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first_imgByers delivers eagerly awaited red tape reliefOn 11 Jan 2000 in Personnel Today Working time special • European law counters UK drive for looser workingtime lawThe Government has delivered its promise to employers to lighten the burdenof the Working Time directive by cutting red tape and allowing more people towork over the 48-hour limit.The amendments, first revealed by Personnel Today last April, came into effecton 17 December.As a result, employers no longer have to log hours worked by staff who haveopted out of the 48-hour week. Employees who have some autonomy over theirhours will be able to work over 48 hours as long as the extra hours are”voluntary”.The CBI said employers are relieved that the changes have come into effect.”We have had a steady flow of phone calls and faxes from people saying‘This is great, it is exactly what we needed. Now we can operate lawfullywithout wrapping ourselves up in red tape’,” said John Cridland, HR policydirector.But some employers are unhappy that guidance needed to help them implementthe law is still not published.It will not be available until the end of January and is intended to helpclarify the grey areas of the law that remain (see below).”Most employers are going to be waiting for guidance before making anyadjustments to existing policy in response to the amendments,” said SteveWykes, HR director at Racal Industrial Electronics Group.Cridland said employers should not expect the guidance to clear upeverything.”The examples in the draft guidance are helpful but they are onlyillustrative. The key word is ‘voluntary’. You can have as many examples as youwant but what really matters is whether the work is genuinely voluntary.”The TUC is dismayed that the amendments are now law. “We already workthe longest hours in Europe and these changes will ensure that the long-hoursculture continues,” said a spokeswoman.By Dominique Hammond It is unclear who counts as an “autonomous worker” and how”voluntary” overtime is defined.When the law came into effect on 1 October 1998 people with the autonomy toset their own hours were deemed exempt from the law. It was not clear, however,whether this applied solely to top managers or to other lower-ranking managers.When the amendments were announced, a new category of people with”partial autonomy” over their hours was introduced. They would becovered by holiday and rest break entitlements but could work over the 48-hourlimit as long as the overtime was “voluntary”. Previous Article Next Articlecenter_img Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more