The EU Working Time Directive was put in place to protect employee’s health and safety.
As an employer you need to be aware that excessive working hours are a huge factor in stress related illnesses.
A survey by Harris Interactive showed that out of over 10,000 employees in various countries throughout the world, 58% of Britons were likely to be required to work overtime.
In the UK, employers must remember that they cannot force their employees to work more than an average of 48 hours per week, please note that this average is calculated over a period of 17 weeks. There are of course some notable exceptions to this rule for example, the Armed Forces, police, amongst others.
Employees (over the age of 18) are able to opt-out of the 48 hour week, this must be declared in writing. If they subsequently change their mind they must give their employers sufficient notice (dependant on the terms and conditions of their contract).
You must ensure that your employees are aware of the terms of their employment; effective communication will ensure that you do not leave yourself open to a complaint or worse an employment tribunal.
If you require further information on the EU Working Time Directive or other areas of Employment Law please give us a call, we would be happy to advise you.