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Working Time Regulations

Working Time Regulations


Regulations governing an employee’s right to annual leave, rest breaks, non-working days and weekly breaks are known as the Working Time Regulations (WTRs). These regulations are designed to ensure that employees are not overworked, or employed in working conditions that have an adverse effect on their health and wellbeing.

By ensuring that your business complies with WTRs, you can not only safeguard the wellbeing of employees, but can also protect your organisation in the event of grievances, complaints and Employment Tribunal action.

It is also important to note that WTRs can vary between industries, with guidelines specifying the maximum number of hours employees can be expected to work per week, as well as a minimum allowance for breaks and holidays. But businesses that require employees to work night shifts, overtime or on-call responsibilities are particularly vulnerable to infringements of the Working Time Regulations, and it is therefore important to clarify which activities constitute ‘working time’ in employment contracts, minimising the potential for any future disagreements.

Loch Employment Law can offer extensive expertise in providing comprehensive advice to employers on WTRs, enabling organisations to comply with the relevant guidelines while ensuring that all staff are working appropriate hours, minimising the risk of any related disputes and claims.

““The speed of their service levels combined with high quality advice always exceeds our expectations and as a result we have been a satisfied client of the firm for over 7 years. I would not hesitate to recommend Loch Employment Law to any business.””

Operations Director, Professional Services

How Loch Employment Law can help

Our team of expert employment lawyers can work with you to identify what activities constitute ‘working time’ within a given role, before drafting employment contracts that minimise the risk of ambiguity and subsequent disputes. Employers can also benefit from our assistance in navigating due process in each case where staff wish to ‘opt out’ of WTRs.

With comprehensive advice from Loch Employment Law, we can help foster a working environment that upholds and supports the wellbeing of employees, while providing pragmatic solutions that strengthen the long-term productivity and profitability of your business.

What kinds of problems can arise in relation to working time regulations?

Where disputes and claims arise, they typically relate to disagreements between staff and employers regarding:


  • What constitutes ‘working time’. Staff and employers may disagree over whether certain activities count as chargeable time, i.e. time spent travelling to and from work, or being ‘on call’ but off duty – for example, in professions such as care work which may involve sleeping at the workplace.
  • When a connection is drawn between working time and ill health. This is seen particularly in relation to health conditions developed by shift workers.
  • Managing disabilities. Where an employee finds that their disability impacts their experience of their working time, this can result in disputes and claims if reasonable adjustments are not made by the employer.
  • Holiday Pay. Disputes can arise regarding holiday entitlement and connected to holiday pay. The WTRs entitle staff to a minimum amount of paid holiday per year — 5.6 weeks per year — including all public holidays if the employer wishes.


“The expertise of Loch Employment Law made me feel in very safe hands. Caroline was thorough at explaining the legal situation, giving clear advice and was committed to getting me a fair outcome.”

App Developer

“Thanks for all your help. Very impressed how you pressed the negotiations forward on Wednesday to allow us to reach a quick resolution.”

App Developer

“Being a new employer can be very daunting but she gave me the confidence to forge ahead with the process always explaining things in a straight forward manner.”

Dave Mac, Employer