Q. Are employees automatically entitled to breaks?

Only shop workers have specific legislation which states they cannot be required to work for more than 5 hours without a break of ½ hour, or for more than 10 hours in any period of 24, or for more than 44 hours in any week. They can of course work longer than this if they are willing to do so. There is no legislation specifying working hours in respect of other employees, but an employer has to be aware of any health of safety implications when requesting employees to work longer hours. If an accident or incident was to arise, which was attributable to long hours of working, the Health and Safety Inspector may make enquiries as to whether there had been a risk assessment in respect of the hours worked. You can find further information here or for advice regarding "best practice", please contact us.