UNITED KINGDOM: Trade union warning about health risks related to excessively long workdays

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After declining since 1998, the number of workers doing more than 48 hours’ work per week has increased by 15% since 2010, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The TUC considers that “the current rules are likely to contribute to job burn-out in the United Kingdom”. At present, around 3.5 million people work more than 48 hours per week, compared with less than 3 million in 2010. Now, the fact of working regularly at this rate significantly increases the risk of developing a heart disease or a mental disorder, stress, heart attack or diabetes. Such working hours apply especially to men, but the increase in the number of people affected since 2010 is greater for women (+18%).

The TUC asks the government to revise the transposition of the European directive on working time into British law, and in particular the so-called opt-out clause. This clause, requested by the British when working out the directive, allows an employer to have an employee work more than the authorized 48 hours per week if the latter individually accepts this.

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