Working Time Regulations: rest breaks

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He was told by his management instead that he should work 8 hours without a break and leave early.

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In a recent case, Grange v Abellio London the Employment Appeal Tribunal put the onus onto the employer to ensure the rest breaks are arranged and taken in compliance with the Working Time Regulations.

In this case, the employee was contracted to work an 8.5 hour shift, which included a half an hour break for lunch. He was told by his management instead that he should work 8 hours without a break and leave early.

The employee subsequently issued a claim based on Section 10 of the Working Time Regulations that he was refused a rest break. The employer raised in their defence that the employee had never asked for a rest break and therefore had not been refused his statutory entitlement to break. The first instance employment tribunal agreed with this argument.

On appeal the decision was overturned. It follows that workers do not have to ask for a rest break first and then be refused to claim a breach of their entitlement to rest breaks under the Regulations. This decision departs from earlier cases which previously confirmed a breach of the Regulations would only arise when a worker asked for an entitlement and then was refused. It remains to be seen whether the tribunals will adopt a similar approach to annual leave entitlement and other statutory rights.

Following Grange v Abellio London it is certain that the burden is shifted onto the employer to make sure the jobs of their workers are structured in compliance with the Working Time Regulations. Please contact Lawgistics if you have any queries regarding the workers’ rights under the Working Time Regulations.

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