Countdown to culture change: the slow death of the opt-out

12 November 2002
Employers in the UK are likely to be forced to restrict staff to working a 48-hour week following a review of the Working Time Directive (WTD). UK opt-out expected to end in 2003.

26 November 2002
Employment relations minister Alan Johnson tells Personnel Today that the UK must put up a fight to ensure the retention of the opt-out clause in the WTD.

21 January 2003
UK employers overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the UK’s opt-out from the WTD, according to exclusive research published in Personnel Today. Employment Lawyers Association for the European Commission. Almost 80% of the 750 employers questioned want to keep the clause, believing efficiency would suffer and wage bills would increase it if is removed.

16 September 2003
Employers and unions on a collision course over the WTD, with the CBI claiming it will shatter UK competitiveness and the TUC saying it will cut employee stress levels.

13 January 2004
Employers slammed an EC study on alleged abuse of the WTD, which calls the UK a “nightmare” to work in: 16% of staff work more than 48 hours.

20 January 2004
If the opt-out is removed, HR will be forced to work harder to ensure flexibility in the workplace, but will also be able to showcase its vital role.

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