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Guidance Notes – Working Time Regulations 1998


The Working Time Regulations 1998 require employers to take reasonable steps to ensure that their employees do not work more than 48 hours a week on average over each seven days within a prescribed reference period, unless they have opted out of the 48-hour working week in writing. The reference period is usually any period of 17 consecutive weeks.

A Working Time Directive Waiver should be used where workers agree to work longer than the 48-hour limit. Employers should note that the waiver is not available in respect of the ‘Young Workers’ limits on working hours. Young workers (i.e. those who are above compulsory school age but are not yet 18) may not ordinarily work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week (although there are certain permitted exceptions).

The employer is required to keep an up-to-date record of all workers who have opted out of the 48-hour average.

This template sets out a broad overview of the key duties an employer has under the Working Time Regulations 1998.

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