Employers and work-life balance

DefinitionFaqsBenefitsThe big pictureRecruitment & retentionProductivity & absenteeismProductivity & absenteeismLegislationProblem solverJargon busterLatest researchCase StudiesWLB Progress

Work-life balance - Legislation

Working Time Regulations

Details about the Working Time Regulations can be found at the DTI site at: http://www.dti.gov.uk/employment/employment-legislation/working-time-regs/index.html

The Work Foundation’s view on the implementation of the Working Time Directive is outlined here

Summary of DTI Research
British employees work some of the longest hours in Europe. A high proportion of UK workers work more than ten hours over and above their c ontracted hours. The types of sectors and occupations where long hours are a particular problem include plant and machine operatives in manufacturing, transport and communication workers, managers and professionals.

The DTI surveyed a sample of the general working population and found that:

Long hours workers

  • 13% work more than 48 hours a week.
  • 3% worked more than 48 hours in their last working week.
  • High Earners
    • 60% of employees earned more than £15,000 and 44% of them worked long hours compared to 35% of the general employed.
    • 53% of managers and supervisors worked long hours compared to 40% of the general employed.
    • 25% of managers and professionals are less likely to have reached a formal agreement to work long hours compared to 46% of the general employed.

Awareness of and complying with regulations

  • 68% were aware of the laws governing the number of hours worked each week but specific knowledge was limited.
  • 34% had agreed their hours with employer.
  • 75% received formal written agreement.
  • 35% of night workers were aware of laws compared to 24% of the general employed but actual knowledge was limited.
  • 49% of night workers belonged to a trade union or staff association, far higher than 31% of the general employed. Yet only 39% of night workers were governed by an agreement concerning their night work.

Working long hours is a regular event in some organisations in the UK:

    • 49% experienced pressure to work long hours.
    • 55% of night workers usually worked more than eight hours a shift.

Full details about the DTI survey can be found on: http://www.dti.gov.uk/er/emar/errs31.pdf


© Work-Life balance part of The Work Foundation 2005