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UK labor law regulates the working time of people in the UK. The list of holidays, night work, and day breaks is considered under this law only. Other than this law, Working Times Regulations manages the maximum hours people can work in a day in the UK.
Hours You Can Work in a Day by Law in the UK
In 1962, various regulations were made regarding the maximum number of hours individuals work in a day. Usually, people in the UK cannot work more than 13 hours a day and 48 hours a week. It depends on the individual if they want to work more than 13 hours a day or not, if they prefer they will have to give it in writing to the organization and the people also have an option to withdraw their agreement in writing whenever they want.
There are cases where there is no official agreement but the statement is mentioned in the emails, text messages and notes. There is an exception for people who are below 18 years of age as they cannot work for more than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
Working of Agreement
So, if the employee wants to work for more than the maximum working hours in a week, then they need to give an agreement in writing to their employee. If the employee feels like over-working then they can opt-out of the agreement at any time. But they need to tell their employee prior to opting out as they need to serve the notice period. The notice period of every organization is different as some of the organizations have notice of 1 month and some can have a 3 months notice period.
After completing the notice period, now the employees can work according to the maximum working hours that are 48 hours in a week. Also, some organizations pay their employees according to the hours they work, and if the employees opt-out of the agreement, their pay scale will automatically reduce.
The maximum working hours in a week depends on the job type of the individual as people who have security and surveillance jobs, 24-hours staff jobs, jobs in private households as domestic servants and armed or emergency forces do not follow the criterion of working less than 48 hours a week. Although even you are working two jobs simultaneously, then also the combined working hours in a week should not exceed the 48 hours limit.
Working as per contract
Sometimes, the employer already mentions that the employee will have to work overtime for a reasonable time according to the need of the business and the employer will have to pay employees overtime also, then the employee does not have an option to opt-out as they will have to accept and work according to the contract. The employer also has a right to take legal action if you do not work overtime as per the rules of the contract.
Also, the employer has an option that they can mention that compulsory overtime is not necessary, in such cases this clause works for the benefit of the employer as they do not need to pay the employees for the overtime.
Steps to calculate working hours
An individual in their working period checks their working hours often as their boss might ask to them work more than 48 hours a week or they might think that they are over-working. In such cases, the employees prefer to check their working hours.
For calculating the working hours, firstly the employee needs to check that they are covered under the ‘Working Time Regulations’ or not. Then, they should look through the activities that are considered to be done under the working hours.
Finally, with the above information, they can calculate the average working hours in a week. To find out the average, if you are working for the same hours every week and for the last 17 weeks, if you have not taken any holiday, and you need to add the overtime with the hours mentioned in the contract, make sure it does not exceed 48 as if it exceeds 48, then you are working more than the maximum limit that is mentioned in the law.
The above mentioned period of 17 weeks is known as the Reference Period and it can be different in various industries, sectors and occupations. A workforce agreement is made by all the employees collectively for the calculation of the reference period. The reference period for the trainee doctors in the medical industry is 26 weeks and the reference period in the gas sector is usually 52 weeks.
Things considered as work
Various things count as work such as any training related to your work, travelling if your job is about the same, paid and unpaid overtime, attending calls relating to work and business lunches. All these activities count as work in the working hours.
· On the other hand, having calls not relating to work at the workplace, taking regular breaks without doing any office work, holidays and travelling not relating to work, all these activities are not taken into consideration as work.
Breach of Law
Several times there are cases in the tribunal of employees where employees have a grievance that their employer is making them work for more than 48 hours a week.
The employees can have a talk with their employers about reducing the working hours, if they do not agree then in such situations it is up to the employees if they want to quit their jobs. If any employee wants to take any legal action against their employer, then the employee can file a claim against the employer in the tribunal but he needs to have proof that he has been working more than the maximum working hours in a week because he will not be able to win the claim if he is not able to prove the same.
The law fixes the maximum working hours in a week for their employees and employees according to their choice and need can work under the law. Also, the employees should be aware of their rights under the law so that the employer without their will does not make them over-work.