Lords opt to investigate UK working time opt-out

A
House of Lords sub-committee has launched an inquiry into the UK’s ‘opt-out’
from the EU Working Time Directive, which gives staff the right to choose to
work longer than 48 hours.

The
chairman of the committee, Lord Williamson of Horton, said he recognised that
employers need flexibility to meet global business challenges, but also
appreciated that workers need protection from exploitation and the right to
choose long hours.

"Many
people also want a better work-life balance," he said. "We need to
re-examine the UK’s opt-out from all these angles.

"On
average, UK workers spend more time at work than those in other EU members
states. Why is that, and who benefits?" he asked.

Williamson
said the committee wants to investigate the implications of two European Court
of Justice judgments which ruled that the time hospital doctors spent asleep
while on-call could be counted as working time.

The
group is asking for interested parties to send in written evidence by 23
February.

The
group’s findings will feed directly into the first phase of the European
Commission’s review of the directive.

www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/leuscommg.cfm

HR
factfile

The
inquiry aims to answer the following questions:


How is the UK’s opt-out working?


How important is it to the UK’s economy?


What about other factors?


What are the consequences of the ECJ rulings about doctor’s on-call?

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