Regulation 4


flag United Kingdom

Maximum working hours, overtime, weekly rest and leave

Regulation 4 sets out the maximum working hours at 48 hours per week (to be calculated on a 17-week average).


Regulation 5 provides for the possibility to ‘opt out’ of the 48-hour maximum week as set out under Regulation 4, through written agreement between the employer and the employee.

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Regulation 4(1): A worker’s working time, including overtime, in any reference period which is applicable in his case shall not exceed an average of 48 hours for each seven days Regulation 4(3):


The hours worked by week is calculated on a 17-week average (or 26 weeks for junior doctors (Regulation 4(5))

Law / United Kingdom / Working Time Regulations 1998

The Working Time Regulations set the maximum working hours per week, for regular and night-workers.  The Regulations include an “opt-out” through written agreement, as well as exclusions for certain sectors.

The Regulations implement the EU Working Time Directive 2008/88/EC.  The European Commission is currently reviewing this Directive, due to the frequent usage of the “opt-out” provision, particularly by large organisations.