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Before 1998, the regulation of working time and related issues in the United Kingdom was primarily a matter for the individual contract of employment - there was little statutory regulation, and what few provisions did exist were confined to certain sectors of industry or related to specific groups of workers.
This all changed with the introduction of the Working Time Regulations 1998, which implement the EU Working Time Directive and lay down minimum conditions relating to weekly working time, rest entitlements and annual leave. They also make special provision for working hours and health assessments in relation to night workers. Since their introduction, the Regulations have been amended a number of times, and have been the subject of several significant and far-reaching decisions by the European Court of Justice and the House of Lords.
Maior points at issue have been whether 'on-call' time counts as working time; whether workers absent on long-term sick leave are entitled to benefit from paid annual leave; whether workers who fall sick while on holiday are entitled to have their holiday reallocated to another time; and whether a claim for non-payment of statutory holiday pay must be brought under the Regulations, or may be brought as an unlawful deduction from wages claim under the Employment Rights Act 1996.
This IDS Employment Law Handbook provides a detailed examination of the scope and coverage of the Working Time Regulations as they now stand, from the definition of 'working time' and the different types of agreement that may be used to supplement or modify the Regulations, through to the substantive provisions contained therein.
Subjects covered in depth include the 48-hour limit on average weekly working time; the right to daily and weekly rest periods and rest breaks; the right to paid annual leave; and the special provisions concerning working time, health assessments and transfer to day work that apply to night workers. Also explained are the various exclusions and derogations from the Regulations, and the circumstances in which they apply.
Finally, the Handbook examines the arrangements for enforcement of the limits and entitlements contained in the Regulations, and the remedies available to workers denied their statutory entitlements.