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Rest break exemption under the OWT Act

The Organisation of Working Time Act (Records) (Prescribed form and exemptions) Regulations (2001) place a number of obligations on employers in respect of recording employees' working hours, start and finish times, rest breaks, public holiday entitlements and annual leave periods.

However, many employers are unaware of a useful exemption under the Regulations regarding the recording of rest breaks. An employer may rely on this record exemption once it has informed employees of their rest break entitlements and also of the procedure to follow to notify their employer should they for some reason be unable to avail of a rest break. Under the Regulations this notification must be given by the employee, in writing, to a designated individual (eg, the employee's line manager) within one week of the missed rest break, and must detail the reasons why the employee missed the rest break. In the event that the employer receives notification of a missed rest break, it should ensure the employee was provided with compensatory rest in an adjacent time period.

To successfully rely on this exemption in the event of a NERA inspection, an employer should ensure it has evidence that details of rest break entitlements and the notification procedure for missed rest breaks was issued in writing to each employee.

Members with queries regarding this can call a member of the SFA Team on Tel: 01 605 1633/1664/1668.