Today in my 9-6 working day I was made to take a "lunch break" from 10.30 to 11.30 and then had no further breaks. I work in a day nursery it is an extremely tiring and stressful job and I struggled to get through the afternoon. I was told by someone else that I work with that it was illegal, could anyone confirm this? I am not going to raise the issue at work as I resigned this morning anyway for various other reasons, I feel concerned though for the young girls that I work with as they said they are used to this. I don't think it is safe for people who are so tired to be in charge of a room full of young children.
It is in a big grey area. The general rule is that you have to have a break every 6 hours, but there is an exception for 'care' workers and the like, which might (at a very long stretch) be interpreted as including nurseries.
Nannies will often work (and it is quite legal to do so) for 14 hours or more without a break, so I think you are slightly undermining your (genuine) concerns by suggesting it is 'unsafe' to work for 6 and a half hours without a break instead of 6.
I'm afraid your colleague at work, along with both the previous posters, has fallen into a common misunderstanding. The working time regulations do NOT say that you are entitled to a break every 6 hours. They say that if your working day is longer than 6 hours your employer must give you a 20 minute rest break at some point during the day. This cannot be at the start or end of the day but can be at any other time.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal upheld this interpretation of the regulations in 2008. So your employer did not break the law.
was just wondering how it's legal for nannies to do this? Is it because they are self employed? I worry about my childminder not getting a break and have always presumed it's because she is self employed.
It's not because nannies are self employed, it's because there's a special exception where you cannot practically allow the breaks. The only way to let a nanny have a break would be to hire two, which is obviously not practical. The same exemption might apply, for example, to a night security guard.
Nothing in the WTR's to say they can't do this, as RibenaBerry points out but, you may be able to put a H&S spin on it, especially when working with the vulnerable. See what the Risk Assessment says. Do you have a H&S rep you could speak to?
I used to do a 24 hour shift without a break, as a home carer, so a similar situation to a nanny. The way to handle it is to build in some 'quiet time' which the charge will also need, nobody can go on 100 mph all day, they need to sit and eat, sit and rest, same as anyone else.
however, in a nursing home (like nursery)the work was more intense. We always had a break but not necessarily within 6 hours of working. The law says you have to have a break if you work longer than 6 hours, but it doesn't say that break has to be WITHIN those 6 hours.
Also would it not be more practical to do what nursing homes do, and split the breaks so you get 2 rests instead of a whole hour, which I don't believe anyone really needs? Working 9 til 6, you could have had half an hour at 10.30 then half an hour at 2.30. It would be easier for everyone in the nursery to get their break in. Plus it breaks the long day up more effectively, and doesn't keep you out of the loop for so long