Friday, 22 September 2006

Overtime ban for Shropshire workers

Shropshire employees will now be banned from choosing how much overtime they want to work, according to a European Union ruling.

John Mehtam, Employment Law Specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, said the guidelines had been issued by the European Court of Justice.

“The Department of Trade and Industry tried to give British employees the freedom to choose their hours of work, while still respecting the EU’s working time directive.

“But this decision means thousands of workers will no longer have the option to work more than 13 hours in a day, or work through all seven days of the week.”

Currently, the employment rules in Britain state that employers must make sure workers can take their rest, but they are not required to make sure they do.

“The court ruling said the British guidelines were incompatible with the European rules, as rest periods were considered essential to protect workers’ health and safety.

“So now, British employers must ensure workers take at least 11 hours of consecutive rest in any 24 hours, and no less than 24 hours’ consecutive rest in any seven days.”

John said several categories of employee were exempt from rules, including most managers and executives, emergency services, and workers in vital public services.

“The ruling means that businesses must ensure the welfare of their staff is paramount, and that they insist their workers stick to the rules – no matter how keen they are to work extra hours.”