9. Working Time Regulations 1998
(S.I. 1998/1833) as amended
- The following provides guidance on the application of some aspects of the WTR. The WTR concerning holiday entitlement have been included in the Order. Section 4 of this Guide gives details of holiday provision for agricultural workers.
What about working long hours?
- The WTR limit weekly working time to an average of 48 hours over a 17 week period (the averaging period may be extended in certain circumstances). An individual worker may choose to agree to work more than the average 48 hour weekly limit. Should they do so, an agreement to that effect must be made in writing. The worker has the right to bring such an agreement to an end.
- Where such an agreement is in place between the worker and the employer then records must be kept to show the actual hours worked by the worker (the example of time sheets given at Appendix 2 could be used or adapted for this purpose). The employer must maintain completed records, showing which workers have made this type of agreement, and the actual hours worked, for at least three years.
What rest periods are workers entitled to?
- The WTR make provision for weekly rest periods and daily rest breaks. Compensatory rest is allowed for under the WTR should a worker be required to work during a rest period or a rest break. In practice, cases where it is not possible to take compensatory rest due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ will be rare, but will also be self-evident, for example a foreseeable surge of activity at harvest or lambing etc. This flexibility provided for is not something that could be used on a routine basis.
Who enforces the WTR conditions?
- Agricultural inspectors will continue to enforce the terms and conditions of the Order including the provisions which have been adapted to comply with the WTR. The working time limits will be enforced by the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities. The entitlements to rest periods and breaks will be enforced by a worker taking their case to an Employment Tribunal.
Further Information on the WTR?
- n Information on all aspects of the Working Time Regulations can be found at www.hse.gov.uk.