The working time regulations are there to control the hours most workers can work and ensure that:
- The majority of workers have a statutory requirement to paid leave
- Special procedures are in place for young worker
- There are limits to the number of hours that someone can work per week
- There are limits for the number of hours work for night shifts and health assessments to be carried out regularly
The working time regulations apply to both full time and part time employees including the majority of freelancers and agency staff although there are some categories which are excluded.
Working hours play an important part of how a company is able to meets its strategic objectives and also help promote the perfect work-life balance. Unfortunately working hours can have a huge impact on getting the work-life balance right with many businesses under pressure to meet demanding customer requirements. There is also a rise in flexible working which includes the ability to work from home, shifts, flexitime and job sharing.
The working time regulations establishes the maximum working time, pattern of working hours plus establish periods of rest. This includes the working hours of night workers.
Generally the working time regulations are there to ensure:
- Workers are not working more than 48 hours in one given week but individuals are given the option to opt out of this
- They receive a twenty minute break if they are working more than six hours in one working day
- They receive 11 hours of consecutive rest in a 24 hour window
- They receive 5.6 weeks of paid leave
- They get one day off per week
- Night workers normal working hours are limited to eight hours in a 24 hour period. Night workers are entitled to receive regular health assessments.
Young workers have different regulations, restricting their working hours to 8 in a 24 hours window. They are also limited to 40 hours a week and must receive a 30 minute break if they are working more than four and half hours per day. Young people are also entitled to two days leave per working week.
Any changes to an individuals working pattern should be consulted with the worker by the employer and reasons would be explained to the employee.