Working Time & Pay

The Working Time Regulations 1998 recognise that it is essential for employees to have regular periods of rest and they impose a limit on hours of work and rules regarding rest breaks, as well as setting out a minimum amount of holiday which employees should be provided with.

Rest periods

Workers should be provided with the following rest periods, unless they are exempt:

  • 11 hours' uninterrupted rest per day;
  • 24 hours' uninterrupted rest per week (or 48 hours' uninterrupted rest per fortnight); and
  • a rest break of 20 minutes when working more than six hours per day.

Holiday entitlement

The Working Time Regulations 1998 provide that workers have a right to 5.6 weeks paid holiday each year. This amounts to 28 days for a full-time employee. This is made up of the following:

  • Working Time Directive leave, which is the right to a minimum of four weeks’ annual leave each years (20 days for a full time employee).
  • The domestic right to an additional 1.6 weeks annual leave each year, which represents the number of public holidays in the UK in a year (8 days for full time employees). 

Many employees also receive additional holiday rights under their contracts of employment. 

Holiday pay

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998 workers are entitled to be paid during statutory annual leave at a rate of a weeks’ pay for each week of leave. There is no cap on the amount of a weeks’ pay for these purposes.

Following the decisions in a number of cases over the last few years various developments have arisen in relation to how holiday pay should be calculated. These decisions have led to much confusion, as well as a need for employers to potentially change their processes. Essentially, workers should receive their normal remuneration during periods of Working Time Directive leave. What is regarded as “normal” remuneration will depend on a number of factors. 

If you think that your employer might be breaching any of your rights under the Working Time Regulations 1998 we can advise you in respect of this. In addition, our employment law team have considerable experience in advising on the law relating to holiday entitlement and holiday pay. Therefore, if you think that your employer might be falling foul of paying you the correct amount of holiday pay we can advise you on this. We can also assist with raising any such complaints with your employer.