They Work Really Hard, Don’t They?

They Work Really Hard, Don’t They?

One of your employees, either domestic or household, is really dedicated and never takes a break, even though they work a long day – “don’t know how they do it”, you say.

Unfortunately, it appears it doesn’t matter how they do it, if you don’t build in a break, you are in the WRONG.

A recent case brought before an Employment Tribunal heard that a man found it difficult to take a break as he had to monitor what was happening on a constant basis, He was working an eight and a half hour day with an unpaid half hour lunch break.

He was asked if he would switch to an eight hour day and leave a half hour earlier, He agreed, but later filed a complaint that his health was suffering from the new working conditions. The company he worked for rejected the complaint and he took the issue to an employment tribunal which initially ruled that under the Working Time Regulation s (WTR) which states that workers are entitled to a 20 min break if they work more than 6 hours. It ruled that case law on the subject meant that there had to be a request by the employee for a rest break before there could be a refusal by the employer.

The employee had not made a request and so his claim was dismissed.

However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has now overturned that ruling saying the regulations were meant to be treated pro-actively by employers. This meant the employer was obliged to recognise a worker’s entitlement to a rest break and avoid creating situations that prevented them taking that break.

There was no need for a worker to request a break.

It makes sense, and may would say it is only fair, to ensure that employees take a break, both for their health and the working relationship between you.