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The Working Time Directive Review

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Title: The Working Time Directive Review


1
The Working Time Directive Review
  • Paul Sellers
  • TUC Policy Officer
  • psellers_at_tuc.org.uk www.tuc.org.uk

2
TUC working time goals
  • To improve the balance between work and life
  • To give workers more choice over their hours and
    patterns of work
  • To end excessive working time

3
Many workers want fewer hours
  • The Governments Labour Force Survey reports
    that
  • - 9.6 million employees want fewer hours
  • - of which, 2.3 million want fewer hours even if
    this means less pay
  • - plus a further 3.5 million of which want fewer
    hours just by cutting their unpaid overtime
  • Source ONS LFS Microdata service summer 2005

4
Problems with long hours
  • Health and safety put at risk
  • Low productivity
  • Family life under pressure
  • Many women are discouraged from entering long
    hours occupations

5
Long hours and health and safety
  • Working more than 48 hours per week increases the
    risk of contracting heart disease, stress-related
    illness, depression, diabetes mellitus, serious
    headaches and bowel problems
  • In some cases, such as driving, long hours also
    increases the risk of having an accident.
  • Exposure safety limits for noise, dangerous
    substances and Repetitive Strain Injury all
    assume a 40 hour working week. (see also Slaying
    the Myths http//www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-9971-f
    0.cfm)

6
Long hours and stress
  • ''Regularly working in excess of 48 hours per
    week appears to constitute a significant
    occupational stressor which reduces job
    satisfaction, increases the effects of other
    stressors and significantly increases the risk of
    mental health problems.
  • - 'Working time Its impact on safety and
    health', Anne Spurgeon, International Labour
    Organisation, 2003, p11
  • 'Working long hours does seem to be associated
    with stress and poorer psychological health
    outcomes
  • - 'Working Long Hours', Health and Safety
    Laboratory, HSE, 2002, p.19

7
Working Time Regs 1998
  • 48 hours average week (UK individual opt-outs)
  • 8 hour night/ 48 hour weekly limit on night work
  • Free health checks for night workers
  • Weekly rest 1 day
  • Daily rest 11 hours
  • In-work break of 20 minutes if day more than 6
    hours long
  • 4 weeks paid annual leave
  • (see -http//www.dti.gov.uk/er/work_time_regs/inde
    x.htm)

8
Enforcement
  • Limits 48 hours week, nightwork
  • -HSE - factories, building sites, mines, farms,
    fairgrounds, quarries, chemical plants, nuclear
    installations, offshore installations (but see
    below!), railways, schools, hospitals, mobile
    workers in road transport other than HGV/PSV,
    employed taxi drivers and couriers. -Local
    authorities - shops and retailing, offices,
    hotels and catering, sports, leisure and consumer
    services.
  • Entitlements weekly, daily and in-work rest
    breaks, free health checks for night workers
  • - worker must take case to employment tribunal

9
Different working time rules
  • 16 and 17 year old workers
  • 40 hour maximum week
  • 2 days rest per week
  • Prohibition on nightwork but with partial and
    total exemptions for certain occupations
  • Mobile transport workers
  • Seafarers directive implemented by MCA 2002
  • Inland waterway workers WTD, but implemented by
    MCA 2003 (with no opt-out!)
  • Aircraft pilots and cabin crew Aviation Working
    Time Directive implemented by CAA 2003
  • HGV and PSV drivers Road Transport (Working
    Time) Directive implemented VOSA 2005

10
The opt-out from the Working Time Directive
48-hour week
  • Individuals can opt out of the 48 hour average
    weekly limit
  • It can not be right that individuals can choose
    whether to obey health and safety law
  • However, in practice few get a free choice. The
    law is widely abused.
  • A Government study suggests that 600,000 long
    hours workers were put under pressure to sign the
    opt-out.
  • BRMB Social Research, 'A survey of workers'
    experiences of the Working Time Regulations', DTI
    Employment Relations Research Series No.31,
    November 2004

11
EU-15 countries per cent long hours workers
(Source Eurostat LFS 2003)
12
The UK Government position is mixed
  • Patricia Hewitt made a formal commitment to
    make serious inroads into the long hours
    culture within 5 years (speech Feb 2002)
  • They have been willing to legislate to extend
    maternity leave and to introduce new working time
    rights
  • They have made some effort to spread best
    practice in working time
  • But - they argue strongly for the continuation of
    the opt-out from the 48 hour week
  • and more to come the Warwick Commitments
    -including public holidays to be additional to 4
    weeks leave

