The Working Time Directive applies to “Workers”.  “Worker” includes all employees and self employed contractors, who personally perform work for “an employer” other than where the employer is a client or customer of a profession, or business undertaken by the worker.

All workers are entitled to:

Annual Leave 

  • A minimum of 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year.  For a full time worker this represents 28 paid days holiday per year.  The entitlement includes all public and bank holidays
  • On the termination of your employment you are entitled to payment for your accrued but untaken holiday entitlement
  • If (as is often the case with self employed workers) you have not received paid holiday for a number of years, you may, on the termination of your employment, claim payment in respect of all outstanding holiday pay as a series of deductions from your wages

The 48 hour week: You cannot be required to work for more than 48 hours per week on average (averaged over a 17 week reference period).  You may opt out of this protection by entering into a written “opt out” agreement.  You have the right not to be dismissed or subjected to a detriment because of refusal to enter into or to continue in an “opt out” agreement.

Rest periods

  • You have the right to a daily rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours in each 24 hour period (young workers aged between 15 to 18 are entitled to not less than 12 consecutive hours in each 24 hour period)
  • You are entitled to either
    1. Two uninterrupted rest periods of not less than 24 hours in each 14 day period; or
    2. One uninterrupted rest period of not less than 48 hours in each 14 day period

(Young workers between the ages of 15 to 18 are entitled to a rest period of at least 48 hours in each 7 day period)

Rest breaks: If your daily working time is more than 6 hours you are entitled to an unpaid rest break of an uninterrupted period of at least 20 minutes (young workers, 15 to 18, are entitled to a rest break of at least 30 minutes where their daily working time is more than 4½ hours).

Night work:

  • A night worker’s normal hours of work must not exceed an average of 8 hours, in each 24 hour period
  • Night workers are entitled to a free health assessment before beginning night work, and thereafter at regular intervals

If you feel that you may have a Working Hours related employment claim contact the TSP Employment team on 01206 574431 or by email at

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The content of this page is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that specific professional advice is obtained on any particular matter. We do not accept responsibility for any loss arising as a result of the use of the information contained in this page.