Thursday, June 7, 2007

Working Time Directive

The working time directive is an EU initiative to safeguard the amount of hours worked. It wasn't adopted in the UK until 1998. It was introduced by EU in 1993.

Basically the WTD includes rights such as:

· A maximum working week of 48 hours
· A rest period of 11 consecutive hours a day
· A rest break when the day is longer than six hours
· A minimum of one rest day per week
· The statutory right to four weeks' holiday
In addition:
· Night working must not average out at more than eight hours at a stretch
· Workers will be entitled to a free health check-up before being employed on night work and at regular intervals thereafter

Possible Essay questions on the Working Time Directive:

Discuss the potential costs and benefits of abolishing Working time directive.

Benefits of Working Time Directive.

  1. Good for workers.
  2. Could increase productivity, if workers are tired their productivity falls.
  3. Increases motivation. Some workers feel exploited if they are forced to work long hours.
  4. Good for safety of workers, especially in industries like driving.
  5. gives protection to workers working for monopsonies or have no trade union to represent
  6. Could increase employment. Firm needs 2 workers, rather than 1 worker doing 70 hours.
Disadvantages of Working Time Directive

  1. Some workers may wish to work longer hours. Prevents workers gaining overtime, an important source of income for some workers.
  2. Some jobs have variable hours, therefore at critical times it is important to be able to work longer hours if necessary. Some jobs are very seasonal like strawberry pickers.
  3. Discourage investment. Firms may see the working time directive as an unnecessary burden and indication of lack of flexibility. This may discourage firms from starting up. UK may attract more inward investment if it got rid of working time directive

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