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Compensatory 20 minute rest break

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently considered whether compensatory rest has to be taken in one uninterrupted period or whether a series of short breaks can be aggregated to amount to the requisite time.


Under the Working Time Regulations (WTR) a worker is entitled to a 20 minute rest break if their daily working time exceeds six hours.


In this case Mr Crawford was unable to take a continuous rest break of 20 minutes at any time during a shift. He was permitted to take short breaks which together amounted to well in excess of 20 minutes over the course of a shift. However, he was always on call during these breaks.


Mr Crawford claimed that this arrangement did not comply with the WTR and the EAT agreed stating that the rest break must be in one continuous single period and not an amalgamation of shorter breaks.