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EU Working Time Directive


I am often asked the question, can you explain the working time rules? These regulations were designed to govern shift working. They include clauses on: Fatigue: causes and effects Night working limits 48 hour working week Breaks on shifts Daily rest break problems Annual holiday problems Holiday pay problems Young workers Possible derogations
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Budgeting is about knowing how much the operation will cost and then sticking to it. We can tell you how many people you will need, what overtime hours will be required and how to manage your resources throughout the year effectively.



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working arrangements. You can find more information at

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If you would like to discuss your operation, please call me.
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History of the Working Time Directive
The history of The European Community Working Time Directive, The Working Time Regulations 1998 with later amendments The limits and entitlements and their effect on an organisation of The Working Time Regulations, often abbreviated to WTD or EU WTD, were originally laid out as part of the 1957 Treaty of Rome establishing the European Community. Article 118 Without prejudice to the other provisions of this Treaty and in conformity with its general objectives, it shall be the aim of the Commission to promote close collaboration between Member States in the social field, particularly in matters relating to -  employment, -  labour legislation and working conditions, -  occupational and continuation training, -  social security, -  protection against occupational accidents and diseases, -  industrial hygiene, -  the law as to trade unions, and collective bargaining between employers and workers. For this purpose, the Commission shall act in close contact with Member States by means of studies, the issuing of opinions, and the organising of consultations both on problems arising at the national level and on those of concern to international organisations. Before issuing the opinions provided for under this Article, the Commission shall consult the Economic and Social Committee.
You might regard these rules as being written in stone.
 This was expanded upon in the Single European Act of 1986 Article 118a.  1. Member States shall pay particular attention to encouraging improvements, especially in the working environment, as regards the health and safety of workers, and shall set as their objective the harmonisation of conditions in this area, while maintaining the improvements made. 2. In order to help achieve the objective laid down in the first paragraph, the Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 189c and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, shall adopt, by means of directives, minimum requirements for gradual implementation, having regard to the conditions and technical rules obtaining in each of the Member States. Such directives shall avoid imposing administrative, financial and legal constraints in a way which would hold back the creation and development of small and medium-sized undertakings. 3. The provisions adopted pursuant to this Article shall not prevent any Member State from maintaining or introducing more stringent measures for the protection of working conditions compatible with this Treaty.  
rosetta sone at the British Museum translating between different languages The laws were then translated into several languages.
Then came Council Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993 This is the Directive that became the UK, and other European nations, Working Time Regulations of 1998. This starts with: The Council of the European Union, Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 118a thereof, Having regard to the proposal from the Commission, In cooperation with the European Parliament, Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee, Whereas Article 118a of the Treaty provides that the Council shall adopt, by means of directives, minimum requirements for encouraging improvements, especially in the working environment, to ensure a better level of protection of the safety and health of workers; Whereas, under the terms of that Article, those directives are to avoid imposing administrative, financial and legal constraints in a way which would hold back the creation and development of small and medium-sized undertakings. This directive draws from the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers, European Council, Strasbourg 9th December 1989 between Heads of State or of Governments of the 11 Member States. It constrains the type of contracts between an employer and employee, imposes harmonious weekly rest periods and annual paid leave. Health and safety in the working environment. The health and safety derived from granting minimum daily, weekly and annual periods of rest and adequate breaks with a maximum limit on weekly working hours. Special constraints on night work with a free health assessment are also stated. This directive sets out: Article 3; a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours; Article 4; a rest break after 6 hours work; Article 5; a weekly 24 hour rest period + 11 hours daily rest: Article 6; maximum weekly working time: Article 7; annulal leave of at least 4 weeks Article 8; night working: Article 9; health assessment: Each country could then set their rules.
picture made up of bricks
As each brick of the Working Time Directive falls into place the overall picture will come into view. It produced a fearsome beast that very few people could understand, never mind apply. In fact, most people misinterpret sections of the Act (for the UK it is a ‘Statutory Instrument’ and even fewer know what that means.)
Council Directive 94/33/EC of 22 June 1994 This was issued to protect young people at work. In essence it imposes more constraints on the hours they can work.
