Career Advice

Mastering Work-Life Balance: Unveiling Brighton’s Working Hours

work and life in Brighton, view of Brighton Marina

Working patterns can vary greatly, depending on what you do and who you work for. Some people might work 9 to 5, but many also work in various other patterns and configurations. Whether you work a standard office day or through the night, one thing that’s important is that you don’t work too much.

There are regulations that prevent you from working too many hours, and your employee has a responsibility to make sure you don’t work too much. Your employer in Brighton has to meet the regulations that are in place to avoid overworking you. Take a look at the rules both you and they should know.

What’s the most you can work each week?

The legislation says that you can work 48 hours each week when averaged out over 17 weeks. For anyone under 18, the maximum working hours are 40 per week or 8 hours a day. There are some special regulations for certain industries that might limit hours more, allow you to work more hours, or dictate how often you have to take breaks and how long you need to take them for.

Are there exceptions to the maximum working hours?

Working in some industries might mean that you can be asked to work more than the 48 maximum hours per week.

These industries include:

  • The armed forces and emergency services
  • Industries requiring 24-hour staffing, such as healthcare
  • Security
  • Sea-fishing and sea-faring

Opting out of the 48-hour rule

It’s also possible to opt out of the 48-hour limit if you want to. To do this, your decision needs to be put into writing, whether it’s for a defined period or an indefinite one.

However, not everyone can opt out, namely those working in certain industries, such as people working for airlines, on ships, boats or in road transport, or those working in security with high-value goods.

Anyone under the age of 18 cannot opt out. It’s also important that you don’t allow yourself to be pressured into opting out if you don’t want to.

Working out average working hours

Some people have a set schedule that makes it easy to know how many hours they work in one week. However, if your working hours are not so regular, you can easily work out your average hours.

Simply add up your hours in the period you want to calculate for and divide by the number of weeks. A reference period is usually 17 weeks but might be different in some cases. For example, it’s 26 weeks if you are a trainee doctor.

Included in your working hours

Below you can find some activities included in your working hours:

  • Time spent travelling for your job
  • Training
  • Business lunches and off-site meetings
  • Being on-call while on-site
  • Working abroad
  • Business calls and other time spent communicating
  • Paid overtime and requested unpaid overtime

Not included in working hours

Things not included in your average working hours include:

  • Being on-call while not at your place of work
  • Holidays
  • Breaks (when you’re not working during them)
  • Unpaid voluntary overtime
  • Travelling outside of working hours
  • Travel to and from work if you have a fixed workplace

What breaks are you entitled to?

You are also entitled to breaks, and in fact are required to take them. The law says you need to have one 15-minute break every 4.5 hours and a 30 minute break every 6 hours.

These breaks are unpaid, although some employers in Brighton do choose to pay you for them anyway.

How much time off do you get?

Full-time employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks paid annual leave in Brighton and the rest of the UK. This can include bank holidays, of which there are eight throughout the year.

For someone who works five days a week, that means 28 days of leave each year. Part time, seasonal and casual work is worked out pro rata. Multiply the number of days that you work each week by 5.6 to find out how much paid leave you get.

How do you change your working hours?

If you’re an employee in Brighton who wants to change your working hours, you are legally entitled to discuss this with your employer. You need to have been employed for more than 26 weeks for this legal entitlement, but you could still try before then.

Your employer still has the final say on whether you can change your hours or not. Be prepared to make a good argument or, if you’re a shift worker, speak to your colleagues about swapping shifts.

If you need advice on looking for work in Brighton, Just Brighton Jobs can help you.