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Working Time Directive - Expert Comments

David Reid
20th Feb 2009

The Commission’s Opinion is good news for employers who currently require to make use of the 48 hour week opt-out. The Commission said that “while being in principle supportive of the eventual phasing out of the opt-out, the Commission does not consider that the present conditions allow for the phasing-out of the opt-out”. The Commission also considered various other proposals of the European Parliament to amend the Directive.

 

The European Commission has given an Opinion rejecting the European Parliament’s proposal to remove the 48 hour working week opt-out currently contained within the Working Time Directive.

 

It was widely reported in the Press in December 2008 that the European Parliament voted to remove the 48 hour week opt-out from the Working Time Directive. At the time, some Members of the European Parliament hailed the vote as a ‘triumph’. However, for businesses currently dealing with economic downturn it may have been considered anything but a ‘triumph’.

 

If the Parliament’s proposal had been accepted, the opt-out would have been gone by 2011.

 

The Commission’s Opinion is good news for employers who currently require to make use of the 48 hour week opt-out.

 

The Commission said that “while being in principle supportive of the eventual phasing out of the opt-out, the Commission does not consider that the present conditions allow for the phasing-out of the opt-out”.

 

The Commission also considered various other proposals of the European Parliament to amend the Directive.

 

The European Parliament and the Council will now try to reach agreement on a final version of the text of the Working Time Directive. When this has been done, we intend to produce a further update on how the Working Time Directive, as amended, impacts on your business, and what steps you can take to ensure that your policies, practices and procedures are legally compliant, while giving you as much flexibility and commercial advantage as possible.

 

If you would like to read the Commission’s Opinion, you can access it by clicking here.

 

You can then access the English version of the Opinion which is contained within a pdf document.

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