The Working Time Regulations 1998 state the following provision for rest breaks at work and time off:
A worker is entitled to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes when daily working time is more than six hours. It should be a break in working time and should not be taken either at the start, or at the end, of a working day.
Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, regulation 10, a worker is entitled to a rest period of 11 consecutive hours rest in each 24 hour period during which he works for his employer.
However, there are a number of special circumstances in which the entitlement to rest periods does not apply, for example, where the activities involve a need for continuity of service or production or where there is a foreseeable surge of activity. Also, if a shift worker changes shift, it may not be possible for them to take their full rest entitlement before starting the new pattern of work. In such a case the entitlement to daily and weekly rest does not apply.
An adult worker is also entitled to one day off a week; this can be averaged over 2 weeks.
If a young worker is required to work more than four and a half-hours at a time, then they are entitled to a break of 30 minutes. A young worker is also entitled to twelve uninterrupted hours in each 24-hour period in which they work. Both these entitlements can only be altered or excluded in exceptional circumstances. Young workers are also entitled to 2 days off each week and this cannot be averaged over 2 weeks.
There is a free guidance produced by the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), which can provide more information.
If you require further advice regarding in work rest breaks and time off, please contact ACAS.