An employee works from 9am to 4pm. The job is not very demanding in terms of physical effort or complexity etc. The employee is paid for 7 hours and does not take a long break. They may take a short break of say 10 minutes at mid day. The employee and the employer is very happy to continue to work these arrangements. Must the employer insist the employee take at least a 20 minute break as set out in the Working Time Regulations or is it acceptable under law because both parties are happy to continue the current position?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 1 March 2011
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

As you’ve highlighted, the NI Working Time Regulations stipulate that employers must allow workers a rest break of 20 minutes when working more than six hours per day.

Employers must ensure that workers can take their rest periods or breaks but are not required to force workers to take them. Workers can elect to work through a rest period or break, provided they do not risk their own or others' health or safety.

It is only when an employer requires the worker to work during a break or rest period that the worker has to be offered compensatory rest. If the worker chooses to work through the break or rest period, or is offered compensatory rest but refuses to take it, there is no further

Already a subscriber?

Click here to login and access the full article.

Don't miss out, register today!

Are you fully aware of the benefits of Legal-Island's Employment Law Update Service? We help hundreds of people like you understand how the latest changes in employment law impact on your business.

Help understand the ramifications of each important case from NI, GB and Europe

24/7 access to all the content in the Legal Island Vault for research case law and HR issues

Ensure your organisation’s policies and procedures are fully compliant with NI law

Receive free preliminary advice on workplace issues from the employment team at Worthingtons Solicitors

Already a subscriber, now or Register

Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Arthur Cox. Contact telephone number is +44 28 9026 2673 or email

View all articles by Arthur Cox