LRD Booklets April 2013

Working Time Regulations - Application and enforcement


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Introduction

Introduction (744 words)

This booklet looks in detail at the application and enforcement of the Working Time Regulations (WTR) in the UK. Although it is essentially a matter ...
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Chapter 1

1. HEALTH, SAFETY AND WORKING TIME (82 words)

Overall, working time in the UK has declined since the introduction of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD), a trend accelerated by the ...
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Long hours of work continue (174 words)

Even so, there remain significant problems related to working time in the UK. According to the Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS 2011), 11% ...
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Health risks (431 words)

Workers working longer hours also face substantial health risks as consultants Deloitte acknowledged when they reviewed the EWTD for the European ...
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Fatigue (482 words)

Fatigue has often turned out to be the root cause of major accidents like The Herald of Free Enterprise ferry disaster, the Chernobyl nuclear ...
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Chapter 2

2. THE WORKING TIME REGULATIONS (197 words)

The UK’s legal framework for managing the risks of long-hours working now involves a “family” of working time regulations and parallel rules ...
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Main Working Time Regulations (338 words)

Most union reps dealing with issues of working time, night work, breaks, minimum rest and paid annual leave will need to refer to the main Working ...
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Parallel regulations and sector-specific directives (533 words)

The WTR regulations do not apply, or only apply in part, to groups of mobile workers covered by more specific European Directives who may also be ...
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Chapter 3

3. APPLICATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE WORKING TIME REGULATIONS (56 words)

Unions wishing to use the Working Time Regulations (WTR) to protect or advance their members’ interests can draw on guidance from a range of ...
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Guidance (91 words)

Information and advice concerning the operation of the WTR is published by the Secretary of State and outline guidance is available from the GOV.UK ...
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Negotiation (581 words)

Many aspects of the application of the WTR can be excluded or modified by agreement (see box). The main exception to this is the opt-out from the ...
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Remedies for non-compliance (66 words)

The regulations provide a mixture of employer duties and workers’ rights. Duties on the maximum weekly working time limit, night work and health ...
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Enforcement (541 words)

Enforcement responsibilities are described in the relevant regulations. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shares with local authorities and the ...
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Tribunals (173 words)

Breaches of the WTR were the most common type of case brought to the employment tribunal/Employment Appeal Tribunal. Annual leave and rest ...
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No detriment (115 words)

A worker should not be subject to any detriment by any act or failure to act on the part of the employer because they’ve refused to comply with a ...
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Chapter 4

4. WHAT THE WORKING TIME REGULATIONS APPLY TO (72 words)

Controlling the amount of time spent working is central to most forms of working time regulation in the UK. As the Office for Rail Regulation (ORR) ...
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Defining working time (224 words)

Under the WTR regulations (WTR regulation 2) working time is defined ...
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Location (146 words)

The question of where a worker works is not directly addressed by the main WTR regulations, although it has become significant as a result of ECJ ...
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Working and driving time on the roads (706 words)

Two sets of working time regulations and two sets of parallel regulations control working time on the roads. Mobile workers are covered either by ...
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Working time in air transport (280 words)

In the air transport CAT regulations, a crew member’s working time is defined in almost identical terms to those used in the WTR (see above). ...
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Working time in the marine and waterways sectors (76 words)

The IWR inland waterways regulations closely follow the WTR definition. So too do the FVR sea fishing regulations although they omit the third point ...
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Working time and paid working time (198 words)

The EWTD and WTR regulations are concerned with working and non-working time, irrespective of whether it is paid or not. As the 2010 Deloitte report ...
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On-call and standby duty under the WTR (563 words)

On-call duty is an important component of working time in that workers are sometimes committed for long hours to be at their employer’s disposal ...
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Standby as working time in civil aviation (196 words)

Unlike the WTR, the concept of standby duty is explicitly addressed in the CAT aviation regulations. They refer to a crew member who (in accordance ...
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Sleep-ins and working time (649 words)

Based on the SiMAP, Jaeger and other rulings we know that time spent by a worker at their workplace on-call is working time even when a worker is ...
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On-call work and sleep-ins in the NHS (204 words)

