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The Sustainability of the European Social Model

The Sustainability of the European Social Model

EU Governance, Social Protection and Employment Policies in Europe

Edited by Jean-Claude Barbier, Ralf Rogowski and Fabrice Colomb

This book argues that the European Social Model can only be sustained in the current economic crisis if social and employment policies are adequately recognised as integral parts of European economic policy-making. The contributing authors investigate this hypothesis through comparative evaluations of interactions of EU economic governance with national systems of social protection. In particular they focus on two key policy areas – social services of general interest and the regulation of working time – as well as covering areas such as social inclusion, active ageing policies and job quality. By combining sociological approaches with legal analyses, the book provides unique insights and evaluation of EU methods of governance.

Chapter 10: Implementation of the EU Working Time Directive in the United Kingdom

Ralf Rogowski

Subjects: law - academic, european law, labour, employment law, law and society, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, regulation and governance, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


The chapter contains an analysis of the implementation of the EU Working Time Directive (WTD) in the United Kingdom. It analyses specific enforcement problems in the context of the general approach to implementation of EU law in the UK and outlines the main implementation measure, the Working Time Regulations of 1998. The UK approach in implementing the WTD is described as a mixture of fundamental ideological opposition combined with a technocratic attitude in applying EU law. Of particular importance has been the debate about problems the WTD allegedly poses to the National Health Service and the use of individual opt-out, which had a significant influence on the application of the WTD in practice. However, the WTD has also contributed to an incremental change in working time regulations and it had a major impact on the caseload of the Employment Tribunals. In 2011 almost a third of all cases were so-called WTD claims.

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