What are working time regulations?
The Working Time Regulations 1998 implement the Working Time Directive (a European Health and Safety provision) into domestic law. They are expressly stated to apply to police officers. The main rights under the Working Time Regulations are:

  • a limit of an average of 48 hours a week over a reference period which a worker can be required to work (unless otherwise agreed with the individual);
  • a limit on night workers' normal hours of work of an average of 8 hours work in24 (and no more than 8 hours in any 24 during which night work is performed if subject to special hazards or strain);
  • 11 consecutive hours' rest per day or compensatory rest if in exceptional circumstances rest periods are not provided;
  • a day off each week (24 hours per week or 48 hours per fortnight);
  • an in-work rest break of at least 20 minutes if the working day is longer than 6 hours;
  • 28 days (including public holidays) paid leave per year; and
  • free health assessments for night workers.
There are various circumstances in which the rights do not apply. These are quite complicated, but in essence are likely to relate to variations agreed with the Branch or unforeseen emergencies.

Generally, Police Regulations 2003 provide better rights than the Working Time Regulations 1998. However, there can be occasions where the organisation of working time may breach the Working Time Regulations. Certain aspects of the Working Time Regulations can be varied by local agreement between the Branch Board and the Chief Officer. For more information about the position in your force contact your Branch Board office.

Some breaches can comprise criminal offences. The enforcing agency is the Health and Safety Executive. There are other rights available before an Employment Tribunal. The time limit for any such tribunal claim is generally three months less a day from the relevant breach. Contact your Branch Board for further information.
Category: DUTY, [118]