Since 2011 there has been a negotiated national framework (to be applied locally) for on-call work and sleep-ins in the NHS (NHS terms and ...
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Unmeasured or autonomous work (176 words)

Regulation 20 (1) of the WTR disapplies most of the working time limits (the maximum working week limits, night work limits and rest periods/breaks) ...
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Travelling time (152 words)

Travelling time may or may not count as working time for the purposes of the WTR regulations, depending on the circumstances. This can be a ...
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Rest, breaks and working time (413 words)

Working time can be defined by what it is not — a rest period. The two terms are mutually exclusive (Article 2 (2) of EWTD Directive 2003/88 ...
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Working abroad (103 words)

Government guidance (GOV.UK) counts time spent “actually working abroad” as work “in some cases” (i.e. if working for a UK-based company). ...
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Training (35 words)

A worker is regarded as working when undertaking training that is job-related. This should apply also to time spent working at home, on a basis ...
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Negotiated working time (33 words)

It is open to unions to negotiate on what else might count as working time (such as seminars and conferences, study leave, time employed on trade ...
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Keeping records (260 words)

Under the main WTR regulations employers are required to keep records which are “adequate” to show compliance with the 48-hour week, young ...
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Chapter 5

5. WHO IS COVERED BY THE WORKING TIME REGULATIONS (91 words)

Most working people are covered by one or other of the “family” of Working Time Regulations (WTR) and rules that operate in the UK (see chapter 2 ...
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Workers (212 words)

The WTR regulations apply to workers rather than just employees. This means they cover any worker who has entered into, or works under a contract of ...
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Self-employed (244 words)

Self-employed workers are excluded from the main WTR, although they are now covered by the RTR road transport working time regulations. In the ...
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Formerly excluded sectors and mobile workers (243 words)

Until 2003 the WTR regulations excluded workers in a range of sectors (air, rail, road, sea, inland waterways and sea fishing). That blanket ...
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Road transport workers (389 words)

Mobile workers in road transport who work on vehicles within the scope of the EU Drivers’ Hours Rules (see below) are covered by the RTR road ...
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Self-employed drivers (150 words)

Self-employed drivers are in the scope of Directive 2002/15/EC and in 2012 the European Commission withdrew a proposal to remove them. The RTR ...
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Civil aviation workers (98 words)

Mobile staff covered by the Civil Aviation Directive are excluded from almost everything in the WTR regulations, and are covered instead by the CAR ...
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Seafarers (116 words)

Seafarers are excluded completely from the WTR regulations (WTR 18 (1)(a)) and are covered instead by regulations based on the Seafarers’ ...
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Fishing workers (34 words)

Workers on board sea-going fishing vessels are excluded from the WTR regulations (WTR18(1)(a)). They are covered instead by the fishing regulations ...
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Inland waterways workers (128 words)

Workers on board a ship or hovercraft carrying passengers or goods by inland waterway or lake transport are excluded from the WTR regulations (WTR18(1 ...
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Cross-border railway service workers (108 words)

Railway train crew assigned to inter-operable cross-border services going through the Channel Tunnel (those that require at least two network safety ...
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Temporary and agency workers (175 words)

Agency workers are covered by the WTR. Since 1 October 2011, qualifying agency workers also have rights under the Agency Workers Regulations: After 12 ...
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‘Emergency’ workers (246 words)

Workers whose characteristics “inevitably conflict” with the regulations such as the armed forces, the police and civil protection services can ...
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Special case exclusions (939 words)

The main WTR regulations apply “special case” exclusions to workers in a range of activities including offshore workers, doctors in training, ...
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Young workers and children (278 words)

Young workers have distinct rights under the WTR regulations (in particular the right to an eight-hour day and a 40-hour week. In England and Wales ...
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Domestic service (55 words)

Those working in private households as domestic servants (including young workers) are excluded from certain key limits on working time (WTR ...
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Chapter 6

6. LIMITING WORKING TIME (198 words)

The main limitation on working time in the Working Time Regulations (WTR) is the 48-hour maximum working week, averaged-out over a “reference ...
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The 48-hour limit (235 words)

