The European Commission has opened a consultation on Working Time with a view to revising the Working Time Directive. This is triggered partly by recent ECJ decisions dealing with 'on-call' working time, and partly by a perception that the opt-out is being abused by employers or member states (primarily, according to the consultation document, by UK employers!).
The consultation asks for responses on 5 main issues, with a view to a future revision of the Directive:
- the length of reference periods currently four months, with certain provisions allowing for 6 months or a year;
- the definition of working time following recent European Court of Justice rulings on time spent on call
- the conditions for the application of the opt-out
- measures to improve the balance between work and family life
- how to find the best balance of these measures.
The consultation closes on 31st March 2004.