I work 5 days a week 9-6 and get a single 20 minute break for lunch. I am mentally drained and completely worn out. How can this be legal? By the time you’ve gobbled your food it’s time to go back - there is no time to mentally recharge.

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    To the vote-closer: this is not seeking legal advise, it's asking if it's legal or not (yes/no), something very answerable as we can see by the answer we got already and by any HR-knowledgeable or UK-knowledgeable person (or anybody with good google foo :)
    – DarkCygnus
    Aug 11, 2023 at 23:36
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    @JoeStrazzere yeah, I guess one could get some of those answers way faster if one googled, but anyways, it's good to have those answers here in TWP. Besides, not everybody know where and how to google certain things, and that's the "plus" you get here: knowledgeable users willing to help others :)
    – DarkCygnus
    Aug 12, 2023 at 0:16
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    For those saying "this is something easily googleable": One of the key goals of the Stack Exchange network is to be a trustworthy Google answer: if you Google something and one of the results on the first page is a Stack Exchange result, you can be all but certain that it'll be helpful.
    – Nzall
    Aug 12, 2023 at 9:40
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    Besides legality, if this is mentally draining for you, I would advise you to start looking for other jobs. Depression & burnouts are no joke. Aug 12, 2023 at 13:51
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    Google will give you an answer, it just doesn't promise the first few are right. It's not uncommon for misinformation (accidental or otherwise) to be repeated on multiple sites and turn up in web searches. Aug 12, 2023 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is legal, albeit not particularly generous.


Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than 6 hours a day. This could be a tea or lunch break.

The break doesn’t have to be paid - it depends on their employment contract.

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    The page you quote also says: "An employer should give an employee enough breaks to make sure their health and safety isn’t at risk if that work is ‘monotonous’ (eg work on a production line)."
    – Stef
    Aug 12, 2023 at 16:03
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    @Stef - And if OP is concerned, they can always report their concerns anonymously to the Health and Safety Executive
    – Richard
    Aug 12, 2023 at 17:53
  • how can anyone have lunch in 20 minutes?
    – njzk2
    Aug 12, 2023 at 21:50
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    As a small addition, this is the minimum for age 18+. 16 and 17 year olds are legally entitled to at least a 30 minute break if they work for more than 4.5 hours: gov.uk/rest-breaks-work/young-workers Aug 12, 2023 at 23:03

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