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How Many Hours is the Full-Time UK?

Are you new to the job? Want to know how many hours is a full-time UK? In that case, I will tell you how to calculate your working hours. Besides, you might want to know whether your rest and lunch break will be a part of your working hour calculation or not. So, let's get started and learn more.

What are Full-Time working hours in the UK?

A full-time worker usually works for more than 35 hours or more a week. However, there is no specific working time for either full-time or part-time jobs. Then how you will find out your job working hours. You need to check your company's guidelines or employee handbook for the calculation of your working hours. Although a part-time worker's working hours will be less than 30 hours, they get the same treatment from the employers for pay rates, sick pay, paternity/maternity leave.

How many hours a week is a full time?

According to Working Time Regulations 1988, the maximum working hours should not be more than 48 hours for a full-time job. However, some companies define their own working time. Many employers consider 35 hours per week as average for a full-time job, while others want 40 hours on average.

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It is good to know that the UK is among Europe's developed countries where employees work the longest working hours on average. Longest working time often associated with sleep deprivation, stress, depression, etc. But still, this 48-hour time merit is set by many companies all over the UK.

How Many hours are part-time jobs in the UK?

Just like a full-time job, there are no working hour specifications for a part-time job. Any job where a person needs to work less than the average working hour of a full-time job is known as a part-time position. UK Government states that a person needs to work 35 hours or more per week on average on a full-time job. That means any job requiring less than 35 hours per week might be known as a part-time job.

So, if you ask me for 30 hours a part-time job, then I can say it could be. You can get confirmation from your employer, though. Sixteen hours per week on the average job is clearly a part-time position.

When do you need to Calculate your Working Hours?

You won't have to use calculated working hours for every other job you get. Certain conditions require you to do the math. Here are three everyday situations where you should go with a proper calculation.

  • When you think that your working hours exceed 48 hours a week.
  • When your employer asks you to work more than 48 hours a week.
  • When your employer requests you to opt-out of the Working Time Regulations.

How to check how many hours are you working for on your job?

You can get this idea after following three steps.

Step No.1 Check Whether 48-Hour Working time Limit is Applicable or not.

Next, you need to check whether this 48 hours week working time limit applies to your current job or not.

You should know that an employer doesn't make you work more than 48 hours on average per week. No matter what is mentioned in your contract or whether you have a deal or not, this 48-hour average limit is part of working time regulations- so if your employer makes you work more than 48 hours and you don't want to, then you are merely following law guidelines.

In case you want to work more than 48 hours working time on average for a job, you need to sign an opt-out form. However, your employer doesn't ask you to sign this form; it should be your personal choice.

Once you sign an opt out form, you decide to work 48 hours per week on average. However, you can also cancel this form and get yourself out of this more working schedule.

You must know that this 48-hour limit is not applicable for the following jobs:

  • Vehicle driver -lorry, coach or heavy-goods
  • A ship worker
  • Airline staff such as pilot or cabin crew
  • A servant working in a private home
  • emergency services or police services
  • arm forces
  • A senior manager or executive position -where you can take decision

In case you are unsure whether your 48-hour limit is applicable for your job or not, you better get help from an employment advisor.

Step No.2. Check what counts towards your 48-hour limit

First of all, find out what activities will be counted within your working time and what will exclude from it. When defining work hours, ensure that all the hours you agreed to work for employers would be part of this 48-hour schedule. You need to minus your rest breaks time and work off-days from this calculation. 

What About Traveling time?

In case you have a proper office where you work all the time, you won't include time of travel from home to office. Contrary to this, if you are working on a job where you don't have a physical location and travel to and from your home for work, you will include it in your working hours.

For example, if you offer residential healthcare services. You will include your traveling time.

What about job-Related Training Time?

When your employer agrees for you to enroll in job-related training, you will include training time in working hours no matter whether your employer is paying for this training or not. 

Some employers send you for job-related to some distant places, all those time you spent on training will be counted as working time. 

