Beware of Breaching Working Time Regulations

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“Beware of breaching working time regulations” is the message from an employment tribunal recently. The case in question refers to a former assistant manager employed with a pub company, owned by a renowned celebrity chef (Marco Pierre White). The former assistant manager won his case against the chef’s pub company for breaching working time regulations on several occasions. The former assistant manager was on rota to work a particular shift pattern which meant it was unfeasible for him to adhere to the working time regulations and ensure he took the required rest breaks between shifts. The assistant manager was of the view that, having worked in the catering industry for more than 10 years, to show dedication to the role employees were asked to work long hours and miss out on their breaks. The employment tribunal ruled that the pub company were in breach of working time regulations and that the former assistant manager had also been unfairly constructively dismissed. Working time regulations require employees to work no more than 48 hours a week with a rest of 11 hours between shifts. There are three types of rest breaks:
  1. Mid-day rest – if employees are working more than 6 hours per day, the minimum requirement is to have a 20 minute rest break during the middle of the day.
  2. Daily rest – this should be 11 hours rest between working days. For example, if a shift ends at 7pm the earliest the employee can start work the following day is 6am.
  3. Weekly rest – This should be an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work or a period of 48 hours of rest in a fortnight.
Employers should take into consideration the type of job their employees are carrying out, e.g. is it monotonous work, is health and safety at risk from not taking regular breaks or are any of your employees between the ages of 16 and 18 when slightly different rest breaks requirements apply.

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