The Institute of Directors (IoD) has urged all the political parties to vote to maintain the UK’s opt-out of the EU Working Time Directive, which allows UK companies to ask staff to work more than 48 hours a week.
The European Parliament’s employment and industry committees are scheduled to vote on the issue during their meetings on 19 and 20 April.
The IoD claims the wholesale abolition of the opt-out would do significant damage to British business, with 40% of UK firms presently making use of the provision.
Miles Templeman, director general of the IoD, said the government’s consistent support for the opt-out had been widely appreciated across the business community.
“The difficulty is that some British MEPs have taken a very different approach, voting against the government’s line and in favour of scrapping the opt-out,” he said.
Recently the parliamentary body which advises the government on employment policy recommended the removal of the opt-out to the Working Time Directive.
The trade and industry select committee said it was not convinced by the arguments for retaining the opt-out from the Working Time Directive, which has enough flexibility to accommodate the needs of business.