The main WTR regulations set 48 hours as the threshold for restricting weekly working time. Government guidance says: “Employers can’t force ...
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Doctors and the 48-hour limit (155 words)

Most workers have been subject to the average 48-hour limit since 1998 but it was phased in for doctors in training (under a derogation that ...
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40-hour limit for young workers (188 words)

A young worker’s maximum working time may not exceed eight hours a day or 40 hours a week (WTR regulation 5A) and there is no averaging (over a ...
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Working time limits in road transport (479 words)

Working time limits in road transport, which regulate both working time and driving time, depend on whether the mobile worker or driver is regulated ...
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Working time limits in civil aviation (178 words)

The CAR civil aviation regulations have an annual rather than weekly limit on working time of 2,000 hours including overtime. Within that they also ...
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Maritime and waterways working time limits (185 words)

Like WTR, the inland waterways IWR regulations limit working time for mobile workers to an average of 48 hours per week (with no opt-out). The FVR ...
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Cross-border railway working time limits (73 words)

The CBR cross-border rail regulations only limit driving time although they apply to non-drivers as well as drivers (the main focus is on rest ...
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Reference periods for averaging working time (233 words)

Where working time limits apply as averages rather than absolute limits (like the 48-hour week under the WTR regulations, or working time limits for ...
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Extending the WTR 48-hour reference period (195 words)

The WTR reference period for the 48-hour week can be extended beyond the standard 17 weeks under certain ...
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Road transport reference periods (122 words)

Under the RTR road transport regulations the reference period for the average 48-hour week is normally successive periods of 17 weeks, where there ...
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Civil aviation reference period (31 words)

The civil aviation CAR regulations have annual rather than weekly limits on working time and use a rolling 12-month reference period (compatible ...
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Maritime and waterways reference periods (72 words)

On the inland waterways, where tourism and seasonal variations affect workload, the IWR reference period can be extended to 26 weeks where there is ...
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Calculating the 48-hour average (260 words)

To calculate compliance with the WTR 48-hour average limit, absence from work during a reference period is taken into account by adding hours worked ...
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More than one job (461 words)

It is not uncommon for workers to have more than one job, potentially increasing the risks of fatigue, so the total hours worked should be added. ...
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Individual opt-out (585 words)

The impact of the WTR 48-hour limit on working time has been blunted by the existence of the individual opt out. Government guidance says: ...
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Refusing the opt-out (475 words)

Workers may feel they are expected to sign an opt-out, it may be included as a standard term of employment contracts or it may be emphasised in ...
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Chapter 7

7. WORKING TIME FOR NIGHT AND SHIFT WORKERS (84 words)

There is no specific health and safety legislation on shift working in the UK but the main Working Time Regulations (WTR) place specific limits of ...
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Defining night-time (318 words)

Definitions of night time, night work and night worker are central to the application of this aspect of the regulations. Fatigue is recognised to be ...
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Defining who is covered by night worker regulations (290 words)

The main WTR regulations limit night work by limiting the working time of a “night worker”. A night worker is someone ...
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Limiting night work (203 words)

The main WTR regulations limit the hours worked by night workers including ...
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Young workers and night work (187 words)

In general young workers must not work between 10 pm and 6 am, the ‘restricted period’ (this can be varied in a contract to the period between 11 ...
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Night work limits in specific sectors (141 words)

Most of the sector-specific regulations don’t attempt to limit night work in general. That is the case in fishing (FVR); the inland waterways ...
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Health assessments (431 words)

Under the main WTR regulations an employer must not assign an adult worker to work which means the worker becomes a night worker, unless s/he has ...
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Transfer from night work (167 words)

The main WTR regulations make provision for the transfer of night workers from night-work (WTR 7) ...
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Shift workers (281 words)

Around 14% of the working population take part in shift work, which the WTR regulations define as: “Any method of organising work in shifts ...
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Chapter 8

8. REST FROM WORK (397 words)

Minimum periods of rest are as important a part of the Working Time Regulations (WTR) as limits on working time. While the main WTR regulations have ...
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Daily rest periods (232 words)

