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Employees are not required to ask for a rest break before claiming to have been refused one.

November 18, 2016

 

 The Claimant was initially contracted to work an eight and a half hour shift, which included a half hour break for lunch. However, when his work load made this difficult, he was told to reduce his hours to eight, take no break and leave half an hour early.

Under the Working Time Regulations, employees are entitled to a minimum 20 minute rest break for every six hours that they work.  The claimant was not receiving this minimum rest break and so brought a claim that he had been refused a rest break.  The employment tribunal held that because he had never asked for a break, he had therefore not been refused one.  The EAT overturned the decision on the grounds that the instruction to work without a rest break could be construed as a refusal, without an explicit request.

 

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