Mini-breaks don’t cut it for Network Rail staff

Sue Ball, head of employment at Verisona Law
Sue Ball, head of employment at Verisona Law
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A NEW case has determined that mini-breaks just aren’t cutting it in business.

The tribunal confirmed that 20-minute rest periods should be given in one run, and not as a series of mini-breaks.

The case was brought forward by a railway signalman from Network Rail who was responsible for running single-manned signal boxes on eight-hour shifts.

Due to train timetables, he wasn’t able to take an uninterrupted break and had to be on-call on his breaks.

The employee was being denied his legal entitlement under the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Network Rail was found to have failed to facilitate full 20-minute rest breaks.

Sue Ball, head of employment at Verisona Law, said: ‘Minimum rest periods are there for the protection of health and safety and this ruling demonstrates that tribunals will not allow employers to duck out of their responsibility.

‘The starting point should be a clear policy that everyone knows and understands

‘If you have a situation where it is difficult to give workers an uninterrupted break, away from their work station, then it’s worth reviewing the position with some specialist guidance.

‘The alternative may be an expensive tribunal claim.’