Previous Article Next Article EC plans to reform working time directive anger UK employersOn 21 Sep 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. TheEuropean Commission has suggested reforming UK’sopt-out from the Working Time Directive, requiring trade unions, not individualemployees, to decide whether staff could exercise their right to opt out of the48-hour maximum working week. UnderEC proposals, employees in non-unionised companies would have to renew theiropt-out every year, and opt-outs during probationary periods would be banned.The commission also plans to return to the possibility of scrapping the opt-outaltogether in five years’ time.Theplans were condemned by employer groups. TheInstitute of Directors(IoD) said the move was a”back to the 1970s” approach.TheIoD’s head of European andregulatory affairs, James Walsh, said: “We need a more flexible approachto employee-employer relations. Scrapping the working hours opt-out and handingmore powers to the unions takes us in completely the wrong direction.”Some76 per cent of IoD memberssay they would not be able to run their companies as efficiently if the opt-outwere to go. The Government will have our strong support in fighting thesemisguided proposals,” he said.Employmentpartner at law firm Rowe Cohen, NicholaUpperton-Evans, said themove would mean more costs and paperwork for businesses.Europeancommissioners meet this week to look at the issue.TheFederation of Small Businesses branded the proposal “a bureaucraticnightmare” because of a new requirement for employers to ‘police’ thehours put in by anyone who agreed to waive the 48-hour rule.Itis believed that UKattempts to block the changes will be backed by Poland,Maltaand Cyprus. Related posts:No related photos.