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In order to have been refused a rest break does an employee have to specifically ask for one?

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The EAT in Grange v Abellio London that the answer is no.
Under the Claimant’s contact of employment he was required to work an 8 ½ hour shift, which included a ½ an hour for lunch. The statutory minimum is 20 minutes rest break where the working time is more than 6 hours.

However, the Claimant was told by his employer that instead, he should work for eight hours without a break, and leave early.

The Claimant made a claim that he had been refused a rest break pursuant to section 10 of the Working Time Regulations 1998. The employment tribunal held that as he had never asked for a rest break he had therefore never been refused one. therefore he had never been refused one. The EAT overturned this decision. The Eat held that the instruction to work without a rest break could be construed of itself as a refusal, without an explicit request.

Written by
Edward Aston
17th November 2016