Two amendments are proposed:
(1) To disregard working time, for the purpose of the 48-hour week, where a worker is not required to work those hours by the employer. Thus white-collar managers who are contractually obliged to work 45 hours, but choose to work an additional unpaid 10 hours per week, would be regarded as working for 45 hours only and will not need to sign an 'opt-out' agreement. Normal overtime will still count as working time, because it is measured and the duration is determined by the employer. Only unpaid and, effectively, unrequested hours will be disregarded.
(2) The requirement for employers to keep records for opted-out workers, as to how many hours they are working, will be abolished.
The TUC has expressed concern that these amendments will permit unscrupulous employers to get around the intention of the Working Time Directive.
A copy of the consultation paper, which includes the draft S.I. giving effect to the amendments, is attached to this message (Adobe Acrobat 3.0 required).
Responses to the consultation paper are sought by 21st July 1999.
Thanks to Simon Jeffreys from Cameron McKenna for pointing me to this information.