smallbusiness.co.uk: Helping your business think big

Email a Friend

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 eleven consecutive hours. In brief, 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. Any more than 48 hours 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 that came into force last year.

You can visit http://www.dti.gov.uk/er/work_time_regs/wtr0.htm for more information on the Working Time Regulations and the rules for averaging out the above time limits over a period of time.

.............................................................................................................................................................

>>See also: Small Business Profit Club

Small Business Profit ClubSmallBusiness.co.uk is launching a new membership service providing priority advice & support to small business owners.

Among the wealth of benefits within the Small Business Profit Club will be a priority Q&A service for early-stage businesses, along with educational workshops, exclusive deals and savings and much more.

We look forward to joining you on your journey to a successful, profitable and thriving business!

Visit the Small Business Profit Club and find out more.

.............................................................................................................................................................

See also: More flexible hours for working parents

Previous article

Maternity cover for your business

Next article

Prepare for age discrimination laws

Post a comment

9 comments

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?

Related

News | Management

Taking on employees

Comment & opinion | Business banking

Paying your employees

Expert view | Legal advice

Cutting staff hours

Guide | Employing staff

Dealing with difficult employees

Small Business Offers

More from Small Business

Starting a Business
What to do when suppliers let you down 

What to do when suppliers let you down 

Nothing can be more frustrating than being let down by a supplier, but what’s the...  

Financing a Business
How a small business received grant help

How a small business received grant help

Alan White, development director at Aberdeen-based mobile learning company Skills@Work, explains how his small business...  

News
Small companies losing out on profit by not having business plan

Small companies losing out on profit by not having business plan

Small enterprises that had a business plan in place last year were consistently more profitable...  

Blog
UK small businesses still struggling to stay afloat

UK small businesses still struggling to stay afloat

James Benamor questions why the business rate cap came so late for the UK's long-suffering...