All workers are entitled to have breaks while they are at work and rest periods between working days or nights.
Minimum break and rest period entitlements are set out in the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. These rules apply to most workers but there are some exceptions.
How many breaks should I get?
You have a right to:
- A 15 minute break when you have worked more than 4 ½ hours
- A 30 minute break when you have worked more than 6 hours, which can include the first 15-minute break.
The break should not be at the end of the working day.
You have no legal right to be paid for these breaks and they are not considered working time. Whether you are paid for them depends on your employment contract.
If you start work at 8am you are entitled to take a 15-minute break at 12.30am.
At 2.15pm when you have worked 6 hours you are entitled to take a break of 30 minutes. As you have already taken a break at 12.15, your employer can limit this break to 15 minutes.
If you start working again at 2.30pm or 2.45pm and continue working until 7 or 7.15pm you are entitled to another 15-minute break.