48 hour working time opt-out

The UK’s ability to opt out of the 48 hour working week is now in peril following the European Parliament vote this week to have it scrapped. The UK’s opt out of this element of the Working Time Directive (in other words employees in the UK being able to agree to opt out of the limit) was agreed in the 1990s but has been under threat now for a number of years. The vote will come as a great disappointment to UK businesses bearing in mind that earlier this year the UK agreed to the Temporary Agency Directive provided it could keep the Working Time Directive opt out. Keeping the opt out was, however, dependent on being accompanied by a number of conditions which guarantee the protection of health and safety of workers. The European Parliament was not convinced that keeping the opt out does not undermine health and safety.
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