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Working time: Periods of 'downtime' are not rest breaks

This report relates to 1 case(s)

Key points

In Gallagher and others v Alpha Catering Services Ltd, the Court of Appeal holds:

  • For the purposes of reg. 21(c) of the Working Time Regulations 1998, it is the worker's activities, not the activities of the employer's business, that are relevant when considering the need for continuity of service or production.
  • Relatively modest fluctuations in the work cycle during the day or week do not amount to "surges" for the purpose of reg. 21(d), which requires an exceptional level of activity.
  • Periods of downtime during which a worker is still at his employer's disposal do not count as rest breaks under reg. 12. A rest break is an uninterrupted period of at least 20 minutes in a work period of more than six hours that the worker can use as he or she pleases.