Working Time

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For more information on working time click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work

The UK tops the European long hours league. And is the only country that allows staff to opt out of the 48-hour working week ceiling introduced across the European Union as a health and safety measure.

Those overworked are more stressed and less productive, liable to depression, strains and sprains and more exposed to the hazards of work. Working long hours makes for a work life imbalance that can wreck home life and personal relations.

Working when tired can be dangerous and possibly fatal - studies have found driving tired can be as dangerous as driving drunk.

Trade union initiatives aim to tackle the problem of long hours and redress the worklife imbalance. The TUC's It's about time campaign aims to put long hours and worklife balance at the top of the workplace agenda.

In 2004 TUC launched Work your proper hours day where workers were encouraged to take the lunch breaks they usually work through and leave for home at their contracted time. It still runs every year.


Hazards webpages on overwork

TUC Take a Break! Your working time rights

TUC It's about time campaign

TUC Changing Times, worklife balance webpages

The Working Time Regulations 1998

Concern at working time abuses at Parseq Young people employed at a Sunderland call centre are being required to work longer shifts with fewer breaks than are required by law, a union has charged. GMB, the union for workers at the Parseq call centre on Doxford Park, is calling on...
09 June 2017
The TUC has welcomed a ruling today (Thursday) by the European Court of Justice on working time and a worker’s travel between their home and a customer of their employer. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Many bosses are already fair-minded about travel time for journeys to customers. But this...
10 September 2015
Workers in the North West did over £2.7bn worth of unpaid overtime last year, according to new analysis published by the TUC today (Friday) to mark its annual Work Your Proper Hours Day . The TUC’s analysis of official figures shows that 482,000 workers in the region did unpaid overtime...
27 February 2015
Hovis staff started the first of a planned series of strikes on 28 August over the introduction of agency workers on zero hours contracts.
31 August 2013
The union Unite is pressing for decisive policies to halt the ‘alarming rise' in insecure working.
23 August 2013
Zero hours contracts are facing a legal challenge, after a part-time worker with decided to take her case to an employment tribunal.
16 August 2013
Pressure is mounting on Mike Ashley and his Sports Direct empire over its use of zero-hours contracts for part-time employees as Unite this week demanded a meeting with the billionaire businessman.
02 August 2013
The government should look at regulating zero hours contracts, the TUC has said.
05 July 2013
The shopworkers' Union Usdaw has written to business secretary Vince Cable to seek an urgent assurance that the government has no plans to permanently deregulate Sunday trading hours in England and Wales.
17 August 2012
The government's use of emergency legislation to force through a suspension of Sunday trading rules during the Olympics has left shopworkers 'bitterly disappointed', their union has said.
04 May 2012