48 Hour Working Time Directive Waiver
This Working Time Directive Waiver should be used where workers agree to work longer than the 48-hour limit. It can be for a specified period e.g. when the employer is particularly busy, or for an indefinite period.
The Working Time Directive as set out in the 1998 Regulations prevents workers from being forced to work for more than 48 hours a week on average. This average weekly working time is normally calculated over 17 weeks.
The Waiver is not available in respect of the ‘Young Workers’ limits on working hours. Young workers (i.e. those who are above compulsory school age but are not yet 18) may not ordinarily work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week (although there are certain permitted exceptions).
Workers can cancel the Waiver whenever they want, although they must give their employer at least seven days' notice, or longer (up to three months) if this has been agreed. A worker cannot lawfully be penalised, victimised, disciplined, or subjected to any other detriment, for refusing to sign an agreement opting out of the 48-hour working week. Employers should be aware that it is automatically unfair (i.e. the employee does not have to have the required qualifying service to be able to bring an unfair dismissal claim and that the employer will not be able to defend the claim) to dismiss an employee for refusing to sign such an agreement.
The employer is required to keep an up-to-date record of all workers who have opted out of the 48-hour average.
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