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What is the legal number of hours employees can have between shifts?
Know the legalities of employee working hours

What is the legal number of hours between shifts?

The legal number of hours between shifts is determined by the Working Time Regulations 1998. They state that the minimum rest period in a 24-hour period should not be less than 11 consecutive hours. In general, workers are entitled to at least 11 hours rest per day, at least one day off each week and a rest break during the shift if it is longer than six hours. An employer cannot insist that a worker works more than 48 hours per week on average. Any more than this are voluntary and subject to an Opt Out agreement.

Note that for night workers, there is a maximum of 8 hours work in any 24 hours on average and a right to free health assessments.

Mobile workers are subject to a variation of these rules under the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations.

You can visit the Department for Business Innovation & Skills for more information on the Working Time Regulations and the rules for averaging out the above time limits over a period of time.

Further reading on employment law and advice for employees

See also: Number of female entrepreneurs on the up

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Gavin M

I started the a back shift yesterday @ 12:30pm - 9:00pm and then changed to a early shift and started this morning @ 7:00am, is this legal?

Chris Bunting

So I'm doing 1230till 2030 nx morning I'm on at 0500 is this legal

Zoe Wright

Hi! I work in a care home we work 2pm until midnight and can lock ourselves in the office until 7am where we have to work until 2pm again, we don't always get to sleep threw this time though however according to the company we are officially clocked off from midnight until 7am but we still get paid! 24hrs is a long time if you do not get much sleep because of being woken up on various occasions, is this legal?

Ben Harris

I work in a pub and do 8am-3pm 5pm-12am 6 days a week. Guessing this isn't legal?

Rebecca Francis

my son is being asked to work 9am to 1.30am with a two hour break in between the two shifts. I think this is highly illegal and the company are in breach of employment law?

Rebecca Heath

Does the minimum 11 hour break between shifts include travel time?

Dylan Backman

We work 3 pm until 10 pm then we are on call until 0800 for 5 consecutive days meaning you could be out all night then we are expected to be back in at 3pm we work in the gas emergency industry is this legal

Naomi Haywod

Is it legal for a company to have there employees finish work at 12 30 am n be back in for 5am for a min of 6 hr shift..employers saying the had a choice but actual employees stated they didnt... the evening shift was bout 8 hrs.

Justin Pagaduan

I work graveyard from 10:30pm go 7am and they want me back at 2:30pm the same day. Is that legal?

Brian Brian

I'm working 4pm-12am, and my nose wants me to go back in at 8am... This to legal? I am an exempt employee.

Neil Dripley

Hi, quick question: I work in the hospitality industry and we work split shifts on certain days. I was wondering what the legal breaks between these shifts are? the usual pattern is 6;30am - 3pm and then 6pm-12:30am

Ness Smith

Hi I am on a zero hours contract and have been with the company since November 2014.I have been doing 3 consecutive night shifts per week of 10pm-8am. (I do the same nights every week)they have now out of the blue said they are changing the hours to this allowed as due to my children I can not do these extra hours.I work in an extra care scheme,big building with 50 flats and I am on my own all nighy. Please help.

Katherine C

I work in retail so the shift times vary a lot. I feel as though I am never given the right rest period.. Some days I'll finish at 8:30-9ish and be back at work the next day for 6am. We also have night shifts for floor moves where I will finish at about 3am and then have to be back in at 11am. Today I'm working till 11pm and need to be back at work for 7am, I also bare in mind it takes me about 40mins to travel to and from work leaving me no time to rest. I am only just 18 so I think still class as a minor till I'm 19, it's physically draining I find myself tired all the time and always falling asleep. Who do I report this too and what can I do about it?

Pearl Hewitt

I am doing a night shift which finishes at 7am,I have been told that I have got to come in at 16.00 to do a shift. This is only 9 break. I have been told that 9 hours is the legal requirement for a break between shifts. Can they make me work this shift?

Jessica Hanna

I am doing a 10-10 twelve hour shift on monday and have been rotad into work at 7-5.45 on tuesday is this illegal?

Ian Sadler

I am working 8 hours a night which I enjoy .my employer is changing hours to 12 can they do that ??? With out consulting work force .also changing shift partten to 4 on 4 off which mean will be working at weekends.i have family comitmets at the weekend ???? Any advice would be really appreciated thank you

Claudia Claudia

Okay I need help guys I work at a Burger King I got raised to the assistant manager passion and I haven't been payed for being one for 4 months I already talked to the store manager twice going to be a third time I had to go in at 3:30pm-12:30 am and then once I was off that same day I had to open Burger King at 5:30am so I only got 4 hours of sleep and I'm not even getting paid as assistant manager but I have to do paper work and be one duty cause then I get in trouble ...what can I do

Kirsty Simmons

Hi I work in a gym as a cleaner and work Sunday 1.30pm till 10pm then have to work Monday 7am till 1.30pm.I also work Wednesday 4.30pm till 12am then Thursday7am till 12pm is this legl

Michelle Trevis

Hi, I employ personal assistants for my son and one of them started with us four years ago....since then she took on a shift via an agency she has always worked for on a sunday night....she has worked for us on mondays since she started...she has recently realised that the 11hr rest regulation is being broken. Though she will not admit she put herself in this position, can I get in to trouble for it? She has told me as immediate effect she will not be working mondays but this leaves me short of care support for my son and she will not be honouring her contract. My employers liability insurance legal department advised me to inform her non attendance on mondays will result in her breaching her contract and can be seen as misconduct.....can I force her to give up her other job until I can find another PA to cover the hours or will I have to tell her she is totally unsuitable for the role?

Greg Issacs

Hopefully some can help me with this. I work at a hotel. And I work overnights. From 11pm to 730am. They just recently put me on three days to work from 330pm until 12am. For example. Friday I work at 11pm and leave at 730Am and then I get home around 9am. I need sleep! Then start at 330pm until midnight. This happens twice a week. they also split my days. I wouldn't mind if it were 2 days overnight then my 2 days off. Then the rest 3 days in the pm. I think that's how it should be. I'm going to schedule an appointment with a clinic about my sleep deprivation and how this schedule is affecting my sleep. Can I do this ? And have the doctor write me something ? I don't need extra pay or free vacation money. I just want a proper sleep pattern. Please help me I don't know what to do. I already request this to my managers but I'm afraid we don't get along to well. I do not brown nose like everyone else so they do not give me days off I request or even this request for my days to be scheduled like this. Although everyone else does not have this problem with the schedule I am the only one. No one gets scheduled like this. Please I would Appreciate any feedback.

Munib Altaf

Hi I am full time worker and my question is if I go to my job for 10 hours shift and after I finish after 4 hours because of contractor no need more so companay will pay me 4 hours or full shift 10 hours because last week I was on my job for ten hours shift but shop manager come early morning and say to me after 4 hours my shift you can go but I was there for 10 hours so my question is by law how many hours my company will have to pay me same 4 hours or full shift for 10 hours because my company is paying me just for 4 hours but before when I start they book me for 10 hours plz tell me by law minimum how many hours company should pay me Thanx

Luke Stephens

Hi, we do 8 hour shifts. I work 2200 to 0600. If I come in during they day for 2 hours, say 1400 to 1600 would I still be Ok to come in at 2200 and only work while 0400. Cause that would make up my total contracted 8 hours. Or would I have to wait until 0500 to be able to come back in?

Kelly Thomson

Does the 11 hour rest period between shifts apply if I have 2 Jobs?

Mark Wyllie

Hi I work 14 hour shifts 08:00 to 22:00 three day's in a row is this legal?

Christine Walton

I have for the past 2 month been put on a late Saturday shift that started at 2pm and finished at 10pm then in 1st thing Sunday at 7 am till 3pm this is bad enough but last week in the same week I had this on Tuesday night 2-10 in weds morning 7-2 By Thursday I was totally shattered as had just 10 hours sleep in 2 days. Surely they can't do this?

Raymond Doyle

we have workers who work 2pm to midnight, then return at 6pm is this legally allowed

Lisa Cornish

our night staff work 12 hrs 8pm-8am with 1hr break. some do 3 nights back to back is this ok.

Michael Barela

I have to work from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am then I have to work 4:30 am to 1:00 pm. I would only get 3 1/2 hours of rest. Can they do that? I live in Wyoming and I'm only 16.

Mojtaba Asghari

If you work in a nursing home and doing nite shift how many hour rest you should have before return to work start at 10pm till 8am

Antonia Youde

Hi my employer put me in work from 7am- 11 am then 7-11 PM but we actually worked until 11.45 .We were understaffed on the evening shift .I was then rostered in from 7-11 am the next morning ? I'm 17 .We did not get breaks. Is this legal ?

