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    "If you've been injured through no fault of your own you could be entitled to compensation. If you're unsure if you could claim, I recommend you call Accident Advice Helpline."

    Esther Rantzen

    Overtime at work: European regulations


    Many of us have at one stage or another completed overtime in our occupation. Often, a company will provide a handsome financial incentive for employees to stay on for a little extra time in order to meet deadlines, targets and projects, and in the current financial climate it’s easy to see why people are attracted to committing to extra hours in the work place. However, there are strict rules and legislation regulating overtime in the workplace to prevent accidents at work and it is important to know your rights when it comes to overtime.

    Where does the legislation come from regarding overtime?

    Much of the legislation regarding overtime is derived from the implementation of European Union directives and regulation. The United Kingdom is a member of the EU and is therefore obliged to implement all regulations enacted by the EU regarding working time.

    What are the rules governing overtime?

    The uppermost limit of ordinary working time is 48 hours per week as enacted by the Protection of the safety and health of workers – Directives 93/104/EC and 2003/88/EC. Specific rules regarding the financial reimbursement of overtime are reached through what’s known as collective bargaining with your employer. However, the United Kingdom has an opt-out clause, in which you voluntarily agree to work for your employer for more than 48 hours per week. The reasoning behind this was the training of new doctors and nurses when it was found that imposing a 48 hour week was too restrictive and posed a threat to healthcare services.

    Why is overtime so heavily regulated?

    Working hours and conditions are a major concern for all member states of the EU, who strive towards improving working conditions for all. As a result, overtime and maximum working times are limited by legislation in order to help employees strike a healthy work/life balance.

    Can working too many hours cause an accident in the workplace?

    The simple answer is yes. Working too many hours is not good for either your mental or physical health, and it’s important that restrictions are in place in order to limit working times. Your employer also has a vested interest in not overworking you. If you are overworked, then your performance at work may suffer as a result and can even place you or your colleagues at risk of a work injury.

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    I’ve been working more than the maximum amount of hours for my employer without my consent. Can I claim compensation?

    If you’ve been working too many hours and you have suffered an accident as a result, then you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Accident Advice Helpline today for more information on 0800 689 0500.

    Date Published: January 3, 2014

    Author: David Brown

    Accident Advice Helpline (or AAH) is a trading style of Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited. Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with registration number 07931918, VAT 142 8192 16, registered office Dempster Building, Atlantic Way, Brunswick Business Park, Liverpool, L3 4UU and is an approved Alternative Business Structure authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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