Who do the Working Time Regulations apply to?

How is ‘working time’ and ‘on-call time’ defined by the WTR?

Can travelling time count as working time?

How is 48 hours’ working time a week calculated?

Who is responsible for enforcing the 48-hour week if an employee has more than one job?

Can we insist that all workers opt out of the average weekly working time provisions?

Do we have to record the actual numbers of hours worked by each opted-out employee in the relevant reference period?

Which workers are exempt from the Regulations?

Does the statutory paid annual leave provided by the WTR include bank holidays?

Is an element of ‘rolled up’ holiday pay a breach of the Regulations?

If a worker resigns having taken more than their proportion of annual leave can the employer deduct this from their final salary?

If a worker resigns having taken less than their proportion of annual leave is the employer bound to provide payment in lieu?

Is it a breach of the Working Time Regulations to provide in the contract that an employee can swap holidays for cash payments?

How much notice of holiday do employees have to give?

Can an employer refuse a request for annual leave?

What are the daily break provisions?

What are the minimum daily and weekly rest periods, and does an employer have to force their employees to take rest breaks?

What are the restrictions on the employment of young workers and children?

How can an employee enforce the Regulations?

Future developments


The WTR have been subsequently amended or supplemented on an almost annual basis by domestic regulations:

  • The Working Time Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3372)
  • The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001/3256)
  • The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/3128)
  • The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/1684)
  • The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/99)
  • The Civil Aviation (Working Time) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/756)*
  • The Merchant Shipping (Hours of Work) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2125)*
  • The Merchant Shipping (Working Time: Inland Waterways) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/3049)* (amending the Merchant Shipping Act 1995*)
  • The Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/639)*
  • The Work and Families Act 2006 (for example, section 13)
  • The Road Transport (Working Time) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/853)
  • The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/1567)
  • The Working Time (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2766)
  • The Civil Aviation (Working Time) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/1226
  • The Deduction from Wages (Limitation) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3322).

The original EC Working Time Directive has been supplemented by further EC Directives:

  • part of the Young Workers Directive (994/33/EC)
  • Horizontal Amending Directive (2000/34/EC)
  • Working Time Consolidation Directive (2003/88/EC)
  • EC Drivers’ Hours Regulation 1985 (3820/85/EC)
  • The Road Transport Directive (2002/15/EC)*
  • The Aviation Directive (2000/79/EC)*
  • The Seafarers’ Directive (1999/63/EC)*
  • The Seafarers’ Enforcement Directive (1999/95/EC)*
  • EC Drivers’ Hours Rules, Regulation (3820/95/EC).*

*Specific to certain previously excluded sectors, and not applicable to all employers.

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