Rest Breaks at Work: You and Your Employer

In today’s fast-paced world, many of us are constantly working and trying to stay productive. We often feel that taking a rest break at work will lead to a loss of productivity and success. However, taking breaks from work is actually crucial for maintaining productivity, creativity, and overall well-being.

What your Employer Must Provide

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, employers in the UK must provide workers with certain types of rest breaks. For example, workers who work for more than 6 hours per day are entitled to 20-minute rest breaks, which must be uninterrupted and taken away from their workstation.

Working Time Regulations

The law on rest breaks is quite clear:

  • during the working day – 20-minute rest breaks if they’re expected to work more than 6 hours during the day.
  • between working days – 11 hour rest breaks between finishing work and starting work.
  • between working weeks – 24 hours every 7 working days or 48 hours every 14 working days.
  • each year – holiday entitlement 

Employees and workers have the same rights to rest breaks wherever they’re working, for example in a workplace or at home.

Employers who fail to provide required breaks or who discourage or prohibit rest breaks may be in breach of the Working Time Regulations and may face legal action from employees. Employees who feel that their rights have been violated may also be able to make a complaint to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) or to an employment tribunal.

It is important for employers to communicate break policies clearly to employees and to ensure that employees are taking the breaks they are entitled to. Employers may also want to consider implementing policies that encourage employees to take breaks and to prioritise their well-being, such as flexible working arrangements or mental health support.

What are the benefits of breaks from work?

Taking rest breaks from work is not only important for employees’ physical and mental health but also for their productivity and creativity. By providing employees with required breaks and encouraging them to take additional breaks when needed, employers can create a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce.

Here are some reasons why taking a rest break is important:

Increased productivity: Taking rest breaks in the workplace can actually increase productivity in the long run. Research has shown that taking regular rest breaks can help reduce fatigue, improve focus and concentration, and boost creativity. By taking a break and stepping away from your work, you can come back with fresh eyes and renewed energy, which can help you work more efficiently and effectively.
Improved mental health: Working non-stop can lead to burnout, which can have negative effects on your mental health. Taking a break can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It gives you time to recharge and refocus, which can improve your overall well-being and mental health.
Better physical health: Sitting in the same position for hours on end can lead to physical problems such as back pain, eye strain, and poor circulation. Taking breaks allows you to stretch your muscles, rest your eyes, and move around, which can prevent these physical problems from occurring.
Improved creativity: When you take a break, your mind is free to wander, which can lead to new ideas and insights. It can also give you time to reflect on your work and come up with new ways to approach problems.
Better work-life balance: Taking breaks from work can help you achieve a better work-life balance. It allows you to spend time with family and friends, pursue hobbies and interests, and take care of yourself. This can lead to a more fulfilling and satisfying life.

Breaks are an Essential Part of Good Business Practice

In conclusion, taking breaks from work is essential for maintaining productivity, creativity, and overall well-being. It’s important to prioritise self-care and take the time to recharge, both mentally and physically. So, the next time you feel like you’re too busy to take a break, remember that it’s actually essential for your success and happiness.

For further information or support, please contact Kingswood Group on 01245-204450 or email us on

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