 UK Legislation  The Working Time Regulations 1998  Statutory Instrument 1998 No.1833 The Working Time Regulations of 1998 took on all the constraints of the 1993 and 1994 Directives. Whilst the directives included provision to exempt small and medium-sized undertakings, it only exempted the self-employed and senior managers that had some control on their working time. Some wholesale categories of employees were also exempt, such as anyone that works at sea, the armed forces, etc and these are detailed in various sections in the 1998 Act. It is also possible to have derogations on some of the limits and entitlements The 1998 Act contains the following constraints: Maximum limit of an average 48 hour working week. This can often be difficult to calculate accurately, especially when it is suspected that it will be close to this limit. T&A systems cannot do this at all well, instead we create a special spreadsheet file for our clients. Length of night work is an average of 8 hours per 24 hour period. Subject to the type of work, it usually works out to be a maximum of an average of 48 hours work per week. There are several types of work that cause the limit to be 8 hours in a 24 hour period. Night workers have the right to a free health assessment. Type of work must be agreed. Records of compliance must be kept for at least two years Minimum 11 hours rest between shifts. This can require a little care when there is a tendency to vary the start and finish times of shifts. Minimum weekly rest entitlement is 24 hours + 11 hours daily rest each week or two 24 hour rest periods in two weeks or one 48 hour rest period in two weeks. A 20 minute rest break after 6 hours of work and is entitled to spend it away from the workstation. Minimum Annual leave of 5.6 weeks Payment for annual leave is controlled by the Employment Rights Act 1996 sections 221 to 224. For an organisation granting the minimum holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks, this is a very diffficult calculation to make, if not impossible.
Problems Associated With Complying With The Working Time Regulations  In our experience, these are: The complications of the means to calculate an 'average working week'. If you are using the 17-week average, this 17-week needs to be extended by any holidays, absences or maternity leave. This actually results in each 17-week period overlapping in an individual's case with the next 17-week period. Thus a person taking 2 weeks of holiday results in the average being taken over 19 weeks, and a person taking 3 weeks holiday and an absence of one week causing the reference period to be 21 weeks. However each reference period starts at 17-week intervals irrespective of these changes. Should you use a rolling 17-week period, then holidays and absence extend this by the same amount. As you may gather, these periods require an iterative solution. For instance, in the latter instance above, the extended period includes an extra 4 weeks of time and it is easily possible for a employee to have some more holiday or absences in that time, thereby extending the reference period by that amount. Our solutions set up this iterative solution so you don't need to worry, it just happens. The actual complications of using a 'rolling 17- week period' require even more advanced mathematics to produce a solution. This is because the aim of the calculation is that you do not exceed the limit, and if the calculation is 'backwards' then we need to have 'predictive' calculations in place to prevent it happening before it is too late. This is because, by the time the calculation happens, it is too late to change the past. Having a fixed 17-week period will always have some part of it containing the planned shift pattern in the future and this can be changed far more easily. Our computer models are unique in being able to do both. Complying with the 11hr daily rest period. Derogations often exist to alter this, such as 'fast-turnrounds' on 8hr shift patterns. Providing rest breaks on shifts when the work is unpredictable or continuous attendance is required at the workplace Night work in some occupations are limited to 8hrs. This causes problems if everyone else in the organisation is working 12hr shifts The weekly rest breaks when overtime is regularly worked.     More information about our consultancy All the shift patterns we set up comply with the WTD limits and entitlements. We give advice on possible derogations where both the employer and the employees can gain a perceived benefit and where it is not detrimental to the operation of the organisation. We provide the software to run the operation by setting up computer models specifically designed to the Terms of Employment, the Contractual obligations between the employer and employees, and most importantly in alignment with the workload. The computer models guarantee adherence with the WTD regulations including any derogations. (A derogation is where a limit is changed by an agreement between the employer and employee, such as agreeing to work more than 48 hours a week on average, or where the average is taken over a year, or where the daily rest period can be less than 11 continuous hours.) We advise upon when this is possible and also whether it should be done. Most organisations use some form of 'Time & Attendance' software to monitor, among other essential tasks, the hours worked by the employee. We have worked with hundreds of organisations, but never found one that has a T&A system that calculates the average hours worked per week in accordance with the regulations given in the legislation. For most organisations, this is not an important issue as the employees do not work anywhere near 48 hours on average a week. Irrespective of that failure, what is important is that the software, from whatever source. can predict if this limit will be exceeded and then allow the working hours to be amended in the future so that it does not happen. I believe we are unique in providing this software in our computer models. The models are created in the Excel spreadsheets, so they are immediately understandable to everyone.
wages book and day book
A long, long, time ago, a business could manage with just a few books.
a living maze for small animals
The regulations can seem like a maze.

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