13 June 2008
New Working Time Directive agreed
Following discussions among European Union (EU) states at a meeting in Luxembourg, a new Working Time Directive has been agreed upon.
Under the terms of the new legislation, workers in most countries will be able to work a maximum of a 48-hour week.
However, a clause in the directive enables member states to choose to allow people to complete more hours.
The move was welcomed by Confederation of British Industry deputy director-general John Cridland, who said: "Some countries wanted to deny British workers the right to choose their own working hours, but that attempt has failed and we have retained this key aspect of our flexible labour markets."
Meanwhile, the EU talks also covered the issue of agency workers' rights.
It was agreed that agency workers in the UK will be entitled to the same pay and conditions as their permanent counterparts after being employed by an organisation for 12 weeks.