Jonathan Wilkes

I work in the construction industry and was asked to work on thursday from 8am till 4:30pm then do a nightshift from midnight till 3am then go to work on friday at 8am is this legal.

Leo Snelling Leo

I work until 11:00pm and am expected to be back to work by 7am the next morning. My travel time is 1-hour each way; which means, I do-not arrive home until midnight and have to leave my home by 6am to arrive to work on time by 7am. I do this two shifts per week, is this legal in the state of AZ.?

Michelle Harris

How many hours can you roster someone in one shift

Tiff Your Momma

My manager scheduled me to work 2pm till 10pm pn sinday night and has me coming back 4am to 12pm on monday is that legal

Ian Gibson

Hello, advice please. After many years of my engineering maintenance team taking approx 8 hours rest following any out of hours call out (ooo = 7pm - 7am), they have collectively taken the decision to start taking 11 hours rest. I appreciate that some individuals live further away but I have always been flexible here. I feel extremely angry that they have decided to take more rest time based on one of the team's 'research' via the internet and that they have not had the courtesy to talk to me, their manager, about it. I have set up a meeting later this week so would like to go forearmed even if I need to accept that their research proves to be correct. We have always run our call out system with the 8 hours rest period (excluding travel home from call out and travel back to work) with no issues until now. We have already seen how the 11 hour rest period makes little sense when an engineer was called out ooo, returned home and ended up returning to work the next day for 55 minutes before end of shift. Am I legally obliged to authorise the 11 hour minimum rest period or can I, as the site manager, dictate we stick to the original 8 hour set-up? Many thanks Ian

Johnny Mcsorley

Hello im looking for advice on the water industry. I work from 8am till 430pm then travel back home and out again that night from 11pm till 7am. Am entitled to more rest/concession rate? When i ask my employer this he tells me that sure u get the next day off to which i reply sure ive already work a day shift 8-430 then a night shiftv11-7 then back in the following day 8-430 again. Any info would be vey much appreciated.

Michael Todd

hi any advise pls.I work 8.5 hrs a day doing property maintenance 8-5. once a month I'm on call. when my day finishes at 5pm I'm on call until 8am the nxt day then my normal working day starts at 8am again I do this all week and I'm then on call all weekend non stop if I get called out during the night, say between 01:00am - 04:00am should I be made to start at 08:00am and have to do another 8hrs, and again be on call at 5pm. how much sleep am I legally ment to have before starting work at 8am. I'm a carpenter/ plumber and do a lot of driving about town, London.

Katie Greene

At work our opening hours are 5.30am - 11pm, and sometimes I am required to work 2.30pm - 11pm, and be back in for opening at 5.15am the next morning (working until either 2 or 2.30pm, with flat rate standard pay Shouldn't we at least be paid for unsociable hours?

Erzsebet Vargane Kicsi

When I finish at 11 pm can my employer ask me to start 8 am shift next day? My shift 8 hours long.

Jackie Leach

is it right to be asked to work 6.00am till 9.30am then go back 2.30.till 4.430 then go back 7.30 till 9/10 pm all in 0ne day for weeks at a time

Cheryl Earles

Wondering if it is okay for my employer have me work 8 hours one day which I am done at 8:00pm and then go back to work at 7:30 am the next morning.

Shelby Lloyd

I am in a difficult situation as I am a support worker which means I sleep at work twice a week. I start at 9.30am Monday, finish at midnight for my sleep (14.5hrs) I then have to be up at 8am and don't leave work until 7pm Tuesday (11 hrs) the only 'break' I have is at midnight when I go to sleep for which I get £25 - no overtime pay. Are these hours legal!?

Peter Baxter

Every weekend I do some horrible horrible shifts. For instance, today Friday I've got a 5:30pm till 4:30am, and then the following day I am due back in at 2pm. I wont get to home and to bed on Friday till around 6am, meaning I'll get 4-6 hours sleep if im lucky. Is this legal? (I think i may be on a zero hour contract if that makes any difference?)

Dave Barker

working as a employed taxi driver working an 8 hr shift starting at 6pm till2 am then asked to start at 7.30am the same day was that legal

Mark Cunningham

Peter, Is there any rules on the length of shift that can be worked? We used to work 7.30am till 9.30pm with a 45 minute break, this was voluntary and we basically got an extra day off for it. Our work now have stopped this, we have asked to opt-out of the WTD, but they have refused us this option. But they allow our nightshift workers to opt out as they do around 72 hours a week. Can you advise please?


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