working time

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working time

in the law of the EU as applied by Member States, any period during which the worker is working, at the employer's disposal and carrying out his activities or duties, in accordance with national laws and practices. The average working time for each seven-day period, including overtime, generally must not exceed 48 hours. The UK government managed to secure an opt-out provision by which for the first seven years of the directive coming into force, workers can voluntarily continue to work more than 48 hours a week but not under compulsion. The directive requires that every worker is entitled to a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours per 24-hour period (Article 3). The directive also requires that Member States take the measures necessary to ensure that per each seven-day period, every worker is entitled to a minimum uninterrupted rest period of 24 hours plus the 11 hours' daily rest. A rest period is any period that is not working time, e.g. the lunch hour. Workers are generally entitled to four weeks' annual leave and at least a week of it in one block. The employer can decide, subject to detailed rules, when the leave can be taken. If a worker is required to work for more than six hours at a stretch, he or she is entitled to a rest break of 20 minutes.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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