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EDITIONS
Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 16:25 GMT
Crackdown on long hours culture
Junior doctors
Junior doctors will be covered by Working Time Directive
Junior doctors and some transport staff will be brought within the Working Time Directive during 2003, under government plans unveiled on Thursday.


We want to extend protection to more workers but also want to ensure their employers can cope with the changes

Alan Johnson, employment minister

In total, the proposals will extend the regulations - aimed at improving working conditions - to about 770,000 workers.

Consultation will now take place on how these measures should be introduced.

The government is obliged by law to extend the working time regulations to some sectors that are currently exempted, by August 2003.

Rest breaks

This announcement would extend existing Working time regulations to the following workers:

  • Non-mobile workers in road, sea, and inland waterways transport and sea fishing, for example baggage handlers, ticket inspectors, and check-in staff
  • Junior doctors
  • Workers in aviation not covered by the Aviation Directive
  • Railway workers - both drivers and ticket inspectors
  • Offshore workers, such as oil rig workers

The regulations, as they currently stand, involve:

  • An average 48-hour working week
  • Four weeks' paid annual holiday
  • One day's rest in seven (or two in a fortnight)
  • 11 hours' rest between working days
  • A 20-minute rest break if the working day exceeds six hours
  • Health assessments for night workers
  • An eight hour limit on night working

Announcing the consultation, Employment Minister, Alan Johnson, said: "We want to extend protection to more workers but also want to ensure their employers can cope with the changes.

"This consultation is not about whether we extend this protection but exactly how we do it."

The British Medical Association said it was negotiating with the Department of Health over issues such as rest breaks.

"The Working Time Directive has huge implications," a spokesman said.

Work-life balance

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29 Apr 02 | Business
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