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Working Time Regulations 1998

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Working Time Regulations 1998 List of acts
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    Wills and probate
Crown Copyright Acknowledged


1998 No. 1833


The Working Time Regulations 1998

Made: 30th July 1998

Laid before Parliament: 30th July 1998

Coming into force: 1st October 1998  




1.  Citation, commencement and extent

2.  Interpretation



3.  General

4.  Maximum weekly working time

5.  Agreement to exclude the maximum

6.  Length of night work

7.  Health assessment and transfer of night workers to day work

8.  Pattern of work

9.  Records

10.  Daily rest

11.  Weekly rest period

12.  Rest breaks

13.  Entitlement to annual leave

14.  Compensation related to entitlement to leave

15.  Dates on which leave is taken

16.  Payment in respect of periods of leave

17.  Entitlements under other provisions



18.  Excluded sectors

19.  Domestic service

20.  Unmeasured working time

21.  Other special cases

22.  Shift workers

23.  Collective and workforce agreements

24.  Compensatory rest

25.  Workers in the armed forces

26.  Young workers: force majeure

27.  Young workers employed on ships



28.  Enforcement

29.  Offences

30.  Remedies

31.  Right not to suffer detriment

32.  Unfair dismissal

33.  Conciliation

34.  Appeals

35.  Restrictions on contracting out



36.  Agency workers not otherwise "workers"

37.  Crown employment

38.  Armed forces

39.  House of Lords staff

40.  House of Commons staff

41.  Police service

42.  Non-employed trainees

43.  Agricultural workers


1. Workforce agreements

2. Workers employed in agriculture


The Secretary of State, being a Minister designated for the purposes of section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972[1] in relation to measures relating to the organization of working time[2] and measures relating to the employment of children and young persons[3], in exercise of the powers conferred on him by that provision hereby makes the following Regulations -



Citation, commencement and extent

1.  - (1) These Regulations may be cited as the Working Time Regulations 1998 and shall come into force on 1st October 1998.

(2) These Regulations extend to Great Britain only.


2.  - (1) In these Regulations -

"the 1996 Act" means the Employment Rights Act 1996[4];

"adult worker" means a worker who has attained the age of 18;

"the armed forces" means any of the naval, military and air forces of the Crown;

"calendar year" means the period of twelve months beginning with 1st January in any year;

"the civil protection services" includes the police, fire brigades and ambulance services, the security and intelligence services, customs and immigration officers, the prison service, the coastguard, and lifeboat crew and other voluntary rescue services;

"collective agreement" means a collective agreement within the meaning of section 178 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992[5], the trade union parties to which are independent trade unions within the meaning of section 5 of that Act;

"day" means a period of 24 hours beginning at midnight;

"employer", in relation to a worker, means the person by whom the worker is (or, where the employment has ceased, was) employed;

"employment", in relation to a worker, means employment under his contract, and "employed" shall be construed accordingly;

"night time", in relation to a worker, means a period -

(a) the duration of which is not less than seven hours, and

(b) which includes the period between midnight and 5 a.m.,

which is determined for the purposes of these Regulations by a relevant agreement, or, in default of such a determination, the period between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.;

"night work" means work during night time;

"night worker" means a worker -

(a) who, as a normal course, works at least three hours of his daily working time during night time, or

(b) who is likely, during night time, to work at least such proportion of his annual working time as may be specified for the purposes of these Regulations in a collective agreement or a workforce agreement;

and, for the purpose of paragraph (a) of this definition, a person works hours as a normal course (without prejudice to the generality of that expression) if he works such hours on the majority of days on which he works;

"relevant agreement", in relation to a worker, means a workforce agreement which applies to him, any provision of a collective agreement which forms part of a contract between him and his employer, or any other agreement in writing which is legally enforceable as between the worker and his employer;
"relevant training" means work experience provided pursuant to a training course or programme, training for employment, or both, other than work experience or training -
(a) the immediate provider of which is an educational institution or a person whose main business is the provision of training, and

