If you’re reading this blog, the chances are that you work.  If you’re working, you hopefully enjoy what you do, but you may not always describe it as “fun”.

If you’re running your own business, or in a senior role in someone else’s business, you’re probably not a clock watcher, and these days it’s less common to keep “normal” office hours (whatever passes for normal) so you might not think about things like a lunch break, or rest breaks.  You’ll be on the go all the time, and you’ll have a quick break if/when you have the opportunity.

That might mean that you don’t know what the law says about proper breaks, but if you have people working for you (either your employees, or your department) then not knowing what the regulations are (or letting them rush past you) might leave you rushing for the nearest legal adviser when it’s already too late to avoid trouble.

So, here’s a whistle stop tour through the important points.


  1. If you’ve got someone working for you who does more than 6 hours in a shift, they must have daily rest breaks of at least 20 minutes per shift (20 whole minutes – hardly enough time for a whole glass of wine, I’ll have to down it in one!).
  2. All employees must have at least 11 hours between shifts (I shall remember that when I’m staggering home from a client dinner at 10, only to be up again at 5!)
  3. All employees must have at least 24 hours of uninterrupted rest every 7 days or 48 hours in every 14 days (can I apply that to my children too – they have to leave me alone for at least one day per weekend).
  4. Annual leave. Your employees also have the right to 5.6 weeks annual leave, including bank holidays (not sure how to apply that when you’re away and the phone rings?).


As this is aimed at employees rather than self-employed staff, you may hurriedly change people’s job titles but don’t be too hasty.  Just because you call someone self-employed, doesn’t mean they are.

If you’re still not sure what your rights or obligations are, or more importantly, what happens if they are breached, then give yourself a break, and find time in your busy schedule to catch up with us for more details.

Kleyman and Co Solicitors. The full service law firm.  Always on duty!