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Breaks at work

(24 Posts)
Pickledonion24 Sun 22-Oct-17 12:59:22

I work in a very seasonal place but open all year round I work on the entrance desk. It’s a small business so can only afford one worker per day. We do the hours of 9.45 to 5.15 some days where’s so busy other days where twiddling are thumbs. It’s a family business we don’t get breaks. When I mention it I’m told well we can’t open then we would have to close up. Some days I do spent a lot of time doing nothing but as soon and you go to eat your lunch have a wee you can’t as someone wants you.

araiwa Sun 22-Oct-17 13:01:08

whoever works with you needs to cover breaks and lunch

happypoobum Sun 22-Oct-17 13:01:10

Legally they have to allow you a 20 minute break if you work more than six hours.

This break has to be away from your workstation.

schoolgaterebel Sun 22-Oct-17 13:02:57

They are required, by law, to give you a break away from your workstation.

LemonShark Sun 22-Oct-17 13:11:25

You're entitled to a break by law. In reality, pushing this could well backfire if you're a tiny business and they're unreasonable people/your contract allows them to let you go for any reason at any time. It's shit but reality.

Personally given that it's only occasional and you get loads of downtime some days I'd probably take it as the normal ebb and flow and accept some days go in my favour and some don't. But only if I could still grab some food at my desk/stay hydrated/use the toilet when I need to. If it was only occasional I suspect I'd suck it up but that's just me and I support everyone's right to fight this.

Pickledonion24 Sun 22-Oct-17 13:25:07

It’s more than occasional and if I go for a wee or eat in front of customers I’ve been asked where I was or not to eat in front of them

BackforGood Sun 22-Oct-17 13:26:47

I agree with Lemonshark.
As long as you can go to the toilet and make yourself a drink every now and then, I'd do it in the quiet times and use a bit of common sense.

BackforGood Sun 22-Oct-17 13:29:39

Oh, x-posted.
Well, if they are being difficult about it, then that's different.
you didn't say that in your first post.
In that case, show them the links about the law.

daisypond Sun 22-Oct-17 13:32:00

You're not working more than six hours - you're only doing 5 and a half - so you're not entitled to a break in law.

chickenowner Sun 22-Oct-17 13:33:46

They are breaking the law.

And it's very bad for you to wait for hours when you need to go to the loo. Maybe remind them if this?

chickenowner Sun 22-Oct-17 13:34:57


9.45 to 5.15 is not 5 and a half hours, it's 7 and a half!

StewPots Sun 22-Oct-17 13:35:40

I have this is my job. So understaffed in a care environment, 12-14 hour shifts, I have to eat on the go or whilst I do paperwork. None of us get a designated break. Ever. My boss is totally breaking the law in this, if she hired an extra person in the day we could all get two 20 minute breaks which everyone desperately needs but they won't so.... I think I've got used to it now.

lorelairoryemily Sun 22-Oct-17 13:36:06

Daisy, 9.45-5.15 Is more than 5 and a half hours

daisypond Sun 22-Oct-17 13:41:00

Oops, my bad. I read 5.15 as 15.15 (quarter past three). As you were!

Telstar99 Sun 22-Oct-17 14:31:12

Yep they are definitely breaking the law!


Breaks..... The general rule on breaks is that you are entitled to a break of 15 minutes after a 4 ½ hour work period. If you work more than 6 hours you are entitled to a break of 30 minutes, which can include the first 15-minute break

You work 7.5 hours, but I am sure the same would apply.

Can you speak to HR?

Birdsgottafly Sun 22-Oct-17 14:37:54

" I’m told well we can’t open then we would have to close up"

That might be the situation, so it's up to you if you want the job, or be replaced.

You've got to eat and go the toilet, on busier days and that's what you should concentrate on sorting out.

If you go by the law, then you may find yourself out of the job, because in this climate, small businesses can't facilitate the stipulated breaks.

LemonShark Sun 22-Oct-17 23:11:02

OP are you being paid for the whole day or for the day minus 30 minutes wage? As if it's the latter you should insist on being paid for the unpaid break you're actually working through if you can't take it. But obv depends on how much you need this job and if you can afford to risk it.

WhatToDoAboutThis2017 Sun 22-Oct-17 23:22:17

Telstar99 You are incorrect. This is the law on breaks at work:

Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than 6 hours a day. This could be a tea or lunch break.

The only people required to have a break after 4.5 hours are those under 18, and that's 30 minutes.


They're still breaking the law of course, but your information is incorrect.

JagerPlease Mon 23-Oct-17 07:39:09

Lots of shops etc close for half an hour/an hour if they are only staffed by one person - that's the compromise they have to make for only having one staff member on!

Minidoghugs Mon 23-Oct-17 07:48:56

Agree with Jagerplease that's common in my village.

DropZoneOne Mon 23-Oct-17 07:50:43

I wonder if they're using the "compensatory rest break" clause? The hours should be 9:30 - 5:30 but they're adding a 15 minute break at the start and end of the day instead?

I did a summer job on a holiday camp where I was the oy member of staff in a shop. For comfort breaks and lunch, I shut the shop. There was a sign for comfort breaks that said "back in 5 minutes" so people could wait. Lunch was the same time each day and the shop sign showed it closed at the time.

Basecamp21 Mon 23-Oct-17 08:01:23

Pretty standard in my job - I am either driving across the

They have to be reasonable about popping to the loo and grabbing a bite to eat even whilst still working. And you have to balance it against all the other pay and conditions the employer offers and decide if it's worth it.

Personally as breaks are unpaid I always would rather work through and leave earlier anyway. But you may feel differently.

expatinscotland Mon 23-Oct-17 08:12:23

YANBU. They really expect a person to go without eating the entire time?

MrsOverTheRoad Mon 23-Oct-17 08:12:55

I work in a similar bosses let me close up to go to the loo. I put a "Back in 5 Minutes" sign on the door.

And eating....when it's quiet, I do it at the desk...if someone comes in, I stop.

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