Employers can say when employees take rest breaks during work time as long as:
- the break is taken in one go somewhere in the middle of the day (not at the beginning or end)
- workers are allowed to spend it away from their desk or workstation (ie away from where they actually work)
It doesn’t count as a rest break if an employer says an employee should go back to work before their break is finished.
Unless a worker’s employment contract says so, they don’t have the right to:
- take smoking breaks
- get paid for rest breaks
Exceptions and special circumstances
There are exemptions to the rights to rest breaks.
Some workers are entitled to compensatory rest breaks, eg shift workers.
Are you being underpaid? Find out if your employer is giving you less than the legal minimum.