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Fire Services: Working Hours

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment has been made of the effect of implementation of the European Working Time Directive on (a) full-time and (b) retained fire-fighters. (307088)

In accordance with usual procedure, impact assessments were prepared on the Working Time Regulations 1998 and their extension in 2003 to previously excluded sectors. The Government are well aware of the value of working time flexibility for the labour market in general and firefighting services in particular. The individual right to opt-out from the maximum 48 hour week is important not only for firefighters working the retained duty system (RDS), many of whom work full time for their primary employer, but also for whole-time firefighters who work the flexible duty system or provide RDS cover. This was one of the reasons the Government fought for and secured the maintenance of the opt-out throughout recent negotiations on the revision of the Working Time Directive.