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Working Time Directive – the implications of the possible loss of the UK’s opt out of the 48 hour week. How will this impact on your business?
Last month Euro MPs voted in favour of ending Britain's opt-out from the EU working time directive. Britain will now start talks with EU ministers in an effort to keep it and a decision is expected early this year following talks with the European council of ministers. If Britain is forced to axe its opt-out, the law will come into force in three years' time.

But what would the removal of the exemption mean? It was negotiated back in 1993 to allow individual workers to opt out of a restriction on the average number of hours they work per week. If the opt-out disappears, it means that an employee may work more than 48 hours in any given week provided that the average weekly working time over a set reference period (normally 17 weeks) does not exceed 48 hours. It is therefore probably not going to affect too many employees directly.

If you have any queries about your employees’ working hours, rest periods or annual leave entitlements, please get in touch.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016


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