TUC invites workers to ditch 48-hour opt-out

The
TUC has launched a campaign to help workers ‘opt back in’ to a 48-hour working
week.

The
TUC claims that one-in-four people are forced to sign the opt-out, which allows
them to work more than 48-hours a week.

Time’s
up for Long Hours, a ‘how to’ guide to opting back in to a 48-hour working
week, is available at www.workSMART.org.uk
and includes a model letter individuals can use to inform employers that they
no longer want to work more than 48 hours a week.

Writing
a letter is all an employee needs to do to opt back in and it is illegal for an
employer to take action against them or sack an employee because they have made
this choice.

But,
the TUC says, employees do not know their rights – only one-in-three even knows
there is a 48-hour limit on the average working week.

TUC
general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The UK’s long-hours culture is a
threat to the health and safety of employees and a threat to the health and
growth of the UK economy. Employees are tired and stressed. Business is
unproductive.

"The
European Commission should end the opt-out to the EU Working Time Directive
when is reviewed later this year.

"Unions
always feared that employers would abuse the opt-out and this is exactly what
has happened. In the meantime, the TUC will continue to ensure that employees
are properly informed of their right to a reasonable working week."

By Quentin Reade

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