Working hours are not excessive

How to comply 1 – what it looks like in practice

You need to:

  • Be aware of the legislation.
  • Record the hours worked by all workers, whether directly employed by you or agency workers. Records should include downtime due to bad weather and waiting time.
  • Ensure that all workers, including agency workers, have at least the required rest breaks.
  • Ensure anyone who works over 48 hours a week has signed an opt-out agreement.
  • Be clear about what counts as ‘standard time’ and what counts as ‘overtime’ for the type of work carried out on your site.

Maximum hours - all workers

Record all hours worked:

  • You need to record the start and finish times of all workers who come on your site. This can be a simple timesheet.

Image: Field workers

Click here for simple table to record working hours. (Displayed in a popup window.)

  • You must record working hours for ALL workers even if they are paid by piece rate. Recording the number of hours worked by piece rate workers enables you to check that workers are earning at least the appropriate minimum wage for the work they do. The type of system you use will very much depend on the size of your site and the permanency of your workforce.
  • If you have a highly transient workforce, you may find it useful to include other simple checklist information in the same records e.g. dates of birth whether you have seen documentation proving right to work in the UK and national insurance numbers.
  • These records should be kept for at least 2 years (England, Wales and Northern Ireland). (3 years – Scotland AWO).

Monitor how many hours people are working:

  • Use the records above to check how many hours people are working per day, week, fortnight and month. This is particularly important if you use workers on a temporary and/or sporadic basis.
  • You need to look out for workers who have already worked (or nearly reached) the working time limit and make sure they do not work over the set limits.
  • You need to make occasional checks of workers who do standard hours and who are unlikely to reach the average 48-hour limit.
  • You should regularly check and monitor hours worked and identify those that appear to be close to the working time limit. Once identified you need to stop them working excessive hours.
  • You need to keep an up-to-date record of workers who have agreed to work more than 48 hours per week. Those who have not signed an opt-out agreement must not work more than an average of 48 hours per week.
  • Check that workers are not working more than 76 hours every week.

Agency/gang workers:

  • You should record the same information about working hours for agency and gang workers as for people who work directly for you. This will help you check who is working on your site and check they are working within the legal limits. Even though monitoring working hours is the primary responsibility of their employer (the agency or gangmaster), it is your responsibility to make sure that their health and safety is not put at risk due to excessive working hours.

Limiting the hours of young workers

  • You need to make sure you and anyone managing young workers are very clear about who these people are.
  • Make sure that anyone managing young workers is aware of restrictions and do not let minors work more than the hours detailed here.

Limiting the hours of minors

  • You need to make sure you, and anyone managing minors, are very clear about who these people are.
  • Make sure that anyone managing minors is aware of restrictions and do not let minors work more than the hours detailed here.

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