However, this concession has constantly been under threat and was
widely anticipated to be abolished completely or phased out over
time. The opt-out will now be reviewed again in 8 years time.
Commenting on this latest
development, Lisa Jinks, an Associate from Greenwoods' Employment
and Employee Benefits team said: "The continued right to use the
opt-out, will be reassuring to UK employers, allowing them
flexibility to cope in busy periods. The new agreement does however
contain some conditions to ensure that this flexibility is not
abused - this is likely to mean that the UK government has to
implement some health and safety measures giving further protection
"Note however, that opt-outs
contained in contracts of employment run the, albeit small, risk of
being challenged as unenforceable due to the lack of "freely given"
consent by workers."
"The issue of "on-call" time has
also been addressed and clarified in this latest EU agreement - this
primarily affects the medical professions and key emergency
If you would like clarification on
this issue or would like to discuss any employment issues affecting
your business, please contact a member of Greenwoods Solicitors
LLP's Employment and Employee Benefits Team on 01733 887700.
Community Website - June 2008