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East Midlands Chamber News

Working time opt-out success welcomed

The WTD prevents employees working from more than 48 hours a week, but the UK was granted an opt-out in 1993 allowing workers to decide whether they worked in excess of these hours.In recent months, the European Parliament has pressured the UK to surrender its opt-out - a move that business groups believe would damage the economy. However, last week the Government succeeded in blocking the removal of the opt-out for the time being.Nick Goulding, chief executive at the Forum of Private Business, said: "The Government has delivered on its promise to protect the opt-out, but this is only the first test."We must be steadfast on this issue, which is crucial to our ability to remain competitive and create jobs."Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, agreed that securing the opt-out was a welcome development."While we don't discount the problems long hours can create, we believe removal of the opt-out would have been the wrong way to address the issue. The small minority of cases of employer abuse should be tackled through better enforcement and raising awareness of existing regulations." (c) Business Hotline Publications Ltd 2005