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I work at a tourist attraction and recently there's been heated discussion in my department over the provision of toilet and rest breaks.

 

Because each position has to be covered by a trained person and may not be left unattended there are limits on how often we get breaks and how long they may be. When our team is short-staffed sometimes staff from other departments can help out but that is rare. Breaks have to be requested and arranged by managers before we walk off.

 

Over the next 2 months we are going to be expected to work 5 hours continuously before the lunchbreak or going home, dependent on the shift we work. We are on our feet outside all day and do not have desks to sit at, unlike the managers....

 

What are the legal limits on working times and the provision of breaks?

Is the company legally required to provide us with the opportunity to have breaks when we need them?

Are there any legal time limits?

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A 20 minute break after three hours, that is stupid if you are on your feet for 5 hours - it comes under the provisions of the European Working Time Directive. If they are making you work five hour long shifts without a break that is illegal - report them to the local council and see what they have to say, it can be done without revealing you actually work there yourself.

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I work at a tourist attraction and recently there's been heated discussion in my department over the provision of toilet and rest breaks.

 

Because each position has to be covered by a trained person and may not be left unattended there are limits on how often we get breaks and how long they may be. When our team is short-staffed sometimes staff from other departments can help out but that is rare. Breaks have to be requested and arranged by managers before we walk off.

 

Over the next 2 months we are going to be expected to work 5 hours continuously before the lunchbreak or going home, dependent on the shift we work. We are on our feet outside all day and do not have desks to sit at, unlike the managers....

 

What are the legal limits on working times and the provision of breaks?

Is the company legally required to provide us with the opportunity to have breaks when we need them?

Are there any legal time limits?

 

The general rule is as below. Break should be taken not too close to start or finish time.

 

Rest breaks during the working day

If you are aged 18 or over, and your working day is at least 6 hours, you have the right to an uninterrupted rest break of at least 20 minutes unless:

  1. you are in a particular sort of work, where special rules apply.
  2. you are in a particular sort of work which means you have the right to a compensatory rest break .

Your contract of employment may be more generous than this. There's no law about when this break should happen although government guidelines say that the break should be taken during the day rather than at the beginning or the end. You are entitled to spend your break away from your workstation. Lunch breaks count as rest breaks. If you’re a shift worker, your rest break should be in addition to any breaks you get in between shifts.

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Just to clarify matters here, we work an 8 hour day with 2 shifts per day. In that time we get a 1 hour lunch break. For example next month we will start at 9am, have lunch 2-3pm and finish at 5pm OR start at 2pm, lunch 4-5pm and finish at 10pm.

 

Each shift there is a block of 5 hours solid work potentially without a break and never more than 15 minutes which includes time to reach the staffroom.

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Just to clarify matters here, we work an 8 hour day with 2 shifts per day. In that time we get a 1 hour lunch break. For example next month we will start at 9am, have lunch 2-3pm and finish at 5pm OR start at 2pm, lunch 4-5pm and finish at 10pm.

 

Each shift there is a block of 5 hours solid work potentially without a break and never more than 15 minutes which includes time to reach the staffroom.

 

You will find all the details on the attached link.

Whilst it might not seem fair, if they comply with the law that is all you can ask for.

Good luck

 

Rest breaks : Directgov - Employment

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