Making up for missed rest - Rest and breaks at work

Making up for missed rest

An employee might need to work through their rest entitlement. This should not happen regularly and the employer must have a valid reason for it.

If an employee has to work when they're supposed to be resting, the employer must still make sure the employee gets 'compensatory rest'. This means they take their rest later or in a different way.

The employer must also provide compensatory rest when the employee's job involves 'continuity of service or production'. This means providing a service that runs for a long time uninterrupted. Examples include:

  • security work
  • agricultural work during harvest times

Other cases when the employer must provide compensatory rest are when:

  • there's a 'foreseeable surge of activity' – this is when the business expects more work than usual
  • there's an emergency, or anything else unexpected and outside of the employer's control

The employee and employer should agree together how the compensatory rest is taken. This rest should be for an 'equivalent period'. This means the same length and type as the missed rest.

If the employer cannot provide compensatory rest

If the employer cannot find a way to provide compensatory rest, they must find another way to protect the employee's health and safety.

For example, they could:

  • offer the employee a health assessment – the employee does not have to accept it
  • put them on lighter duties for a while
  • give them extra support, such as help from a manager or supervision
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