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Have you had your lunch break today?

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Have you had your lunch break today?

Have you had your lunch break today?

A survey, commissioned by Branston Pickle, the British Food brand, recently revealed that the traditional lunch hour break now appears to have been shortened to an average of twenty-nine minutes.

It was also found that when staff do take their lunch break, a third of them still check and respond to their work emails and messages. Of the 1,500 individuals who took part in the survey, a quarter of them said that their lunch breaks were shorter now than before the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of those who responded stated that this is due to the fact that their supervisors were more demanding, or that they had received direct criticism for not actively responding to work emails and messages during their lunch break.

Why is this important or even relevant you may ask? Well, under the Working Time Regulations (WTR), workers have the right to one uninterrupted rest break away from their workstations (if they have one) of at least twenty minutes during their working day, if their day’s working time is more than six hours.

"Although employers must ensure that their workers can take their rest breaks, they are not required under the WTR to force the workers to take their breaks."

However, if an employer requires a worker (in circumstances allowed by WTR) to work during a period that would otherwise have been a rest break, it will be the employer’s responsibility to ensure that compensatory rest is allocated, which will then be up to the worker to take it.

Therefore, to avoid a breach of the WTR, it may be sensible for employers to actively encourage their staff to take adequate rest breaks, not least because some studies show that this is likely to improve productivity, have a positive effect on mental health, and also give workers a fresh perspective on the work that has to be completed during that day.

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If you have any queries relating to this article, or require any advice on issues you may be facing in the employment sector, please contact Andra Stanton.

This article was prepared by Kate Baggs