Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
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The Act regulates working hours as follows:
• Maximum 48 hour week: subject to averaging provisions and some exceptions, the most important of which is those in a position to decide their own working time.
• Minimum 15 minute break every 4.5 hours or 30 minutes every 6 hours
• At least 11 consecutive hours rest in 24 hours.
• Sundays off: unless otherwise stated in the contract of employment. An employee who is required to workSundays must be compensated with a reasonable allowance or increase in pay or time off or a combination of the above.
• Night Worker: someone who works at least 3 hours between 12 midnight and 7.00 am. at least 50% of annual working time.
• Limitations: Average 8 hours per night over two-month period for those not involved in work of special hazard or physical or mental strain, in which case the limit is 8 hours each night.
Exemptions: Certain sectors of activity are exempted from the rest provisions of the Act. Most of the derogations are by means of statutory instruments. Where there are specific exemptions in the Act, in almost all cases, an equivalent compensatory rest period must be given. It is important to verify if a particular activity is subject to a specific regulation.
There are exemptions from the daily and weekly rest provisions for split shift workers and from other provisions for workers
where there may be exceptional or unforeseen circumstances or emergencies.
One needs to have regard to a number of relevant regulations made under the Act, which affect certain sector clients.
Working Time Relevant Statutory Instruments:
1. Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997
(Commencement) Order, 1997 SI No 392 of 1997
2. Organisation of Working Time (Determination of
Pay for Holidays) Regulations, 1997 SI No 475 of
3. Organisation of Working Time (Exemption of
Transport Activities) Regulations, 1998 SI No 20 of
4. Organisation of Working Time (General
Exemptions) Regulations, 1998 SI No 21 of 1998
5. Organisation of Working Time (Code on
Compensatory Rest and Related Matters)
(Declaration) Order, 1998 SI No 44 of 1998
6. Organisation of Working Time (Exemption of
Civil Protection Services) Regulations, 1998 SI No
52 of 1998
7. Organisation of Working Time (Breaks at Work for
Shop Employees) Regulations 1998 SI No 57 of
8. Organisation of Working Time (Code of Practice on
Sunday Working in the Retail Trade and Related
Matters) (Declaration) Order, 1998 SI No 444 of
9. Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Night Work
and Shift Work) Regulations, 1998 SI No 485 of
10. Organisation of Working Time (Public Holiday)
Regulations, 1999 SI No 10 of 1999
11. Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act
1996 (Employment in Licensed Premises)
Regulations 2001 S.I. 350 of 2001
12. Organisation of Working Time (National Day
of Mourning) Regulations 2001 S.I. 419 of 2001
13. Organisation of Working Time (Records)(Prescribed
Form and Exemptions) Regulations, 2001 S.I. 473 of