Working Time Regulations and rest breaks

18 November 2016

Is an employee required to ask for a rest break before claiming to have been refused a rest break?

No, held the EAT in Grange v Abellio London.

The Claimant was contracted to work an eight and a half hour shift, which included a half hour break for lunch. He was told that, instead, he should work for eight hours without a break, and leave early.

The Claimant made a claim based on section 10 of the Working Time Regulations that he had been refused a rest break, but the employment tribunal held that he had never asked for a rest break and therefore he had never been refused one. The EAT overturned the decision on the grounds that the instruction to work without a rest break could be construed as a refusal, without an explicit request.

The EAT disapproved the reasoning of the leading authority of Miles v Linkage Community Trust, and preferred instead the conclusion from the unreported case of Scottish Ambulance Service v Truslove.

With thanks to Daniel Barnett’s employment law bulletin which provided the details of this case.