Read more to have a say on working time

first_imgRead more to have a say on working timeOn 19 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Almost 70 per cent of readers responding to our latest Barometer poll thinktheir labour costs will increase if the 48-hour opt-out is removed from theWorking Time Directive (WTD). It’s a resounding vote for keeping the opt-out and maintaining the statusquo. But now it’s time to take this crucial issue to the European Commission(EC). The EC has asked the Employment Lawyers Association to conduct research inthe UK to find out how removing the opt-out would affect business. The resultswill be fed into the EC’s review of the WTD, with recommendations being madewithin 12 months. So, next week, Personnel Today is joining forces with the Employment LawyersAssociation to run research in both this magazine and on personneltoday.com togauge widespread HR opinion. The results will be published in the New Year andsent immediately to Fernando Pereira, the commissioner responsible in Brussels,to inform his decision. Word on the grapevine is that Pereira is leaning towards removal of theopt-out and it’s a tough call. The UK is the only country not limited torestricting staff to working a 48-hour week and there are lots of validarguments for and against us continuing to be an exception. On the one hand, too many employees are working ridiculous hours causinghigh rates of stress and family breakdown. Nearly four million – mostly men –work more than 48 hours and 1.25 million work more than 55 hours a week. Ourlong-hours culture has not helped productivity and we remain one of the weakestnations. The counter argument by business is that the UK workforce thrives on theflexibility of a longer working week and huge chunks of industry could notexist without it. The transport, hospitality, healthcare and manufacturingsectors all fear crippling costs, loss of competitiveness and jobs at risk ifthe opt-out is removed. And whether you like it or not, we cannot ignore thefact that the UK has become a 24-hour society in everything we do, includingemployment. The future of the working week is under scrutiny and this is a rareopportunity for HR to connect with the Eurocrats and tell it as it is. That’swhy it is important you take 10 minutes next week to complete the questionnairein the magazine or on our website. For your troubles, your details will beentered into a draw for an overseas weekend break for two to Brussels – thatcan’t be a bad quid pro quo can it? Jane King is editor of Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more