Working Time Regulations

In PJH Law’s last case of the week before the referendum, we have a case involving law derived from an European Directive and interpretation of both the EU Directive and the UK implementation of that directive.

Santos Gomes v Higher Level Care Ltd – http://www.employmentappeals.gov.uk/Public/Upload/16_0017rjfhEHRN.doc

The Working Time Directive is an EU directive which sets out workers’ rights relating to working hours, breaks and holidays. This directive was implemented in the UK by the Working Time Regulations 1998.

This week’s question is:

Does regulation 30 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 confer an entitlement to compensation for injury to feelings on a Claimant who succeeds in a claim under the Working Time Regulations 1998?

The Claimant brought claims for compensation for failing to allow her rest breaks and thereby allegedly damaging her “health and well-being”. The Tribunal found that the Claimant had not been allowed to take her rest break of 20 minutes in shifts of over 6 hours’ duration and awarded £1,220 compensation (that amount was agreed between the parties for pecuniary loss), but nothing for injury to feelings.

The Claimant appealed to the EAT seeking further compensation to cover the injury to her feelings. The appeal was dismissed.

This week’s answer is therefore:

The Working Time Regulations only allow for pecuniary losses to be claimed and that is consistent with the EU directive.

Employers can therefore breathe a sigh of relief that employees need to show some pecuniary loss to make a claim in relation to not getting rest breaks to be worthwhile and therefore aren’t likely to see an increase in claims brought under the working time regulations as a result of this decision.