Rest Breaks at Work

Workers over 18 are usually entitled to three types of break: rest breaks at work, daily rest and weekly rest.

Rest breaks at work 

Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than six hours a day. This could be a tea or lunch break.
The break doesn’t have to be paid - it depends on their employment contract.

Daily rest

Workers have the right to 11 hours rest between working days, for example if they finish work at 8pm, they should not start work again until 7am the next day.

Weekly rest

Workers have the right to either:

  • an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week

  • an uninterrupted 48 hours without any work each fortnight

A worker’s employment contract may say they are entitled to more or different rights to breaks from work.

Work that puts health and safety at risk

An employer should give an employee enough breaks to make sure their health and safety is not at risk if that work is monotonous (for example work on a production line).
Domestic workers in a private house (for example a cleaner or au pair) are not entitled to rest breaks for health and safety reasons.

See also:

For further information: