Working Time Policy
Last Updated 30 Oct 2018 in Ways of Working
About this policy
The purpose of this Policy is to outline the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“the Regulations”). The Society is committed to ensure compliance with the Regulations across all Trading Groups and Support Service areas.
This Policy reflects the Regulations and applies to all workers whether working under a contract of employment or a contract of service. That includes all full or part time colleagues, work experience, agency staff, and contractors.
The Society strives to provide a safe working environment and protects the safety and wellbeing of all its colleagues by ensuring that they do not exceed reasonable working hours. This policy is a summary of the key elements of the Regulations. Where there is inconsistency between this policy and the Regulations, the Regulations will prevail.
This policy is non-contractual and should be read in conjunction with the Society’s Colleague Break Policy.
Personnel responsible for the policy
The Society will monitor adherence to the Regulation through the Kronos Time & Attendance system and by issuing ‘opt-out’ forms to all new starters as standard.
Line Managers have a responsibility to ensure that their direct reports’ working hours are in accordance with this policy and the Regulations.
Colleagues also have a duty to ensure that they are not working excessive hours and to inform their Line Manager directly if they consider that they may be doing so. Where a colleague has a second job which may result in a breach of the Regulations, the colleague is required to inform their Line Manager.
The Working Time Regulations 1998
The Regulations are designed to help protect colleague health and safety and set out rules limiting working hours and provides for rest breaks and holidays.
The key aspects of the Regulations are:
- A limit of an average 48 hours a week (including overtime) on the hours a worker can be required to work, averaged out over a 17 week reference period;
- Individuals may choose to work longer than 48 hours by signing a form to confirm that they "opt out" of the restriction;
- Paid annual leave of at least 5.6 weeks' a year;
- 11 consecutive hours' rest in any 24-hour period (or compensatory rest, in the alternative);
- At least a 20-minute rest break if the working day is longer than six hours;
- One day off each week (or compensatory rest, in the alternative); and
- A limit on the normal working hours of night workers to an average eight hours in any 24-hour period, and an entitlement for night workers to receive regular health assessments.
The concept of working time is relevant to the rules on average maximum working week, night working, rest periods and rest breaks. The Regulations define "working time" as that which falls within:
- any period during which the individual is working, at the employer's disposal and carrying out his or her activity or duties;
- any period during which he or she is receiving relevant training; and
- any additional period which is to be treated as working time for the purpose of the Regulations under a relevant agreement.
Limit to working week
Under the Regulations, the average working time of a colleague, including overtime, must not exceed 48 hours a week. This is calculated over a 17-week reference period.
All new starters are given the opportunity to sign an ‘opt-out’ form, when they receive their offer of employment with the Society. Signing this form to opt out confirms their agreement that the limit on the working hours will not apply, and that their average working time may therefore exceed 48 hours a week. Colleagues may choose whether to sign this agreement and the Society will not subject any colleague to any detriment if they not sign it or if they exercise their right to terminate the opt out agreement.
Colleagues may terminate this agreement by giving three months' written notice at any time. Unless it is terminated in this way, this agreement shall remain in force until their employment with the Society ends.
It is important to note that in signing this ‘opt-out’ form, the colleague is only agreeing to opt out of the maximum 48 hour working week and the other rights still apply, including those relating to rest periods and breaks.
An opt-out form is provided at commencement of employment and is available from HR Admin in PSG.
Breaks while at work
All colleagues are entitled to take regular rest breaks in accordance with the Regulations. The Society Colleague Break Policy sets out breaks that colleagues can take and is available on the Intranet and Colleague Connect website.
Compensatory rest periods
If operational requirements mean that a worker is unable to take their designated break, he or she is entitled to compensatory rest which will be agreed with their Line Manager.
Colleagues are entitled to take the rest when possible, ideally on the same day. The period of compensatory rest allowed should be equal to the interrupted portion of rest - not the entire break.
A young worker is defined a worker that has reached the compulsory school leaving age, but who is under the age of 18. There are special regulations for young workers, which restrict their working hours to 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.
Young workers are entitled to 12 consecutive hours’ rest in any 24 hours period (or compensatory rest, in the alternative). The rest break is 30 minutes if their work lasts more than 4.5 hours. They are also entitled to two days off each week (or compensatory rest, in the alternative).
In the event that a colleague has a second job external to the Society, it is important to note that both employers are obliged to ensure that the colleague's total working hours in the two jobs combined do not breach the Regulations. That is in respect of the 48 hour limit on working week (where the colleague has not opted out), daily and weekly rest periods.
Where this occurs it is the colleague’s responsibility to inform their Line Manager at the Society, of their second job, so that appropriate steps can be taken.
For further information, colleagues should refer to the Society’s Colleague Break Policy and the Health and Safety Policy.
If colleagues have any queries relating to this Policy they should contact the Colleague Relations team in PSG for assistance.