European law to restrict staff hours

13 November 2003 by
European law to restrict staff hours

Staff shortages in the hospitality industry could become significantly worse if the European Commission gets its way by imposing a weekly 48-hour working limit, according to the British Hospitality Association.

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said the "writing is on the wall" for the disposal of the current opt-out clause from the Working Time Directive.

"There are well over 100,000 workers in this country that opt out of the 48-hour working week, mostly in the restaurant trade. Generally people are happy to work these hours," he said.

He added that the burden of finding more staff to work fewer hours would compound existing recruitment problems.

The European Commission is expected to launch an attack on Britain in a report due to be published next week. It is expected to claim British employers are abusing the opt-out clause.

The UK Government is assessing ways to prevent abuse of the opt-out clause. This could include a system whereby it would be compulsory for employers to regularly ask staff if they want to continue working more than 48-hours a week.

It is also looking at ways to prevent employers dismissing prospective employees for refusing to sign the opt-out clause.

Measures such as these will mean even more bureaucracy for employers and, said Couchman, are likely to be ignored.

by Christina Golding

Buy this week's Caterer for more industry news and analysis.

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking