Potential Changes to Weekly Rest Period
In our latest brief Thomas Carroll Management Service highlight potential changes to weekly rest periods.
Under UK law, employees are typically entitled to a minimum 2 days break during a 2 week work reference period.
In the recent Portuguese case of Maio Marques da Rosa v Varzim Sol – Turismo, Jogo e Animação, the Advocate General gave an opinion that the 24 hour weekly rest period provided by the Working Time Directive may be granted on any day in the reference period.
In his view, Article 5 of the Working Time Directive should not be interpreted as requiring the weekly rest period to be granted on the seventh day following six consecutive working days.
Under Portuguese law, this would mean that a worker may be required to work up to 12 consecutive days, if the weekly rest period is granted on the first day of the first seven-day period and the last day of the following seven-day period, as long as the other requirements of the Working Time Directive are satisfied.
However, the law is different in the UK and in theory, this interpretation of the weekly rest entitlement would mean that a worker in the UK, where employers can opt to provide a 48-hour rest period in a 14-day reference period, could be permitted to work for 24 consecutive days.
The European Court of Justice often, but not always follows, the ruling of the Advocate General, so possibly but not certainly, this ruling will apply to the UK in the future.
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