September 11, 2015
The Government is being urged to reassess its plans to request an opt-out from the EU Working Time Directive, when it seeks to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s membership of the EU. The Directive stipulates a 48 hour working week, which the Government has argued is stifling competitiveness and flexibility. According to research by the TUC, the number of people working excessive hours has risen by 15 per cent since 2010, following more than a decade of decline in long hours working, with the number of employees working more than 48 hours per week reaching 3,417,000 – up by 453,000 since 2010. The union says many people are working unpaid overtime and at least a million report that they want to cut their excessive hours. The return of the long hours culture makes people feel pressured to ‘opt-out’ from the 48 hour limit as a condition of employment as currently, individual opt-outs are allowed by law.