Tomorrow is National Work Your Proper Hours Day 2005 and while I realise that most of my readers are here because they’re bored with, and have actually stopped, work it’s worth taking a moment to think of the colleague on the desk next to you doing more than their fair share. In fact more than five million people give their employers £23 billion of free work every year through regular unpaid overtime.
Now the UK has finally accepted the EU’s Working Time Regulations, nobody (unless you’re a special case and you should know if your are) need work more than 48 hours a week. If you choose not to work over that limit, the law is on your side and makes clear that you must not be discriminated against in any way. You can opt-out, of course, on an individual basis (i.e. not as part of a collective or workforce agreement). But you can also opt-back-in any time you like, provided you give your employer notice. The law says that notice should be at least seven days unless you have a clause in your opt-out agreement that says different and here the maximum notice an employer can require is three months.
If you’re really brave you can send your boss this e-mail: ‘I have decided to take up my legal right to opt back in to the Working Time Regulations. I am giving you seven days’ [OR LONGER] notice. This will mean that the Working Time Regulations form part of my terms and conditions of employment from [DATE SEVEN DAYS OR LONGER FROM TODAY] onwards.’ Less bravely you can use TUC’s Boss-o-Gram Machine to send them an anonymous reminder.