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Opt out still in

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Opt out still in

The deadlock between the European Parliament and a number of EU member states, including Britain, looks set to remain unresolved for the time being, following a breakdown in talks in Brussels.

A deadline to scrap the opt-out, is unlikely to be imposed in the near future, with EU Parliament expressing concerns that the employees could be working for up to 65 hours a week. Now EU members for whom this is an issue look set to adopt the British opt-out, which allows workers to work more than 48 hours a week.

Businesses in the UK have been pushing for the opt-out to remain in place, on the basis that to adopt new regulations could affect productivity, competitiveness and the ability to trade out of recession. The EU Parliament is considering taking the issue to court over concerns that UK workers could be exploited by some employers, and although the current European Commission is disbanding after this summer, the new regime is not likely to let the issue drop.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has today welcomed the Government’s hard fought victory in the battle to see off European Parliament proposals to remove the individual opt-out from the Working Time Directive. Mike Emmott, Employee Relations Adviser at the CIPD, says: “The British Government and its allies are to be congratulated for seeing off attempts to remove the opt-out from the Working Time Directive.
Employers should review the need for working arrangements that require employers to work consistently long hours, which can have corrosive effects on their health, relationships and performance. “There is a strong business case for having healthy, happy and ultimately more productive and effective employees.  But this doesn’t mean that employees who choose to work long hours should be prevented from doing so. Our research has shown that long-hours workers support the opt-out. We are pleased that this argument has won the day, and the opt-out is no longer under threat.

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