Holiday rights are usually set out in your contract of employment. Minimum rights are also available under the Working Time Regulations 1998 which introduced a new statutory framework, which would in future influence the contractual relationship.

Workers cannot be required to work more than 48 hours per working week (on average).

Workers can agree individually or through a workplace agreement to exceed this limit, but an individual cannot be made to work more than the 48 hour average. The average is determined over a 17 week period.

Night workers need not work more than an average of 8 hours in 24.

This is based on an average over 17 weeks.

‘Night work’ means working a number of hours between midnight and 5am.

Night workers have a right to receive free health assessments.

This need not be a full medical, as long as the individual doing the screening has medical training.

Where a Registered Medical Practitioner has advised an employer that a worker is suffering from health problems, which are connected with working nights, and it is possible for the employer to transfer the worker to day work then the employer is under a duty to transfer the worker.

A right to 11 hours’ rest a day.

Workers are entitled to 11 hours’ consecutive rest in each 24 hours.

A right to a day off each week.

Workers are entitled to one period of 24 hours of uninterrupted rest in any period of 7 days (or 48 hours in 14 days).

A right to an in-work rest break if the working day is longer than 6 hours.

A worker is entitled to 20 minutes’ unpaid break from work after 6 hours’ work. Whether this is paid is entirely a matter for the individual contract of employment.

A right to 5.6 weeks paid leave per year.

The number of actual days corresponds with the number of days in the week that the individual normally works. So if the worker works 3 days per week, a week off will be a 3 day week off.

The Regulations specify a holiday year, and any leave not taken in that year is forfeited. There is generally no ‘carry over’ right.

The employer can fix the dates of the holiday by giving proper notice.

Notice to take leave, equivalent to twice the length of the planned holiday period, must be given to the employer by the worker or leave can be refused.

The worker should receive their normal ‘week’s pay’ for leave.

There is a right to payment in lieu of any untaken leave in the final year of service.

For more information on hours of work and other Employment Rights, please call our Employment Rights team on 033 3344 9603 or email Daniel Kindell.

This Fact Sheet is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.