Working Time Directive

Working Time Directive

The Working Time Directive of the European Union (Council Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organization of working time, Official Journal L 307, 13/12/1993 pages 0018–0024; amended by Directive 2000/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 2000) is a collection of regulations concerning hours of work, designed to protect the health and safety of workers. Key features are the limiting of the maximum length of a working week to 48 hours in 7 days, and a minimum rest period of 11 hours in each 24 hours.

Like all European Union directives, this is an instrument which requires member states to enact its provisions in national legislation. Although the directive applies to all member states, in the United Kingdom it is possible to "opt out" of the 48 hour working week in order to work longer hours. In contrast, France has passed more strict legislation, limiting the maximum working week to 35 hours, although the new French president Nicholas Sarkozy has promised to abolish this legislation.

Case law affecting the Directive

The Working Time Directive has also been clarified and interpreted through a number of rulings in the European Court of Justice. The most notable of these have been the "SIMAP" and "Jaeger" judgements ("Sindicato de Médicos de Asistencia Pública v. Conselleria de Sanidad y Consumo de la Generalidad Valenciana", 2000 and "Landeshaupstadt Kiel v Norbert Jaeger", 2003). The SIMAP judgement defined all time when the worker was required to be present on site as actual working hours, for the purposes of work and rest calculations. The Jaeger judgement confirmed that this was the case even if the worker was allowed to sleep when their services were not required.

These judgements have had a profound effect upon workers who have traditionally been required to be resident on site when on call, particularly junior doctors [ [ Sunday Telegraph (2006-11-12): Junior doctors walk out from ops] ] and care home workers. Many of these employees are now required to work rotating shifts instead of on call.

See also

*Labour and employment law


External links

;Documents from the European Council, Commission, and Parliament
* [!celexapi!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=en&numdoc=31993L0104&model=guichett EUR-Lex: Council Directive 93/104/EC] of 23 November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organization of working time; [ full text of the directive 93/104/EC] , with sections
* [!celexapi!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=en&numdoc=32000L0034&model=guichett EUR-Lex: Directive 2000/34/EC] of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 2000 amending Council Directive 93/104/EC concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time to cover sectors and activities excluded from that Directive
* [!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=en&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2000&nu_doc=787 Report from the Commission] - State of implementation of Council Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time ("Working Time Directive") (2000)
* [ European Commission proposals] for revision of Working Time Directive (2004-09-22)

;Judgments from the European Court of Justice
* [!celexplus!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=en&numdoc=61994J0084 Judgment of the Court of 12 November 1996. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v Council of the European Union. Council Directive 93/104/EC concerning certain aspects of the organization of working time - Action for annulment. Case C-84/94.]
* [!celexplus!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=en&numdoc=61998J0303 SiMAP judgement: Sindicato de Médicos de Asistencia Pública v. Conselleria de Sanidad y Consumo de la Generalidad Valenciana, 2000]
* [ Jaeger judgement: Landeshaupstadt Kiel v Norbert Jaeger, 2003]

;Non-governmental organization documents
* [ ETUC: Working Time Directive]
* [ EUbusiness: EU working time directive]
* European Public Health Alliance: [ "Impact on health workforce of the working time directive"]

;With regard to the United Kingdom
* [ Department of Trade and Industry: Working Time Regulations]
* [ Health & Safety Executive: The Working Time Regulations]
* [ Department of Health: European Working Time Directive]
* [,,5022999-108725,00.html Guardian (2006-11-06): Q&A: the working time directive]
* [ BBC News (2002-04-29): Q&A: Working time directive]
* [ NWP and the Working Time Directive 2009] . In 2009 the maximum hours that junior medical staff in the NHS work will be reduced from 58 to 48 under European law. This is a major challenge for the health service and will require new ways of working to be adopted. NHS National Workforce Projects has been appointed as the lead organisation to help support the NHS in finding and implementing solutions to WTD 2009. We are working with a wide group of stakeholders and piloting solutions that look at new ways of working and communicating best practice in the build up to 2009.

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