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Working Time Directive

Volume 713: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likelihood of imminent agreement on reform of the European Union working time directive and a phased removal of the opt-out provision applicable across the United Kingdom. [HL5671]

Negotiations on revisions to the working time directive collapsed after conciliation failed on 27 April this year. This meant that we were successful in retaining the opt-out as the proposal to amend the directive was withdrawn and with it any suggestion of phasing it out.

It is now for the Commission to decide how they wish to proceed. Several member states are keen to see a solution to specific problems caused by ECJ judgments on the treatment of on-call time and compensatory rest, and we would be happy to engage on negotiations on these issues. But 15 member states use the opt-out and we will strongly oppose any future proposal that draws into question the freedom of member states and individuals to use the opt-out. We have made this very clear to the Commission and other member states.