Introduction to this document

Working Time Regulations policy

Adult workers cannot be forced to work for more than 48 hours a week on average, although they can voluntarily agree to work more than this. Our Working Time Regulations Policy statement aims to ensure that you comply with the law and obtain written opt-out agreements where appropriate.

All work and no play

You can’t force a worker to work for more than 48 hours a week on average. The average is calculated over a 17-week reference period. However, adult workers, which means those aged 18 and over, can agree to work more than 48 hours. In this case, an opt-out agreement must be signed by the worker. It then doesn’t need to be renewed unless it was specifically expressed to be of a fixed duration. Workers can cancel the opt-out agreement whenever they want, although they must give you at least seven days’ notice, or up to three months’ notice if this is mentioned in the opt-out agreement. Note that you can’t force a worker to sign an opt-out agreement. Their consent must be entirely voluntary. It’s also unfair to dismiss an employee or to subject an employee or a worker to a detriment for refusing to sign an opt-out agreement or for cancelling one that has been signed. Use our Working Time Regulations Policy to set out your position on working hours and opt-out agreements.