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Give me a break! Dealing with meetings for shift workers
If you have employees who work shifts do you make sure that if you ask them to attend meetings at other times, that they still get their 11 hour break before resuming their shift work?

This was the matter being addressed in a recent case for night-shift employees who were attending health and safety and trade union meetings to represent colleagues during the day. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) had to consider whether attending a health and safety or a trade union meeting should be considered ‘work’ for the purposes of Working Time Regulations 1998.

The EAT decided that this was indeed work and stated that the law covers situations where an employer has required an employee to be in a specific place and ready to work for the employer’s benefit and that this included being present for the meetings described above – even though the employees were not undertaking their usual manufacturing duties. In other words, if a worker is engaged in activities that:

* arise from the employment relationship;
* are for the benefit of the employer;
* are done with the employer’s knowledge;
* at an approved time and in an approved manner.

this could amount to working time and the employer must make rest break arrangements accordingly.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016


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