Working Time Directive

By Tricia

March 2023

March 2023

By Tricia

Here is a quick reminder of the rules surrounding the working hours of employees. Especially those under the age of 18.

Adults cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours per week. Employees aged over 18 must have at least one full day off each week and must have a minimum of 20 mins break (off the floor) every 6 hours and must have a minimum 4 weeks paid holiday.

Please note that under the Working Time Directive, it is not illegal for someone to work more than 48 hours, but it is illegal to compel them to do so. However, if an employee agrees to work longer hours, the employer must keep detailed records.

It is illegal, however, not to give 20-minute breaks and not to give the minimum holiday required by law.

The government believe young people need special protection at work, so they have brought in special measures. Part 2 of the Working Time Directive contains special provisions for those aged under 18, who must not work more than 40 hours in any week.

Working Time Directive – Young Workers

Employees under 18 must not work more than 40 hours in any single week

and …have at least two full days off each week
and …must not work more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period
and …must have a minimum of 30 minutes break (off the floor) every 4 hours
and …must have a minimum of 4 weeks paid holiday

Part-time employees must be treated pro-rata the same as full time employees in respect of paid holiday.