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Opting Out Of The 48-Hour Week – Employer Necessity Or Individual Choice? An Empirical Study Of The Operation Of Article 18(1)(B) Of The Working Time Directive In The UK


  • Catherine Barnard
  • Simon Deakin
  • Richard Hobbs


The EU Working Time Directive has so far had little impact on an ingrained culture of long-hours working in the UK. Case studies suggest that the use of individual opt-outs from the 48-hour limit on weekly working time is a principal reason for this. However, removal of the individual opt-out (currently under consideration at EU level) is unlikely to make much difference to UK practice in the absence of a wider review of working time policy. In particular, the UK’s individualised system of workplace bargaining is currently ill-placed to adapt to a continental European model of working time regulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Barnard & Simon Deakin & Richard Hobbs, 2004. "Opting Out Of The 48-Hour Week – Employer Necessity Or Individual Choice? An Empirical Study Of The Operation Of Article 18(1)(B) Of The Working Time Directive In The UK," Working Papers wp282, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp282
    Note: PRO-2

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    working time; labour standards; collective bargaining; European Union;

    JEL classification:

    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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