In case it's your personal choice to enhance your skills through job-related training in your free time, you won't add it to your working time.

Will you add lunch and rest breaks in your working hours calculations?

In case you are working during your lunch break, you can count it in your working time. For example, if you are out for lunch with a company's client, you will add all the lunchtime as working time.

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On the flip side, when you are taking lunch or rest breaks and doing no work, don't count them. You can get rest breaks during work. It's better to find out all about your holidays from the employee manual.

Would you add overtime to your working time?

When an employee does a calculation of working hours, he should add overtime -about which he has an agreement with his employer. According to your agreement, you have decided to work overtime- apart from your regular working hours; you won't make it a part of your working hours. Read your contract to know whether overtime is mentioned in it or not.

over time how to calculate working hours in uk

Besides, if you take some office work home or complete work by staying late in the office, you don't need to add that unpaid overtime.

How to Calculate Working Hours When you are working on Call?

It's always confusing to calculate your working hours when your employer asks you to work On CALL. In case an employer asks you to stay at your workplace or near your workplace from where you can quickly drive to the workplace, then all the time, you would be counted as working time. In a scenario where you are at home enjoying your sleep and fun activities, then it won't count as working time. In that case, when you are working from home and working, then it's the time count toward your working hours.

You should know that the employer sets conditions for your work on Call; he would ask you to stay near your workplace at what time or distance. He might ask you to limit the alcohol when you have to work on Call. There could be many other conditions. If there are so many strict conditions, you probably can count all the time for your working hours.

As it's a confusing matter, you can take this case to the employment tribunal when your employer and you can't reach a mutual agreement or understanding.

Will You Add Work from Home in Working Hours?

If your employer asked you to continue work from home and you have an agreement, it will be counted. On the flip side, if you take some work at home just because you couldn't do it in your office, it won't be counted as your working time.

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work from home how to calculate working hours in uk how many hours are full time

Will you Add Nighttime Work?

In case you spend three hours at night regularly at work, you will be categorized as a night worker, and the terms of this work will be a part of your contract. Your employer would set the night time from midnight to 5 am as your working hours. However, when nothing is set as your night time, it is typically 11 pm to 6 am.

As a night worker, you can't work more than eight hours in twenty hours, while your average would be over seventeen weeks. You might have to work more than 8 hours in some jobs, like emergency or police services.

Will you add time off work to working time?

No, you won't. When you are calculating hours, you need to leave all the days you were not doing any work such as adoption leave, sick leave, time off, paid annual leave, maternity or paternity leave.

Step No. 3 Calculate your working hours.

You should know that 48-hours per week is a legal limit. Therefore, when you doubt that you are working more than 48-hours, you better do your math. In case you are working the same hours every other day and didn't take any time off in the last 17 weeks, you should add your overtime to your contractual hours. 

In case you didn't take any time off while your working hours vary, here is how you need to calculate the total amount of time you work.

You will add the number of hours you have worked for the past seventeen weeks, including overtime. Now divide these total numbers by 17 weeks, and you will get an idea of how many hours you work on average.

For example,

  • John worked for 42 hours a week, plus 10 hours of overtime in 10 weeks, and he didn't take any leave for almost ten weeks. Now the total number of hours is 52
  • Regular working hours 17 multiply by 40 equals 714
  • overtime ten multiply by ten weeks equals 100
  • Total hours are 814 divided by 17 equals 47.8 hours on average.
  • This calculation made it clear now that John worked less than 48 hours. 

What to do when you work more than 48 hours on average per week?

The first thing to do is to talk with your employer. In case the employer doesn't care and asks you to continue working, he is breaching the terms of your contract. You can not only resign but also claim constructive dismissal at the employment tribunal. You should know that it's not easy to win this claim unless you have proof of everything. Some people don't take legal actions, but they report their employers to gov.UK.


Finally, you have got a clear idea of how many hours is a full-time job. Usually, a calculator is not required, but when you feel like working too much, or you think that your employer is asking for more than average working time, it's when you should do the proper calculation. 

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