WORKING HOURS: KNOW YOUR LIMITS

IF YOU’RE UNDER 18 YOU CAN’T LEGALLY WORK MORE THAN 8 HOURS A DAY OR 40 HOURS A WEEK.

IF YOU’RE OVER 18, YOU CAN’T WORK MORE THAN 48 HOURS A WEEK ON AVERAGE (NORMALLY AVERAGED OVER 17 WEEKS). THIS IS LEGALLY ENFORCED THROUGH ‘WORKING TIME REGULATIONS’.

YOU CAN, HOWEVER, CHOOSE TO WORK LONGER THAN 48 HOURS A WEEK BY OPTING OUT OF THE 48 HOUR WEEK.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE 48 HOUR WEEK INCLUDE JOBS:

  • where 24-hour staffing is required
  • in the armed forces, emergency services or police
  • in security and surveillance
  • as a domestic servant in a private household
  • as a seafarer, sea-fisherman or worker on vessels on inland waterways
  • where working time is not measured and you’re in control, eg you’re a managing executive with control over your decisions

STATUTORY FULL TIME HOURS ARE 37.5 PER WEEK BUT SOME EMPLOYERS ADJUST THIS TO A FEW HOURS LESS – KNOW HOW MANY HOURS YOU ARE BEING PAID TO WORK PER WEEK SO YOU KNOW WHAT IS OVERTIME AND WHAT ISN’T.

IF YOU’RE WORKING OVERTIME, GET PAID OVERTIME. DON’T BE SUCKERED INTO OVERWORKING. MANY UK EMPLOYERS WILL ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO THIS. RESIST.