Under the main WTR regulations a worker is entitled to a rest period of not less than 11 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period during which s/he ...
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Adequate rest for mobile workers (134 words)

Adequate rest takes the place of the defined rest periods (and night worker limits) for mobile workers (WTR regulation24A). This is separate from ...
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Daily rest in specific sectors (910 words)

In road transport, the RTR regulations follow the European Drivers’ Hours Rules (see chapter 5), applying identical daily rest requirements to ...
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Weekly rest (285 words)

Weekly or sometimes fortnightly rest arrangements vary between the different working time regulations. Under the main WTR regulations (WTR ...
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Weekly rest in specific sectors (440 words)

In road transport the RTR rest regulations are the same as the EU Drivers’ Hours Rules (see chapter 5). A driver must start a weekly rest period ...
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Daily and weekly rest periods for shift workers (152 words)

Rights to a daily rest period of not less than 11 hours and an uninterrupted weekly rest period of not less than 24 hours do not apply to shift ...
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Rest breaks (393 words)

In-work rest breaks are important for preventing fatigue. HSE WTR guidance gives the following general ...
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Breaks in monotonous work (104 words)

The WTR regulations include a separate obligation on employers to ensure that a worker is given “adequate rest breaks” where the “pattern ...
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Rest breaks in specific sectors (624 words)

Among specific groups covered by the WTR, the New Deal agreement in the NHS entitles doctors on all patterns of work to a 30-minute break for each ...
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Compensatory rest (331 words)

Where defined minimum rest requirements are not achieved for some reason compensatory rest has an important role to play. It is high on the agenda ...
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Chapter 9

9. PAID HOLIDAY AND OTHER LEAVE (126 words)

The right to paid holiday completes the package of working time limits and minimum rest provided for by the Working Time Regulations (WTR), and has ...
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Paid annual leave (245 words)

WTR minimum paid leave entitlement is 5.6 weeks (compared with four weeks required by the EWTD). There is no service requirement although accrual ...
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Bank holidays (49 words)

There is no statutory right to take leave on bank holidays, any entitlement to leave on these days is purely contractual, although employers are ...
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Accrual of paid leave entitlement (103 words)

The right to paid annual leave begins on the first day of employment, but holiday rights accrue on a monthly basis (WTR regulation 15(a)). The leave ...
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When paid leave can be taken (281 words)

Leave under the regulations may be taken in instalments, but normally only in the leave year in respect of which it is due. However, a series of ...
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Paid leave and other rest periods (601 words)

The right to paid leave may be of limited benefit if it simply coincided with other rest periods under the regulations. However, where working ...
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Rolled-up holiday (271 words)

Some employers try to include holiday pay in a worker’s basic pay and say that there is no obligation to pay again when holidays are actually taken. ...
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Level of holiday pay (185 words)

The main WTR regulations rely on sections 221 to 224 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to determine a week’s pay for “each week of leave” (WTR 1 ...
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Allowances (233 words)

In a case brought by pilots’ association BALPA under the CAR regulations, pilots claimed that holiday pay should be based on their basic pay plus ...
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Variable earnings (318 words)

Where earnings vary with the amount of work done (such as piecework) or when a week’s pay is partly made up of variable bonuses or commission ...
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Irregular hours (218 words)

Workers on irregular hours calculate holiday pay by adding up their pay over the previous 12 weeks and dividing it by 12 (adding in pay from the ...
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Payment in lieu and holiday carry-over (216 words)

Because the WTR regulations are intended to promote the health and safety of workers, there is a prohibition on payment in lieu of any part of the ...
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Sickness absence and paid leave (816 words)

In ruling out payment in lieu of paid leave in most circumstances, the WTR regulations prohibit the carry-over of the four weeks leave (Regulation 13 ...
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Maternity leave, parental leave and paid annual leave (125 words)

The WTR element of the Modern Workplaces consultation also dealt with the interaction between annual leave and maternity leave and parental leave. ...
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Further information

Further information (131 words)

...
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