Consultation on the Working Time Directive

The EU Commission has launched the Consultation on the Working Time Directive as they feel the directive is no longer fit for purpose

The EU Commission has launched the consultation on the working time directive as they feel it is no longer fit for purpose. The aim of the consultation is to producing an impact assessment of options for reform. This marks a change in activity given the stalemate over recent years – in essence, there is agreement that the Directive is no longer fit for purpose, but there has been to date no agreement on how to fix it.

Here is a summary of the questions posed by the Commission’s consultation:

  • Should the 48-hour limit apply per worker or per employment contract (where a worker has more than one job).
  • Defining “on-call” time should be left to member states and their employer and trade union representatives or codified in the Directive.
  • “Stand-by” time should be codified as non-working time, or as partial working time, in the Directive. Together with new limits on stand-by time.
  • Compensatory rest should be granted immediately or within 2/4 days.
  • The 48-hour reference period should be extended (up to 12 months for all sectors).
  • The opt-out should be abolished and/or stricter conditions introduced.
  • The autonomous worker exemption should be clarified or narrowed or widened.
  • Specific questions are also asked about the emergency services and health sector.
  • Questions are also asked about new working patterns including zero-hour contracts, flexitime and home-working.
The consultation closes in March next year and the impact assessment is expected during 2015.
Consultation on the Working Time Directive

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