The Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) give most workers in the UK the right to take breaks during their working day.


Most of those who work more than 8 hours per day have a right to take a break of at least 20 minutes. Young workers are given additional protection; those aged 16-17 have a right to a 30 minute break if they work more than four and a half hours per day. Additionally, these breaks must be taken during the six hour period - not at the beginning or end. However, the exact timing of breaks is the decision of your employer. Your employer is under an obligation to make sure that working conditions are such that you are able to take a break, for example, having an extra member of staff to cover breaks. The entitlement to breaks listed above however is only the minimum entitlement under the law - your employment contract may outline that you are entitled to more and so you should check this for further details. There are however some circumstances where your breaks may be rescheduled or delayed - you must be given the same length of break later in the day. This may be applied in a wide range of industries where a continuous service is required to meet demand.