I can limit my working week to 48 hours?


You have the right to limit your working week to a maximum of 48 hours per week averaged over a 17 week period.

Workers can agree to opt out of this limit, but must do so in writing and not by collective agreement. The worker has the right to bring the opt out to an end by giving notice of seven days or longer (up to three months) if agreed.

If the opt out is written into your contract you can still give notice to opt back in.

What counts as work

A working week includes:

  • job-related training
  • time spent travelling if you travel as part of your job, eg sales rep
  • working lunches, eg business lunches
  • time spent working abroad
  • paid overtime
  • unpaid overtime you’re asked to do
  • time spent on call at the workplace
  • any time that is treated as ‘working time’ under a contract
  • travel between home and work at the start and end of the working day (if you don’t have a fixed place of work)

What doesn’t count as work

A working week doesn’t include:

  • time you spend on call away from the workplace
  • breaks when no work is done, eg lunch breaks
  • travelling outside of normal working hours
  • unpaid overtime you’ve volunteered for, eg staying late to finish something off
  • paid or unpaid holiday
  • travel to and from work (if you have a fixed place of work)