Is a worker entitled to a 20-minute rest break for each six-hour period worked?

Under reg.12(1) of the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833), adult workers are entitled to a minimum rest break of 20 minutes during any working day that exceeds six hours. However, case law has established that workers are entitled to only one 20-minute rest break even where they continue to work for another six hours or longer. In Corps Of Commissionaires Management Ltd v Hughes [2009] IRLR 122 EAT, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the right to a rest break after six hours is an entitlement to only one break, irrespective of the number of hours worked over and above six hours.

However, employers should consider the general health and wellbeing of workers when determining the frequency and length of rest breaks, particularly where a worker could pose a health and safety risk to him- or herself or others by becoming over tired.