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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50165
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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The working time regulations 1998 state that a worker is entitled

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The working time regulations 1998 state that a worker is entitled to '11 consecutive hours' rest in any 24-hour period'. I recently worked for a cleaning company in February. My cleaning company forced me to work many hours and, as a result, I failed to acheive 11 consecutive hours' rest in a 24-hour period on two occasions. Because of this, I suffered from extreme exhaustion. I was driving their company van and felt sleepy behind the wheel.
I'm suspecting that my cleaning company have breached the working time regulations but I've also contacted ACAS. They say that they may be allowed to do this if they offer compensatory rest afterwards. Have they breached the working time regulations or not? If they have, what can I do about it?
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. can you tell me why you were forced to work long hours and do you have a copy of your contract of employment please.


I was never given a contract of employment. I was Mobile Cleaning Manager covering Sainsbury's stores in Cornwall. Just before my problem, the cleaning manager of the Helston store had been dismissed. I also found out that someone who had been doing afternoon in-store cleaning had also been dismissed. On top of that, the lady that usually cleans the bakery was on holiday. I was expected to cover all of these shifts, day and night, working from one day into the next.

Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.


Thank you.

Ben Jones :

Thanks for your patience. Whilst the Working Time Regulations (WTR) do require employers to give workers 11 hours daily rest in any 24-hour period, this is not a strict rule and as ACAS have advised you it is possible for them to get around this.

Here are circumstances where the employer could require certain workers to work during periods that would otherwise be a rest period and give them compensatory rest. This might happen where:

  • The worker is a "special case" worker (probably not applicable to you)

  • The worker is a shift worker changing shifts, such as from days to nights, which prevent the taking of a full daily or weekly rest period

  • The work entails periods of work split up over the day, as may be the case with cleaning staff

If any of these situations apply the employer can require a worker to work through what would have been a ret period and just give them the equivalent part of the rest period they have missed out on at a later date.

Even if the employer had not given you the required rest you cannot just take action against them directly for that. For example you cannot make a claim for failure to give you the required rest. You would be looking at resigning and claiming constructive dismissal (not an easy claim), or if you were dismissed for complaining that you were not being given your rights under the WTR then an unfair dismissal claim could be considered. But these are really the two options you have and also only if you can show that the exceptions I mentioned did not apply. Also if this was just something that happened on a couple of occasions rather than a continuous issue over a long period of time, it will not be treated as seriously so also bear that in mind.

If you are still employed by the company you could still raise a grievance against them to complain about this and this should be dealt with internally.

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you


Thank you very much for your information. This definitely clarifies my position.


Thank you very much for your information. This definitely clarifies my position. I'm not employed by the company now as I resigned for my own safety, I feared that I may crash their company van. As a result of your answer, I won't be pursuing any legal action but I may try to contact the cleaning company again. I'm still glad I resigned though as it wasn't the job for me.


I'm being told that you have not finished answering. I'll give you an excellent rating when you finish the conversation. Thank you.


Hi Ben. The system won't let me rate you. It keeps saying that you've not finished answering when we both know that you have. I want to give you an excellent rating but I can't do it, it's very frustrating! Is there anything you can do or I should do to rate you? Darren

Ben Jones :

Hi, sorry about that I was just waiting for you to get back to me and see if you had any further questions. As it appears you do not, thank you for using our service and feel free to leave your rating at any time. All the best

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