What is the legal entitlement to breaks relating to hours worked?
The Working Time Regulations 1998 states that: “Where an adult worker’s daily working time is more than six hours, he is entitled to a rest break of no less than 20 uninterrupted minutes.
“Where a young worker’s daily working time is more than four and a half hours he is entitled to a rest break of at least 30 minutes, which shall be consecutive if possible.”
A young worker is a worker who is at least 15 but not yet 18 years old and adult workers are 18 or over. There are other rules relating to the interrupting of breaks; it is to be spent away from the workstation; compensatory rest if a rest break is interrupted or disallowed; if the health and safety of a worker is put at risk, particularly for monotonous or pre-determined work, then the employer should ensure that the worker is given adequate rest breaks. For most workers the first two rules will apply.
Nothing in the regulations states that the breaks should be paid if monotonous or predetermined work rates apply, although they can be paid if the employer wishes. Risk assessments should also be carried out, and if you are still unsure professional advice taken.
See also: Non-smokers fume over extra breaks