Employers fear high cost of losing 48-hour opt-out

Employers are worried that labour costs could rise significantly if the
European Commission removes the UK’s right to opt out of the Working Time
Directive (WTD), according to last week’s Personnel Today News Barometer.

The online poll of more from 100 HR professionals shows that seven out of 10
believe losing the opt-out from the WTD’s 48-hour week would increase staffing

Mark O’Connell, HR director at financial services company Skandia, said:
"The major problem for companies will be in reducing staff hours without
damaging industrial relations. It will be a major problem for companies
operating shift systems."

However, head of employee relations at the CIPD Mike Emmott, believes
getting rid of the opt-out is a positive step. He said the Working Time
Directive is an HR measure that will help to remove the long-hours work culture
in the UK.

"HR’s reaction in this survey is defensive footwork," he said,
"because managers would like to have the opt-out as a belt and braces
measure. Its removal won’t have a major impact."

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