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Working Hours: EU Law

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the implications of the European Parliament's vote on the Working Time Directive on 17 December 2008 for his Department's policy on the Directive. (248367)

The UK is one of 14 member states that enables workers to opt-out of the maximum 48-hour working week, should they wish to do so. This flexibility is used by over three million employees in the UK who choose to work longer hours. Loss of this opt-out would therefore cost the UK billions both in costs to industry and lost earnings. As a result, it could also only have a negative impact on overall employment levels.

The Government remain committed to fight for the continuation of this important flexibility and will be calling on the European Council to reject the damaging amendments on the Working Time Common Position adopted by the European Parliament.