EU Governance, Social Protection and Employment Policies in Europe
Edited by Jean-Claude Barbier, Ralf Rogowski and Fabrice Colomb
Chapter 10: Implementation of the EU Working Time Directive in the United Kingdom
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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