Many want to keep UK’s Working Time Directive opt-out


EU proposals to ditch the UK’s opt-out of the Working Time Directive are unpopular with both employers and employees, a new study has revealed.


The study, based on research of 2,150 UK companies and 1,680 British workers, found that 85% of firms who use the opt-out believe its loss would have an impact on their business.


Only a quarter of employees (27%) said they agreed with restrictions on working time.


Ruth Harper, head of public affairs at recruitment firm Manpower, which conducted the study, said: “Employers need a workforce which can meet unexpected surges in demand and it isn’t always possible to predict that peak, so a more flexible workforce keeps businesses competitive.


“Workers also want to work longer hours often because it provides them with the opportunity to earn more money through overtime. The survey demonstrates people should be able to choose to work longer than 48 hours a week.”


According to the report, a third of British companies (33%) have employees who work more than 48 hours per week, and 84% of firms who exercise the opt-out said that its loss would have an impact on their business.


Just 27% of employees wish to see the working week restricted to 48 hours, with 43% wishing to see no restriction at all. Workers also rejected the notion that government should set limits on working time. Less than a third (29%) said that the choice should be theirs, a fifth (22%) said that employers should set limits, and only 5% believed that capping working hours was the responsibility of government.