Employers should get senior staff to sign Working Time opt-outs to avoid being caught out by the regulations, lawyers warned this week.
Employment law firm Wragge & Co said changes to guidance merely confuse further the question of who the exemptions apply to. It is advising employers to get staff to sign opt-outs rather than try to interpret the law.
Wragge & Co associate and employment specialist Anna Fletcher said, "The fact the DTI changed its mind on such an important issue shows how unclear the underlying regulations are.
"Just because the DTI may have changed its mind on what the regulations mean, tribunals do not have to."
Draft guidance on amendments to the rules had suggested employees could not be exempted from the 48-hour weekly limit if implicitly required to work extra hours.
For example, it said a worker would not be exempted if they worked long hours to avoid losing out on promotion.
But the guidance published last week has dropped any reference to promotion.