What is the legal number of hours between shifts?
The European Working Time Directive and parts of the Young Workers Directive have been implemented in the UK through the Working Time Regulations. Their purpose is to ensure that workers get sufficient rest to enable them to carry out their duties safely when they are at work and protect their long-term health. Limits are therefore applied to the total hours that an individual works, regardless of how many jobs they do. Employers are required to keep a record of the hours worked by every employee. They must also ensure that workers do not exceed the legal limits and, for part time workers, must take into account hours worked for another employer.
There are different specifications put in place for employees who are aged 18 and over, and for those who have left school, but still under the age of 18.
For employees who are over 18, the minimum requirement for rest in between working days is 11 consecutive hours. The maximum amount of hours an employee can work is 48 hours per week, which is averaged out over a 17 week period. Employees must have at least 24 hours off out of 7 days or 48 hours off out if 14 days.
For those employees who are under the age of 18, the minimum rest period between working days is 12 consecutive hours. Again for these employees under the age of 18 the maximum number of hours that they can work per week is 40, or 8 hours per day and they must have 48 hours off per week.
There are restrictions put in place for night workers as they should not work more than an average of eight hours in each 24-hour period. This excludes overtime.
See also: More flexible hours for working parents