Everyone deserves a break during the long working day and it’s important that employers encourage breaks at work. There is a general belief that employees who take regular breaks are more productive. An effective, quick break will allow your employees to be geared up to work again, significantly boosting their performance level. This rejuvenation enables them to complete their tasks more accurately, leading to fewer errors.
- UK Law on Breaks at Work
- Are there any exceptions for younger workers?
- What does the law say about toilet breaks at work?
- Factorial’s Time Tracking Software
The amount of work breaks you are legally entitled to depends on the country in which you’re working; in the UK, workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20-minute break per day if they work more than six hours a day. Workers also have the right to 11 hours’ rest between working days.
So, who decides when employees take their breaks? Employers are able to choose when their workers take a break as long as they follow two regulations: the break is not taken right at the beginning or at the end of the day and workers can take their breaks away from their place of work i.e. their desk space.
It’s important to note that for certain types of workers, these rest break rules do not apply. For example, if you work in the armed forces, emergency services or police and are dealing with an exceptional catastrophe or disaster these rules are different. Likewise for a job where work hours are not managed and you follow a free working regime (e.g. a managing director). Finally, if you work in a job for sea, air or road transport (mobile workers), you will be covered by some exceptional rules.
If you’re younger (under 18 years) , you are normally entitled to a 30- minute rest break at work if you’re working for longer than 4.5 hours. In normal circumstances, you cannot usually be made to work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. Neither can these hours be averaged over a longer period. Employers are not allowed to disregard these legal requirements for breaks at work so if you feel like you’re not being treated fairly, it’s a good idea to contact your HR manager to bring up any issues.
Although there are many established rules on breaks at work, monitoring toilet breaks at work is somewhat unclear. As mentioned previously, workers are entitled to their uninterrupted 20-minute break and of course, they can use this time to use the bathroom. If you have a medical condition which means you have to take a toilet break at other times, your employer would not be able to deny you a break. The truth of the matter is that many of us cannot know if workers are using the bathroom for legitimate reasons. However, if your workforce is motivated and productive, it’s unlikely workers will be avoiding work by hiding in the bathroom.
Here, at Factorial, we offer a Performance Management feature, a great way to boost the motivation of your workers, by praising them for their hard work and allowing them to see their achievements visually. If you think our Performance Management feature will boost productivity in the workforce, just check out the link!
It’s always good to remember that legal rights aren’t everything. An oppressive environment is bad for workplace morale. In any event, people generally don’t work well when they’re desperate to use the toilet. Taking care of an employee’s needs is one of the most important factors to business success, so perhaps it’s better to be less strict on matters like this one.
We just made managing all your breaks at work easier! Whether it be an afternoon tea break with your colleague, smoking breaks, lunch breaks at work…. The list goes on. Factorial can offer you free Time Management Software, especially for tracking hours worked by your employees to simplify all your processes and save time so you can focus on what really matters. The software includes a clock-in and clock-out feature so you can check how many hours your employees have completed in any working day.
Project time tracking is essential to optimise workplace efficiency and minimise unscheduled absenteeism. Poorly-managed hours tracking sows discord and confusion and can lead to many wasted hours of back-and-forth or he said she said, especially when it comes to taking breaks at work.
Smart businesses are skipping the human error of manual tracking, data entry and calculations with a Time and Attendance Software. Automating and streamlining workday sign in processes saves valuable time and avoids costly errors.
Other articles that may interest you:
- Employee Time and Attendance Software Explained
- How to Keep Track of Employees’ Time and Attendance [Free Template]