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. www.worksmart.org.uk/workyourproperhoursday


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

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