Public sector union Unison has welcomed the European parliament’s
decision to scrap the UK’s right to opt out of the working time
The directive imposes a statutory 48-hour maximum working week
across Europe. The UK opt-out gives staff the choice to work
Unison’s Owen Davies said there was evidence that some social care
employers gave staff no choice but to sign away their rights,
forcing them to work excessive hours.
Workers were left exhausted, affecting the quality of service and
deterring some from entering the sector at all, he said.
The local authority Employers’ Organisation said the ruling would
not have much effect as the opt-out was little used in local
But recruitment agency Select Appointments warned that the care
industry would suffer if the opt-out was removed as many employees
chose to work more than 48 hours.
If ratified by the EU Council of Ministers the opt-out would be
phased out over three years.