Less than a third of working mums take an hour’s lunch break, according to a Workingmums.co.uk’s poll.
The poll shows 43% of mums regularly work through their lunch break; 28% take a short break of around 20 minutes and just 29% say they take a longer break.
Several women said they skimped on their lunch break because they had to leave punctually to pick up children from childcare. Another said she didn’t even think of stopping.
But one woman who did take a lunch break said it was important to have a break and get some fresh air.
There is no legal right to a lunch break. However, according to the Working Time Regulations (WTR), workers are entitled to one uninterrupted 20-minute rest break during the working day, provided they work more than six hours in a day. School leavers who are under 18 are entitled to a 30-minute rest break if working for longer than 4.5 hours.
Acas says an employee’s contract may specify a longer break or additional breaks and employers can split the 20 minutes into two lots of 10 minutes, but only if collectively agreed with the workforce.
Workers should be able to take those 20-minute breaks away from their work station and at some point during the working day, but the employer can decide when and they don’t have to pay for the breaks.
Acas says it is in both employers’ and employees’ interests for workers to take breaks since studies have shown that heavy workloads and stress can make workers less productive, increase the risk of mistakes and affect health.
More information on rest breaks can be found here.