Take a Break?

13 October 2014

As an employer, there are two main considerations to take in to account when it comes to break times for your employees. There’s your legal obligations based on working hours, and there’s the human resources element – what can you do that’s specific to your business and your employees that will benefit both parties.

Working time Regulations 1998, specify that:

  • A worker is entitled to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes when daily working time is more than six hours.
  • 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.
  • An adult worker is also entitled to one day off a week; this can be averaged over 2 weeks.

As well as providing the legal breaks, as an employer, it’s also worth considering the productivity benefits that can come from flexibility around break times. Being flexible with break times and allowing staff to devise their own break times, so they can set break times based on work load and whether they’re on a roll, can lead to a higher quality of work output.

There’s also been a rise in employers encouraging employees to take ‘Micro breaks’ – small breaks of no longer than 3-5 minutes that allow the employee to refresh. Taking this time to make a drink or take a walk around the building before returning to their tasks – refreshed and with renewed enthusiasm for the task in hand.

Andy Simcock, HR Consultant for Citation said the benefits of these breaks are far-reaching within most businesses.

“Not only do micro breaks address issues with increasing productivity and quality of work, they can also have a positive impact on stress and nervousness levels – which gives long term benefits to both the employee and the employer. Providing flexibility around break times can be beneficial as long as both parties understand the break is there to encourage a consistency in quality of work”

Each individual employer needs to consider their approach to staff breaks based on the circumstance in the place of work. Citation can offer support and advice with ideas, implementation and regulation of break times. Get in touch for more information.

Note: special circumstances can apply, including where continuity of service is involved, or where there is a surge in activity. Young workers and drivers also have different rules. Always check with your compliance advisor for full up to date information.

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