Search Legislation

The Working Time Regulations 1998

What Version

 Help about what version
  • Latest available (Revised)
  • Original (As made)


This is the original version (as it was originally made). This item of legislation is currently only available in its original format.

Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

These Regulations implement Council Directive 93/104/EC concerning certain aspects of the organization of working time (O.J. No. L307, 13.12.93, p.18) and provisions concerning working time in Council Directive 94/33/EC on the protection of young people at work (O.J. No. L216, 20.8.94, p.12). The provisions in the latter Directive which are implemented relate only to adolescents (those aged between 15 and 18 who are over compulsory school age); provisions in that Directive relating to children were implemented by the Children (Protection at Work) Regulations 1998 (S.I.1998/276). Provisions implementing that Directive in relation to adolescents employed on ships are to be included in separate regulations to be made shortly after the date on which these Regulations are made, and adolescents employed on ships are accordingly excluded from the scope of these Regulations (regulation 26).

Regulations 4 to 9 in these Regulations impose obligations on employers, enforceable by the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities; failure to comply is an offence. The obligations concern the maximum average weekly working time of workers (subject to provision for individual workers to agree that the maximum should not apply to them), the average normal hours of night workers, the provision of health assessments for night workers, and rest breaks to be given to workers engaged in certain kinds of work; employers are also required to keep records of workers' hours of work.

Regulations 10 to 17 confer rights on workers, enforceable by proceedings before employment tribunals. The rights are to a rest period in every 24 hours during which a worker works for his employer and longer rest periods each week or fortnight, to a rest break in the course of a working day, and to a period of paid annual leave.

Regulations 18 to 27 provide for particular regulations not to apply, either in relation to workers engaged in certain kinds of work or where particular circumstances arise. There is also provision for groups of workers and their employers to agree to modify or exclude the application of particular regulations.

The remaining regulations make provision in relation to enforcement and remedies, and in respect of agency workers, Crown servants, Parliamentary staff, the police, trainees and agricultural workers. The Employment Rights Act 1996 is amended to include a right for workers not to be subjected to any detriment for refusing to comply with a requirement contrary to these Regulations or to forgo a right conferred by them, and to provide that the dismissal of an employee on account of any such refusal is unfair dismissal for the purposes of the Act.

Back to top


Print Options


Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.


Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources