Working hours policy template and documents

All the following working hours documents are included in our Human Resources Folder. Click on the links to discover more about each template. 

Working hours policy

Working hours forms


Working hours policy template documents Working hours

In 1998 The Working Time Regulations came in to force and put into practice the European Working Time Directive.  The Regulations apply to almost all workers whether full or part time.

The Regulations:
  • limit the average working week
  • Set statutory entitlement to leave
  • limit the night working hours
  • limit working hours for young workers

Normally an employees working hours are set out in their employment contract. Unless they choose to, or work in a sector with special rules, they should not have to work more than an average of 48 hours a week.

Contractual hours

The terms of employment that say what hours and working patterns are involved in the job. Employers must give their employees written particulars of their main terms and conditions - including the working hours.

Holiday rights

All employees that work 5 days a week have a statutory right to 28 days paid annual leave.  The employer can choose when holiday is taken and may include bank holidays as part of the 28 days. There is no statutory right to paid leave on bank and public holidays.

Rest breaks

Most employees have the right to take rest breaks the amount is usually agreed with the employer. Whether rest breaks are paid generally depends on the terms of employment.
The law requires rest breaks under:
  • Working time regulations
  • Health and safety legislation

Employees over 18 have the right to a 20 minute rest break if they work for more than six hours at a stretch. An additional break would be dependent upon the terms of employment.
Employers can say when the break is to be taken, as long as they meet the following conditions

Rest breaks:
  • Must be in one block and taken near the middle of the work period
  • Cannot be taken as time off at the end

Working hours opt out

If an employee is 18 or over and wishes to work more than 48 hours a week, they can choose to opt out of the 48 hour limit. This must be voluntary and in writing. It can't be an agreement with the whole workforce. 
An employee shouldn't be sacked or unfairly treated (for example refused overtime) for refusing to sign an opt out agreement.
An employee can cancel their 48 hour opt-out agreement whenever they want - even if it is part of their employment contract. However, they must give you at least seven days notice. This could be longer (up to three months) if they previously agreed this in writing.  You are not allowed to force an employee to cancel their opt out agreement.

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