Can rights at work be waived?

(7 Posts)
EBearhug Mon 05-Aug-19 15:39:57

If you have a legal right to something at work, can you choose to waive it?

For example, the WTD says if you work more than 6 hours at a time, you have the right to a 20 minute break, which should not be at the beginning or end of the shift. A colleague says they choose not to take it, and I thought, that's not how I understand it. I know you can opt out of the WTD, but I thought that only covered the 48hour average over 17 weeks, not all the provisions. In any case, I don't think it's a great precedent to set, and if it were someone I managed, I would advise them to take a break. But it has made me doubt whether being a right makes it an obligation.

OP’s posts: |
stucknoue Mon 05-Aug-19 15:56:01

I work through by choice

OakElmAsh Mon 05-Aug-19 16:50:01

As a manager, it's my responsibility to make sure people respect the work-time legislation. The company could be liable for any breaches, so no, I wouldn't allow an employee to forfeit breaks on a regular basis (one-offs not a problem)

flowery Mon 05-Aug-19 18:40:37

A worker cannot waive their right to rest breaks. But they can choose not to take it, as long as it's a completely free choice and they can take it if they want to. An employer doesn't have to march them out of the door forcibly and keep them out for 20 minutes in order to be compliant with the Working Time Regulations - only to ensure the worker can take their break.

EBearhug Mon 05-Aug-19 23:04:39

Seems fair, though knowing her manager, I wonder just how free her choice is.

OP’s posts: |
Travis1 Tue 06-Aug-19 10:59:12

Hmmm I dunno, I waive my breaks and get paid for them, difference is I work in an office and can go to the loo, grab a coffee, eat whilst I work. There are only 2 of us in our office and phone calls need answered. We submit our hours to HO every week and always paid in full. I assumed they had clarified this with the HR company we use.

flowery Tue 06-Aug-19 11:57:23

From a legal point of view it makes no difference where you work Travis. If you work 6 hours a day you must be able to take a 20 minute break.

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