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Hours of work

Work Times Regulations
Rest Periods
Time Off
Sunday Shifts


You have no guaranteed hours of work. You have, in fact, only a few more rights than the people who built the pyramids. However, if everyone else is scheduled 6 days a week and you are scheduled none, and there is no good reason why this should be the case, then this may be an example of victimisation. However, if they suddenly cut everybody’s hours completely and the entire payroll can’t pay their rent, that’s OK, because everybody is getting shafted equally, which is what freedom and democracy is all about… apparently.


Your employment contract (crew handbook) stipulates when the schedule will be posted- “no later than 5.00pm on the Thursday before”. In reality, at many restaurants it may not be posted until Saturday or Sunday. To our understanding of the law (and we could be wrong, the law is after all an ass), you are under no obligation to turn up to work if the schedule was posted after the stipulated time and you happen to have made an alternative arrangement. “Sorry, won’t be in on Tuesday, I’ve arranged to go to the pub with some mates” is a line everybody should use at least once during their McCareer. Explain that you had been waiting to make plans all week and couldn’t delay any more.

Work Times Regulations

Your standard working week cannot be longer than 48 hours unless you have given signed consent. If they are trying to get you to work 40 hours a week, and you only want to do 32, tell them you have another job and work there 18 hours a week!

Rest Periods

You are legally entitled to a minimum rest period of 11 consecutive hours between shifts. So, if you finish a close at 2.00am and are scheduled to start at noon the next day, you do not have to come in until 1.00pm. If you are under 18 then this rest period is extended to 12 hours.
Additionally, you are entitle to an "uninterrupted rest period of not less than 24 hours in each seven-day period or if you are under 18, you are entitled to a delicious 48 consecutive hours away from that shit hole. If you are over 18, instead of giving you your 24 consecutive hours, they can make you work 12 days in a row but then give you 48 consecutive hours to recover enough to go back and make them more money.
These rest periods are in addition to the 11/12 hours you are entitled to each day. So if you finish at 5.00pm on Wednesday it would not count as a 24 hour rest period if you are scheduled to work again at 5.00pm on Thursday.


Possibly the only area where McDonalds provision exceeds the most basic legal requirement, McDonalds break allowances are longer than the legal minimum and form part of your contract of employment:
3-4 hours: 15 minutes
4-5 hours: 30 minutes
5-10 hours: 45 minutes
Over 10 hours: 45 minutes and then another 20 minutes
If you work for between 3 and 4 hours and take a 15-minute break then you do not have to clock out, so make sure you don’t!

Time off

You are entitled to reasonable time off to care for a dependent relative. So if you have a kid that gets sick and you cant come to work and they complain as fucking usual, threaten them with an employment tribunal.
You are also entitled to time off with pay to attend the funeral of an immediate relative (not sure if it stretches to a wake or reception). Freedom isn’t it wonderful? If your old man pops it you get to see him buried, even if McDonalds are left short of a grill person.
True story, a guy wrote to us, said he was working the night before his wedding when a manager demanded he did an extra night shift the next day. “Ha, you’re forgetting, tomorrow’s my big day, I’m getting married!”
“Yeah I know, but that’ll be over by 6.00”!


You are entitled to 4 weeks paid holiday a year. Of course you can’t choose when, but if you ask nicely, you never know. Another true story, two FMs were going out together and for two years they were forbidden to take a holiday at the same time. Eventually they thought ‘fuck them’ and booked a week in Spain. They broke up two months before they were due to go. See holiday pay for more information.

Sunday Shifts

Fed up going to work on a Sunday with a hangover? If you provide 3 months notice you can legally opt out of working on a Sunday. Who said religion had no use?

Compulsory overtime/ “staying on”

Hmmm, this one deserves a section all of its own...


Yes I am getting screwed illegally.
No I am being screwed within the law.

These pages are ‘use at your own risk’! We’re burger flippers not lawyers and we strongly recommend you consult a ‘no win, no fee’ solicitor before doing anything crazy. We can also only provide a superficial overview here. More detailed information on employment law can be found at:

These pages are based on UK and EU law but some of the information will be relevant in the US and elsewhere. For information on US employment rights, see:

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