EU working time directive

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  • EU working time directive
  • Premier Icon Sandwich

    It’s down to liability, you mess up and cripple (extreme case) someone due to being over-tired the management are liable. They have failed to Manage correctly as covered by the Management of H&S Regs.

    Managers are not happy about increased risk as it will be them that pays the fine, does the time if it goes wrong. You might want to have a look at an IOSH Managing Safely course.

    In the end it comes down to “their gaff, their rules” and the only way around it is to move jobs. A lot of H&S good practice is covered by Approved Codes of Practice (ACoP) these lay out chapter and verse what should be done. HSE lay out the framework and it’s up to you to find a system that works. If it goes wrong then you/management have to demonstrate in court that the system is as good as or exceeds the recommendations in the ACoP.


    HSE will not be about time directives and perhaps they think , rightly i would assume, that everyone needs some time off work to be safe? The rules are about safety not hours per se?
    I am not certain about this

    The working time directive wont apply anyway as you are in excess of it anyway as its 48 hrs per week iirc and as you note you can “elect” to not partake in it,

    this any good –

    mentions the following from my quick skim read

    ‘Guidance for managing shift work and fatigue
    offshore’ was produced in 2008, and focuses specifically on the organization of offshore
    shift working, including day/night shift rotation, and overtime hours in the context of shift
    work (Health and Safety Executive, 2008).
    A second guidance note entitled ‘Policy on working hours offshore’ was revised and
    reissued in March 2009 (Health and Safety Executive, 2009). T

    Premier Icon Drac

    A Weekly Rest period of 24 hours uninterrupted rest within each seven day period

    There you go.

    We work 12 hours but you have to minus meal break and it’s based on average over a 13 week period, I might be wrong on the number of weeks but it is done on an average.

    Premier Icon Sandwich

    I read “build” as onshore as I would expect Rigs to be “erected” off-shore BTW.

    HR lady appears to have your interests at heart by making sure you have downtime each week. An “unusual” state of affairs, don’t knock it.


    Thanks for links. I didnt mention, we are on shore so cant pull the off shore working practices!

    Before the increase to the 12 hrs, the guys were doing 11:30 a day, 7 days a week, every week without a problem. Most of them are greedy and want the extra half an hour, but they will be worse off because they are being forced to take the days off.
    I’ll just tell them its company policy and they must stop wingeing!

    The Oil & Gas sector are very concerned with time lost to accidents and is one of the major factors when attracting clients.


    I was slow to type there!
    Sandwich, well spotted! We are onshore.
    I’m all for a weekend off. I only work every second Sunday and my usual Mon to Fri. Got to have time for my bikes too.

    Drac, I think thats what the Dragon saw too, but everyone here is concentrating on the ‘entitle’ part, thinking is isnt mandatory.
    That 13 week period is interesting, they are doing it as a 2 week period. And the 12hr days are only until Crimbo. So theoretically we could work 12hr all the time.


    Sounds like your company needs to fix more than just how it interprets the Working Time Directives if you have the guys on the ground questioning HR and the management on areas like this and whinging about not getting the hours.

    It might be worth seeing if the management chain needs fixing, or if HR need to speak to your health and safety manager.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    HR lady appears to have your interests at heart by making sure you have downtime each week. An “unusual” state of affairs, don’t knock it.

    ^ This.
    Get some work-life balance ethic going with people. I usually find that they get more done at work as a result.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    [most of the reply deleted]
    working 12 hrs 7 days/week is not great and not really safe.once you look back you will generally see that – having been there and done that. Any way not to is a good thing.


    Hi all

    At work we have a new HR Dragon and she is putting a spanner in the works. We are now allowed to work 12hr days as the job is behind schedule, but she says we cant work more than 6 12hr shifts in a row without a day off, or 12 12hr shifts without 2 days off. So thats either a Sunday off every week or a Saturday and Sunday off every other week.
    She says this comes from the EU working time directive. I cant see this mentioned ANYWHERE!
    We have all opted out of the 48hr working week BTW.

    From the site…

    ***The Working Time Regulations entitle all (* see Exceptions below) Workers and Employees to:

    A minimum Daily Rest period of 11 hours uninterrupted rest between finishing your job and starting the next day. (Workers aged between 15-18 are entitled to a minimum daily rest break of 12 hours).
    A Weekly Rest period of 24 hours uninterrupted rest within each seven day period (Young Workers aged 15-18 are entitled to 48 hours); or, at the Employers choice, a Fortnightly Rest Period of 48 consecutive hours within each 14 day period***

    I see the word ‘entitle’. Surely this just means the managment can not stop you from taking the breaks but cant make you.

    I am a foreman and my guys are constantly asking for proof. HR just say ‘look on the HSE website’. They are useless. HR, not HSE!

    Everyone here understands safe working practices and not working tired, bla bla bla, but they just want something official, written down, that they can work from.
    Rumour control is non existent on a building site!
    We build oil rigs BTW :mrgreen:


    I totally agree mikewsmith and matt. You need down time to perform at work. I need downtime to ave coffee and ride my bike! Its only a few of the guys that are wanting to work like machines, but they are after something written down by HR.

    argee, again, couldn’t agree more. She hasn’t been here a month and is already causing problems on the yard.

    So its an interpretation of the law that says about the day off after 6 days work. The Working Time Directive doesn’t mention the length of the shift, just that you are entitled to a break after so many days.
    When we were doing shorter shifts, we could work as many days as we wanted. Now they are just greedy, give them an inch and they will take a yard. Or however that saying goes.

    I’ll tell them tomorrow that its new company policy and and they must just enjoy their Sundays off!

    My firm is had happy for me to do 12 days straight, but go over the 12 in 14 rule and all hell breaks loose, escalations up through the management ranks and investigations to be expected.

    Premier Icon Drac

    You can opt out of the working directive to work overtime if the company allows it, however they can still enforce restrictions. They’ve chosen to force 6 day at work rule. Overtime is not a right the same way it can’t be forced.

    Premier Icon nickdavies

    Are your guys working just straight hours or is it 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off (or similar)?


    No shift pattern, just 12 on 12 off. There are a select few that pattern but everyone is complaining. As usual!

    Sounds like she has some sense and your workforce should be pleased that someone is looking after their welfare

    Personally never understand why anyone would opt out of the 48 hr directive

    If that much work is required companies should take on extra staff rather than using overtime


    Yeah, I’m all for a short working day. When I got offered the job, it was 0730 til 1600. With an hour commute. Now it’s 0715 til 1700 and every second Sunday for me. The overtime is at x1.5 and weekends at x2. That’s we the blokes want the hours, but in the end something will give. Either a major accident or illness. Neither one we can afford to have against the companies name.
    Thanks everyone, I did just think it was HR’s interpretation of the Working Dir. I’ll tell everyone that it’s company policy and they’ll just have to suck it up buttercup!
    Surely that should be the management that do that… Haha!

    I sign out of the directive, I do four 9hr days and we love to snap up any ot on our day off. That puts me on 45hrs which is still under what many office types work without ot. I only need a few hours one evening on an emergency call out and that’s me over the directive.

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