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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Can an employer expect an individual to work on a Reception

Resolved Question:

Can an employer expect an individual to work on a Reception Desk in a service industry environment (potentially lone working) from 08:30 to 15:00 without a break? I'm aware of the basic OSRP Act, but has this been repealed?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Is there a reason breaks are not allowed?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No, the individual is expected to cover the desk from start to end of shift, toilet breaks are permitted, but no lunch break. This is due to the nature of people coming to the desk throughout the day. The busiest part is over lunch time. This working pattern is in addition to their standard 37 hour week covering at weekends with TOIL as recompense.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Hi there, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. The laws on rest periods in the workplace are governed by the Working Time Regulations. They state that a worker who works for at least 6 hours a day is entitled to a rest break of 20 minutes. So even if they work for more than 6 hours the requirement is still for a 20 minute break. This must be uninterrupted and not taken at the start or end of the shift. It must also be taken away from their workstation, so whilst they do not have to be allowed to go outside or be provided with a rest area, they should be allowed to leave the desk for that period.

So if you can you should try and get someone to cover a 20 minute break at some point during the day. It does not have to be at lunchtime and could be at say 10:00 or 13:30 – not quite at lunchtime but also not right at the beginning or end of their day.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks Ben for your reply. Just to clarify, where employers grant an hour break during an 8 hour shift or 75 minutes for more than 10 hours, is this then at the employers discretion? I thought minimum breaks were set in UK law dependent upon shift duration as this has always been the case where I've worked.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

these breaks are at the employer's discretion. many employers give an hour's lunch for example but this is not required by law - the only requirement is to do with rest breaks which are 20 minutes for at least 6 hours work. In fact as the law stands someone could work for 10 hours and still only get 20 minutes by law - anything on top of that is at the employer's discretion.

If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Ben, thank you for your help in this matter. It's really opened my eyes on how things are worked out.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

You are most welcome

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