It’s national ‘Take Your Lunch Break’ day – so make sure you tell your boss
A million British workers never take a lunch break, with almost double that number not getting away for more than 10 minutes during the day, new figures show.
But it's time to change that – because today, April 16, is National Take Your Lunch Break Day.
"Working hard is essential for success but sometimes it's necessary to actually take those few moments to simply enjoy your break," the official campaign site explains.
"Take Your Lunch Break Day reminds us all to really take advantage of those moments off work, see a friend, enjoy proper food or even go for a run."
And the better news is that – for once – employment law is thoroughly on your side.
Your rights to a lunch break
A study by Yell revealed that just 17% of people – or one in six – take a full hour for lunch.
By contrast, more than one worker in three (34%) eats lunch at their desks while 30% don't get further than the office canteen or kitchen.
Some 325,000 employees said they eat their lunch in the loo at work.
The good news is that the law is on the side of the people escaping their desks.
That's because everyone working more than 6 hours a day has the right to one uninterrupted break of at least 20 minutes.
Yell's Mark Clisby said: “To consistently deliver high performance, we must ensure we’re keeping our bodies healthy, getting enough sleep and taking regular breaks during the working day."
He added: “If you’re somebody like me who struggles to take a lunch break, or eats at their desk, commit to stepping outside your workplace and getting some fresh air and exercise.
"When this becomes the ‘norm’ and you’re getting at least 20 minutes’ break, you’ll go back to work feeling refreshed and with a positive outlook for the rest of your day.”
Working day rights we all have no matter what the boss says
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) says the Working Time Regulations provide rights to:
- A limit of an average 48 hours a week on the hours a worker can be required to work, though individuals may choose to work longer by "opting out".
- Paid annual leave of 5.6 weeks' a year
- 11 consecutive hours' rest in any 24-hour period
- A 20-minute rest break if the working day is longer than six hours
- One day off each week
- A limit on the normal working hours of night workers to an average eight hours in any 24-hour period, and an entitlement for night workers to receive regular health assessments.
There are special regulations for young workers, which restrict their working hours to eight hours a day and 40 hours a week.
The rest break is 30 minutes if their work lasts more than 4.5 hours. They are also entitled to two days off each week.
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