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GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE PROTECTION FOR WORKERS

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New measures to protect around 770,000 workers from excessive hours ...
New measures to protect around 770,000 workers from excessive hours

and unreasonable working patterns were introduced by the Department for Trade and Industry today.

The regulations affect employment sectors previously excluded from

the 1998 Working Time Directive:

- non-mobile workers in the road, rail, air and sea transport sectors

- mobile workers in the rail and non-HGV road transport sectors

- offshore oil & gas workers

- phased in for doctors in training

The new regulations, which come into effect on 1 August 2003, entitle

workers to:

- an average 48-hour working week

- four weeks' paid annual holiday

- rest breaks

- health assessments for night workers

- an 8-hour limit on night working

Employment relations minister Gerry Sutcliffe said:

'These minimum standards will protect workers from excessive hours

and unreasonable working patterns. They will be good for productivity

and encourage better work-life balance.

'Other industries have coped well with the Working Time Regulations

and we are confident they can be implemented in these sectors without

affecting employment prospects.'

Notes

1. The European Working Time Directive was implemented in 1998 as

part of the Social Chapter, giving protection to the majority of the

UK workforce. The sectors covered by today's regulations were

excluded because it was felt that these sectors needed extra time to

address their differing working practices.

2. The Working Time Regulations bring into effect the UK's

implementation of the EU Horizontal Amending Directive. The new

Directive, which was agreed on 1 August 2000, extends the Regulations

in full to non- mobile workers. Mobile workers will receive the basic

paid leave entitlement, working time protection and health

assessments for night workers. The government had 3 years to

transpose the Directive.

3. Some workers in the previously excluded sectors are n ot covered by

these regulations. Seafarers, some workers in the road transport and

aviation sectors, seafishermen and mobile workers on the inland

waterways will be being given working time protection by specific

regulations for these sectors.

4. A public consultation on government proposals to amend the Working

Time Regulations to take account of these measures ran from 31

October 2002 to 31 January 2003. The government has now published its

response to the consultation (available at www.dti.gov.uk/er).

5. Mobile workers involved in the road transport sector will also

gain:

- If they are not covered by other working time Directives, they

will be entitled to an average 48-hour working week, four weeks paid

annual holiday, health assessments for night workers and provision

for adequate rest.

- If they are covered by other Directives, they will be entitled to

health assessments if a night worker and 4 weeks paid annual leave.

6. Doctors in training will get the same rights from 1 August 2004

(though the 48 hour week will be phased in over some years).

7. According to the 2002 Labour Force Survey around 1 million workers

in the UK were employed in sectors excluded from the Working Time

Regulations; of these about 770,000 will be affected by the

Horizontal Amending Directive (the others will be covered by sector

specific rules on working time).

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