Does an employee have to ask for a rest break before claiming to have been refused a rest break?

The answer from the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Grange v Abellio London is no.

Grange was contracted to work an eight and a half hour shift, which included a 30 minute break for lunch. His employer had told him that he should just work for eight hours without a break and leave early.

Grange  brought a claim in the Employment Tribunal (ET) based on s10 Working Time Regulations, stating that he had been refused a break.

The ET held that since he never asked for a rest break, he therefore could not have been refused one.

On appeal, the EAT overturned the decision on the grounds that the instruction to work without a rest break could be construed as a refusal even though no express request was made.

Employers should therefore ensure that their employment contracts and policies provide for adequate breaks for their employees.