13
Full-time workers hours falling
14
UK Working long hours slow progress, but some
progress
15
UK unpaid overtime may have peaked
16
The Working Time Directive 2003/88/EC review -
procedure
  • Working time directive had to be reviewed in
    2003
  • - 7 years after it took effect
  • The review is conducted under Co-decision
    Procedure
  • 1 European Commission proposes text
  • 2 European Parliament (simple majority) and
    Council of Ministers (qualified majority) agree
    separately on amendments to the texts
  • 3 EP and CoM discuss each others amendments
  • 4 2 readings each. if no agreement, proposals
    then go to conciliation
  • See also http//www.europa.eu.int/scadplus/gloss
    ary/codecision_procedure_en.htm

17
The WTD review 2003 the story so far
  • European Commission published revisions (Sept
    2004)
  • European Parliament agreed amended text (11 May
    2005)
  • Council of Ministers failed to reach QMV
    agreement on amendments. Split - 7 wanted more
    liberalisation/10 agreed with the EC proposals/ 7
    wanted more social protection/ 1 abstention
  • As Council of Ministers failed to agree, European
    Commission withdrew original text and issued new
    version (30 May 2005)
  • Informal meeting of Council of Ministers could
    not agree on new text (2 June 2005)
  • Text currently with COREPER (Council of Perm
    Reps)
  • Review is blocked at the moment.. but may still
    conclude in 2006/7 and take effect at some point
    between 2009-2013.

18
The European Commissions revised text
  • Averaging period for 48 hour week up from 17
    weeks to 52 weeks
  • But employers have duty to ensure health and
    safety are protected
  • Inactive part of on-call time spent on
    employers premised can count as a fraction of
    normal working time but not as a rest break
  • Opt-out from 48 hour hour week would be phased
    out by 2012
  • But those already using the opt-out could apply
    to the EC for an extension for reasons relating
    to their labour market conditions
  • But opt out would be under tighter conditions of
    use max 55 hrs in any week renewable every
    year, not signed before commencement or during
    probation period employers keep records of hours
    worked
  • Workers would have the right to notice of their
    working patterns, and the right to request
    flexible working.
  • Note - dossiers for all EU legislative proposals
    are at http//europa.eu.int/prelex

19
View of the European Parliament
  • ETUC and TUC General Council both back the
    Parliament's proposals as best deal on offer
  • Ref period for 48 hour week increased to 52 weeks
    but where there are no TU agreements employers
    would have to inform and consult their workers
    and take measures to ensure that HS is protected
  • Inactive part of on-call time at the employers
    premises may be counted as a fraction of normal
    working time
  • Opt-outs should end 3 years after EC review
    concludes
  • Workers should have the right to 4 weeks notice
    of their working patterns, and a right to request
    flexible working.
  • Autonomous workers exemption to be tightened

20
View of the Social Affairs Council
  • Averaging period for 48 hour week to be extended
    from 17 weeks to 52 weeks - no restrictions
  • Inactive part of on call time should not count
  • Council of Ministers divided on the opt out
  • -but have not fully discussed ECs new proposals
  • -and possible that 3-way split could reduce to 2
    opposing positions countries defending the
    opt-out as necessary for economic growth vs those
    that considered a 12 month reference period as
    offering enough flexibility to allow the opt-out
    to be phased out.

21
Latest news
  • Social Affairs Council working party discussed
    WTD in Sept 2005
  • -UK reps sought clarification on on-call work
    proposals and the interaction with rest breaks
  • -UK plus 7 others want to strike out article 2b,
    which concerns reconciliation of work and family
    life EC unlikely to agree
  • In October the EU employers org UNICE finalised
    its position in favour of both individual and
    collective bargaining opt outs 12 month ref
    period, extendable to 24 months by CB, on call
    work should not count.
  • October meeting of ETUC agreed to urge EP to hold
    its line.
  • UK Govt still committed to try to gain agreement
    at the Dec 2005 Social Affairs Council meeting
    (T.B. speech 26 Oct 2005).

22
The WTD Review prospects for breaking the logjam
  • There is still some pressure on Governments to
    conclude the review because of the on-call issue
    hence UK Govts enthusiasm for issue
  • but this is weakening a bit as the review drags
    and more countries use the opt-out in a limited
    way to avoid the on-call judgments (7 member
    states to date, 9 more are considering it)
  • EU presidencies matter UK followed by sceptical
    Austria, then better prospects under more
    friendly Finland (July 2006)

23
TUC campaign against long hours
  • Campaign to change the law
  • end the opt-out
  • extend the right to request different working
    patterns
  • Campaign against unpaid overtime
  • - Feb 24 2006 3rd TUC Work Your Proper Hours Day
  • Argue the business case against long hours
  • Campaign for better enforcement
  • Encourage collective bargaining to deal with long
    hours
  • Review Road Transport Working time Directive
    (spring 2006)

24
campaigning with the current law
  • Risk assessments and stress audits
  • The 48 hour week challenging the opt-out
  • Nightwork limits no opt-out!
  • On-call work on the employers premises
  • Rest breaks very low awareness
  • Annual leave est. 1 million underpaid
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