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Last reviewed on 15 March 2021
Ref: 2939
School types: All · School phases: All

Understand your requirements around providing support staff with rest breaks. Find out what to do about pay if support staff members work through their break.

Legal requirements

Workers over 18

Your employees have the right to one uninterrupted 20-minute rest break during their working day if they work more than 6 hours a day. This can be a tea or lunch break.

Unless their employment contract says so, they do not have the right to:

  • Get paid for rest breaks
  • Take smoking breaks

You can say when employees must take their break, as long as:

  • The break is taken in one go, somewhere in the middle of the day, and not at the beginning or the end
  • You allow employees to spend it away from where they actually work

If you say an employee should go back to work before their break is finished, it doesn't count as a rest break.

This is set out in GOV.UK guidance on rest breaks at work, in the overview and taking breaks sections.

Young workers above school leaving age are usually

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