Employees can’t work more than 48 hours a week on average, based on a 17-week average. Under 18s are not allowed to work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week in total.
Employees who are over 18 can choose to work more than 48-hour weeks by opting out, unless they are:
• An airline employee
• A worker on ships or boats
• A worker in the road transport industry, for example, delivery drivers (except for drivers of vehicles under 3.5 tonnes using GB Domestic drivers’ hours rules)
• Other staff who travel in and operate vehicles covered by EU rules on drivers’ hours, for example, bus conductors
• A security guard on a vehicle carrying high-value goods
Employees may be required to work more than 48-hours on average if they work in:
• A job that requires 24-hour staffing
• In the armed forces, emergency services or police
• In security and surveillance
• As a domestic servant in a private household
• As a seafarer, sea-fisherman or worker on vessels on inland waterways
• Where working time is not measured and you’re in control, for example, you’re a managing executive with control over your decisions
A night worker is someone who works at least 3 hours during 11pm and 6am, unless the employer and employee agree on a different night period. Night workers are not allowed to work more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period and an employee under 18 cannot work between 12am to 4am, unless they work in:
• Cultural, sporting, artistic or advertising activities
• Post or newspaper delivery
Employers must keep records of working hours for at least 2 years to show employees are not exceeding these limits.
Workers over 18 are entitled to 3 different types of breaks:
Rest breaks at work: An uninterrupted 20 minutes rest for employees who have worked more than 6 hours in a day.
Daily rest: Employees are entitled to 11 hours rest between working days.
Weekly rest: An uninterrupted 24-hour break every week and an uninterrupted 38-hour break without any work, every fortnight
Employees aren’t entitled to the 3 different break types if they work in:
• The armed forces, emergency services or police and they’re dealing with an exceptional catastrophe or disaster
• A job where they freely choose what hours they work (like a managing director) or where the work is not measured (ie no set hours)
• Sea transport
• Air or road transport
The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on the employees’ age and whether they are an apprentice. For employees over 25, they are entitled to the National Living Wage.
25 and over: £8.21
21 to 24: £7.70
18 to 20: £6.15
Under 18: £4.35
Apprentices are entitled to the standard apprentice rate if they are aged under 19 or aged over 19 and in their first year of the apprenticeship.
There is no statutory obligation to pay employees for work they completed in overtime. However, the employees’ average pay for the total hours worked must not fall below the average National Minimum Wage.
Employers can get £94.25 per week through Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they are too ill to work. This is paid by the employer and for an employee to qualify for this, they must have been off sick for 4 or more days in a row, which can include non-working days.
Almost all employees who work 5-day weeks are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday a year, the equivalent to 28 days. Statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days, so if an employee is working 6-day weeks, they are still only entitled to 28 days paid holiday. For those who work part-time, the amount of paid holiday they can get will be fewer than 28 days.
For example, if they worked 4-day weeks, the calculation would be 4 x 5.6, which would be 22.4 days holiday a year.
Employers can choose to include Bank holidays as part of the statutory annual leave.
There is a total of 8 public holidays in the United Kingdom each year which are on:
• New Year’s Day – 1st January
• Good Friday – Varied date but always a Friday
• Easter Monday – Varied date but always a Monday
• Early May bank holiday – Varied date but always a Monday
• Spring bank holiday – Varied date but always a Monday
• Summer bank holiday – Varied date but always a Monday
• Christmas Day – 25th December
• Boxing Day – 26th December
Statutory Maternity Leave is 52 weeks, which is made up of 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave. Mothers are not required to take the full 52 weeks leave but must take 2 weeks.
The earliest employees can start their leave is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. This can start the day after the birth, (if the baby is early) or automatically if the mother is off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week the baby is due.
Statutory Maternity Pay is paid up to 39 weeks and employees will get 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks, then £148.68 or 90% of average weekly earnings, (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.
For an employee to be eligible for paternity leave they must be a:
• Husband or partner of the mother (or adopter)
• Child’s adopter
• The intended parent (if they’re having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement)
Employees can choose to have 1 week or 2 weeks of consecutive leave, with the leave start date to be one of the following:
• The day of birth
• An agreed number of days after the birth
• An agreed number of days after the expected week of birth
Statutory Paternity Pay is either £148.68 a week or 90% of average earnings (whichever is lower).
Statutory Adoption Leave is 52 weeks and is made up of 26 weeks Ordinary Adoption leave and 26 weeks Additional Adoption Leave. Leave can start:
• 14 days before the expected adoption
• On the date of adoption
• The day an employee has been matched with a child to be placed with them, by a UK adoption agency
• The day the child arrives in the UK
• Within 28 days of the day the child arrives in the UK (overseas adoptions)
• The day the child is born or the day after (parents in surrogacy arrangements)
Statutory Adoption Pay is paid up to 39 weeks and employees will get 90% of average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks. Then £148.68 or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.