Working time opt-out secured
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Working time opt-out secured

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The hospitality industry still has the right to work more than a 48-hour week after formal discussions in Brussels to scrap the opt-out clause failed to reach an agreement.

The negotiations between UK government officials and members of European Parliament were meant to determine if the working week would be capped at 48 hours. But the UK and other European countries stood firm against the European Parliament's proposed new law. The British Hospitality Association (BHA) is worried that if the UK fails to retain the opt-out clause in the European Working Time Directive, the new law could have detrimental effects on hospitality businesses.

A BHA spokesperson told Leisure Opportunities: "We are very concerned as the move will prevent employees working the hours they want to work, thus reducing their level of earnings. This is not a good move at such a difficult economic time. It will also reduce the flexibility of employers organising their workforce to the best advantage so, if implemented, payroll costs will rise. "Hospitality is a 24/7 industry and this decision will reduce operators' flexibility, raise costs and reduce earnings - so who will benefit?"

The EU Parliament voted to scrap the opt-out last December causing concern among UK businesses. Earlier in 2008 the UK reached an agreement with other EU member states to support the Agency Workers Directive, giving temporary workers the same pay as permanent staff after 12 weeks in a job, in return for being allowed to keep its opt-out from the 48-hour week. According to the Telegraph newspaper, negotiations are expected to continue later this month and the opt-out clause will remain in tact until a decision has been made.

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The hospitality industry still has the right to work more than a 48-hour week after formal discussions in Brussels to scrap the opt-out clause failed to reach an agreement.
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