Areas of Law / Employment

We work nine-to-five in an office on computers all day with an hour for lunch. We are too busy to take a break to rest our eyes and backs, but should we have any authorised breaks, say ten minutes in the morning and ten in the afternoon?

The Working Time Regulations stipulate that there should be a 20-minute uninterrupted rest break during a working day exceeding six hours. However your employer owes you a duty of care, and if you are suffering from sore eyes and sore backs you should (collectively) bring this to their attention. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 state that “Every employer shall so plan the activities of users at work in his undertaking that their daily work on display screen equipment is periodically interrupted by such breaks or changes of activity as reduce their workload at that equipment”.

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