution is best for your business?

Speak with our expert team today on 028 2764 1060

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