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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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If I work shifts lasting 12 hours 15 minutes, am allowed 3

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If I work shifts lasting 12 hours 15 minutes, am allowed 3 breaks of 20 minutes each and I'm paid for 11 hours 15 minutes: when would these breaks deemed to start and finish? i.e. Is it the second that I walk away from my post until return, after I've washed my hands and walked 3 minutes to the canteen? It may seem fussy but if you work on your feet for 12 hours of the day or night, the walk between the two places means only 12 minutes of 'rest' each time - not a lot.

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

Are these contracted hours or overtime hours?

To be honest the law does not say anything specific about this. What is certain though is that rest breaks do not have to be paid so the employer would have no obligation to pay you for any of the times that you are taking a rest break. In terms of when the breaks actually start, you may wish to refer to the Working Time Regulations which state that a break must be allowed to be taken away from a person’s workstation. So it could be interpreted that as soon as you step away from your workstation, be it desk, room, specific site, etc that you are on a break, even if you must walk some time to the canteen or rest area. What the law sees as important is that you are no longer performing your duties, nit that you may have other things to do like walk or wash your hands before you get to the rest area. Resting does not mean the moment you have had the chance to sit down and relax, it actually means the time you are released from your duties and are no longer carrying out any work. So in the circumstances it would be rather difficult to argue from a legal point of view that you should be paid for the extra tie it takes you to get to the canteen or that you should get longer breaks.

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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