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Cloisters responds to public consultation by the European Commission on its review of the Working Time Directive

Cloisters responds to public consultation by the European Commission on its review of the Working Time Directive

A team of four Cloisters’ barristers, Claire McCann, Olivia Dobbie, Sian McKinley and Chesca Lord, have co-written a response to the public consultation by the European Commission in connection with its review of the Working Time Directive.  The consultation was announced in December 2014 and concluded on 18 March 2015.  Here is a link to the response document. 

It is hoped that the Commission’s review will address the impact of recognised changes to working partners since the first Working Time Directive was implemented more than 20 years ago.  Fundamental changes to the economy, technology and working patterns have impacted greatly on the way in which individuals work:  for example, more workers work flexibly than ever before, with many individuals working for two or more different “employers” under separate contracts which has obvious implications for the way in which working time is organised and monitored.  

Time Directive was implemented more than 20 years ago.  Fundamental changes to the economy, technology and working patterns have impacted greatly on the way in which individuals work:  for example, more workers work flexibly than ever before, with many individuals working for two or more different “employers” under separate contracts which has obvious implications for the way in which working time is organised and monitored.  

The current review has had an unsatisfactory and convoluted history.  During 2004 to 2009, there were extensive discussions in the European Council and Parliament on a Commission legislative proposal which would have made a number of changes to the Directive.  However, those discussions failed at conciliation stage.  The Commission’s President, therefore, announced that it would make a new proposal to amend the Directive following a two-stage consultation of social partners and a comprehensive impact assessment.  In reply to the second stage of the consultation, the main social partners indicated in May 2011 their interest in negotiating between themselves a review of the Directive with the aim of reaching an agreement which could then be implemented by a Council Directive.  However, those negotiations concluded without agreement in February 2013, leading to the Commission pursuing its current review of the Directive (including this public consultation).  It is understood that nearly 2000 replies have been received.  The timetable for the next steps of the review has not yet been published.  Here is a link to the Commission’s webpage:  http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=333&langId=en&consultId=14&visib=0&furtherConsult=yes.

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