(b) which is provided on a course run by that institution or person;
"rest period", in relation to a worker, means a period which is not working time, other than a rest break or leave to which the worker is entitled under these Regulations;"worker" means an individual who has entered into or works under (or, where the employment has ceased, worked under) -
(a) a contract of employment; or
(b) any other contract, whether express or implied and (if it is express) whether oral or in writing, whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not by virtue of the contract that of a client or customer of any profession or business undertaking carried on by the individual;

and any reference to a worker's contract shall be construed accordingly;

"worker employed in agriculture" has the same meaning as in the Agricultural Wages Act 1948[6] or the Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Act 1949[7], and a reference to a worker partly employed in agriculture is to a worker employed in agriculture whose employer also employs him for non-agricultural purposes;
"workforce agreement" means an agreement between an employer and workers employed by him or their representatives in respect of which the conditions set out in Schedule 1 to these Regulations are satisfied;
"working time", in relation to a worker, means -
(a) any period during which he is working, at his employer's disposal and carrying out his activity or duties,
(b) any period during which he is receiving relevant training, and
(c) any additional period which is to be treated as working time for the purpose of these Regulations under a relevant agreement;

and "work" shall be construed accordingly;

"Working Time Directive" means Council Directive 93/104/EC of 23rd November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organization of working time[8];
"young worker" means a worker who has attained the age of 15 but not the age of 18 and who, as respects England and Wales, is over compulsory school age (construed in accordance with section 8 of the Education Act 1996)[9] and, as respects Scotland, is over school age (construed in accordance with section 31 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980)[10], and

"Young Workers Directive" means Council Directive 94/33/EC of 22nd June 1994 on the protection of young people at work[11].

(2) In the absence of a definition in these Regulations, words and expressions used in particular provisions which are also used in corresponding provisions of the Working Time Directive or the Young Workers Directive have the same meaning as they have in those corresponding provisions.

(3) In these Regulations -

(a) a reference to a numbered regulation is to the regulation in these Regulations bearing that number;
(b) a reference in a regulation to a numbered paragraph is to the paragraph in that regulation bearing that number; and
(c) a reference in a paragraph to a lettered sub-paragraph is to the sub-paragraph in that paragraph bearing that letter.




3. The provisions of this Part have effect subject to the exceptions provided for in Part III of these Regulations.

Maximum weekly working time

4.  - (1) Subject to regulation 5, a worker's working time, including overtime, in any reference period which is applicable in his case shall not exceed an average of 48 hours for each seven days.

(2) An employer shall take all reasonable steps, in keeping with the need to protect the health and safety of workers, to ensure that the limit specified in paragraph (1) is complied with in the case of each worker employed by him in relation to whom it applies.

(3) Subject to paragraphs (4) and (5) and any agreement under regulation 23(b), the reference periods which apply in the case of a worker are -

(a) where a relevant agreement provides for the application of this regulation in relation to successive periods of 17 weeks, each such period, or

(b) in any other case, any period of 17 weeks in the course of his employment.

(4) Where a worker has worked for his employer for less than 17 weeks, the reference period applicable in his case is the period that has elapsed since he started work for his employer.

(5) Paragraphs (3) and (4) shall apply to a worker who is excluded from the scope of certain provisions of these Regulations by regulation 21 as if for each reference to 17 weeks there were substituted a reference to 26 weeks.

(6) For the purposes of this regulation, a worker's average working time for each seven days during a reference period shall be determined according to the formula -

      A + B


 where -

A is the aggregate number of hours comprised in the worker's working time during the course of the reference period;


B is the aggregate number of hours comprised in his working time during the course of the period beginning immediately after the end of the reference period and ending when the number of days in that subsequent period on which he has worked equals the number of excluded days during the reference period; and
C is the number of weeks in the reference period.


(7) In paragraph (6), "excluded days" means days comprised in -

(a) any period of annual leave taken by the worker in exercise of his entitlement under regulation 13;

(b) any period of sick leave taken by the worker;

(c) any period of maternity leave taken by the worker; and

(d) any period in respect of which the limit specified in paragraph (1) did not apply in relation to the worker by virtue of regulation 5.

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