POSTED: May 17 2017
Reminder about working hours and the Working Time Regulations

Reminder about working hours and the Working Time Regulations

Would you work the equivalent of an extra couple of months each year for no extra pay? Your reply might be: not unless I really depended on my job.

According to a study conducted by, a website that provides price comparisons services, British employees are working an average of 68 days more each year than they are contracted to, often for no additional pay. The survey, which was based on responses from 2,000 people in full time salaried or hourly employment, reveals that 60 per cent of employees believe that they don’t have a good work-life balance with only a third saying that they typically leave work on time.

The starting point is to look at the terms of the employment contract. The contract should set out the hours of work and the remuneration to be received, whether it’s in the form of an annual salary or pay at an hourly rate. There may also be provisions outlining overtime rates.

In some contracts though while the hours of work are specified, a separate clause may state that the employee is expected on occasions to work additional hours for no extra pay in order to fulfil their duties.

It is also important to remember that under the Working Time Regulations workers mustn’t work more than 48 hours each week, averaged over 17 weeks. Workers can opt out provided that they provide a minimum of seven days’ notice, although they may have to give more notice up to a maximum of 3 months if there is an agreement with the employer. There are also some general exceptions to the 48 hour week including for those workers whose working time is not measured and who are in control of their work.

Employers frequently ask employees to sign up to a waiver of the 48 hour maximum working week as part of the employment contract when they join. Although employees could at a later date give notice to opt back in, many may worry about repercussions from their bosses.

With the launch of the Apprentice Levy this month, many more organisations will now be employing apprentices.  Although apprentices can be any age, please remember that if they are under 18 special rules apply under the Working Time Regulations in respect of rest breaks in particular.

Please contact advo-HR if you need more information.


Contact advo HR (Head Office) here. .