Working time regulations

Introduction

This policy statement sets out the way in which Wycombe District Council will comply with the Working Time Regulations 1998 (external website).

Working time

"Working time" is defined as when a worker is "working at his/her employer's disposal and carrying out his/her activity or duties".  For time to be considered "working time" all three elements must be satisfied.

The Working Time Regulations

The Working Time Regulations provide:

  • 48 hour maximum working week
  • 8 hour daily shift maximum for night workers
  • 20 minute break during the working day for adult workers and 30 minutes for young workers (workers aged 17 years or less)
  • 11 hours consecutive rest for adults in every 24 hours, 12 hours for young workers
  • 24 hour rest break each week for adults, 48 hours for young workers
  • a free health assessment for night workers
  • annual leave entitlement

The regulations set a limit of an average of 48 hours per week.  To arrive at an average, the calculation period is 17 weeks (excluding holidays ie the last 17 weeks worked).

The council's Local Terms and Conditions already conform with the Working Time Regulations.

In accordance with the Regulations all officers will be required to keep working time records, recording daily and weekly working time.

Officers covered by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services "National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service" (spinal column point 49 and below) can fully participate in the council's Flexible Working Hours scheme, as set out in the Local Terms and Conditions (unless specifically excluded)

Officers covered by the Joint Negotiating Committee for Chief Officers of Local Authorities (spinal column point 50 and above) are allowed to vary their start and finishing times, in accordance with the Flexible Working Hours scheme, however are excluded from taking "credit time" as "flex-leave".

Exception

The Working Time Regulations set out special circumstances where the regulations do not apply.  Exceptions include:

  • continuity of service provision eg residential carers
  • provision of security or protection of people or property eg emergency call-out housing teams, CCTV officers

Therefore, officers undertaking standby and call-out duties, providing care services outside of normal office hours (eg wardens) and officers providing security services outside of normal office hours (eg CCTV staff) are excluded from the Working Time Regulations.  Nevertheless, the council's practices conform with the Working Time Regulations.

Equally, unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the council eg extreme weather conditions resulting in increased work demands are excluded from the Working Time Regulations.

Time that an officer spends on standby (where he/she is not at the work place, but is available to work) does not count as working time.  However, call-outs are regarded as working time and should therefore be recorded.  Total time worked on call-outs duties attract allowances, time taken on call-outs will not be considered for flex-leave.

For officers attending call-outs, the daily 11 hour consecutive rest period will begin on completion of the last call-out.  Therefore, officers called out may wish to take their 11 hours rest entitlement and come to work the following day 11 hours after their last call out (in effect legitimately breaching Flexible Working Hours scheme core attendance time).  However, officers will still be required to complete their contractual 37 hour week (within the parameters of the council's Flexible Working Hours scheme)

Meetings and external working

Occasionally officers may be required to attend meetings or events with partner organisations outside of normal office hours.

Officers covered by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services "National Agreement on Pay & Conditions of Service" may claim Committee attendance allowance or time off in lieu (in addition to normal flexitime credit hours, although no more than 12 hours may be carried over between accounting periods).

Officers covered by the Joint Negotiating Committee for Chief Officers of Local Authorities are excluded from the above allowances.

Attendance at evening meetings or events is considered as working time and will be recorded. However, if an allowance or time-off in lieu is claimed, the working time will not be considered for flex leave.

The 11 hour daily rest entitlement will commence at the end of the council Committee meeting, officer meeting or meeting/event with partner organisations.  Effectively, should a meeting or event finish after 10.30pm, officers will be entitled to legitimately breach the Flexible Working Hours scheme.  However, officers will still be required to complete their contractual 37 hour week (within the parameters of the council's Flexible Working Hours scheme).