The Working Time Directive

The working time directive gives workers and employees in EU member states specific rights on working hours, holidays and rest breaks.


Here is an outline of what the directive currently states:


-Each day, every worker has the right to a minimum uninterrupted daily rest period of 11 hours unpaid from end of work to the start of the next  day. Once a week, each worker has the right to a minimum of 24 hours unpaid, uninterrupted (or 48 hours every fortnight). There are special cases  for those of certain ages or professions for example, shift workers, emergency workers, air workers, offshore workers, surveillance, film and TV, etc


-The legislation states that an employee cannot work for more than 48 hours per week, which is normally measured over a 17 week ‘reference period’. Again, there are special cases as above which includes contract workers who are working for less than the 17 week period. In these  situations, calculations are made in line with the contract


-Night workers must not work more than an average of 8 hours in each 24-hour period, and must not exceed 8 hours in any 24 hour period if the work involves physical or mental strain or hazard


-All EU workers and employees are now legally entitled to a minimum of 28 days paid leave each year (calculated pro-rata for part time workers)  although there is no legal obligation for the employee to take all of those days. There is also no obligation for any employer to allow more than 8  days to be carried over to the next holiday year if unused


-There is no statutory right for Employees to have paid leave, or extra pay if working, on bank holidays