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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Can my employer insist on me staying on the premises during

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Can my employer insist on me staying on the premises during my unpaid lunch break, it is a local authoritie day service. I do currently as I work 35 hrs per week, but get paid for 37, (protected hours) however this condition is about to be scrapped.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What does your contract say about this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Don't have it to hand, but don't think it mentions it. I have worked there for 10 yrs with no problems, but am unhappy with the proposed changes. Unions are negotiating abolishing the protected hours and looks like it will go ahead, as for staying on premisses, think this is just a local managment decission. Staff are all on different contract of hours etc
Is this the only break you get during the working day?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I get 15 mins in morning, contract does say I am entitled to 30minute unpaid break and 15 paid
ok thanks, ***** ***** get back to you this eve with my full answer
Thanks for your patience. Your rights will partly depend on the Working Time Regulation which deal with workers’ rest periods and partly on what’s in your contract. Under law you are entitled to a 20 minute rest break for every 6 full hours of work. So even if you work 11 hours a day you would still only be entitled to 20 minutes rest. In relation to this rest break, workers can be required to remain in or about their workplace (but not at their workstation) while taking a rest break, provided that they are not still having to perform any duties (regulation 12(3)). So as long as you are not kept at your workstation or asked to undertake any work, you can be required to remain in the workplace.
The remainder of the rest time will not be subject to these regulations but it will be covered by contract. So you need to check if it says anything about the requirement on you to be in the workplace. Even if it does not, the breaks are given at the employer’s discretion as they are on top of what you are entitled to by law so they could dictate where you take them or where you remain during them.
Still, if there are enough of you to challenge it then you may of course do this and try to push the employer a bit on this.
I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
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