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Remain or leave? - Either way Working Time will change

As the UK approaches the big vote on our membership of the EU, it’s worth considering the implications for a key piece of legislation that affects us all.

The EU Working Time Directive was introduced in 1993 and influences many key areas including maximum hours, rest breaks and holidays.

It’s clear that if the UK electorate chooses to leave the EU, then very little will change immediately.

Experts speculate that negotiating the terms of exit would take two years (or longer) and, even then, it’s possible that much of the legislation inherited from the EU will stay as it is.

However, ultimately we can’t be sure that future Governments will not look to adapt workers’ rights, as being outside the EU would remove many barriers to change.

It’s worth considering that a vote to remain does not guarantee that organisations will be free from uncertainty when it comes to Working Time.

Over the past 12 months we’ve seen UK tribunal rulings on overtime/holiday pay and travel to work time which are having significant impacts on organisations with high overtime levels or a mobile workforce.

So remain or stay, Working Time legislation remains dynamic, which adds additional challenges to strategic workforce planning.

It’s therefore important that organisations have control over Working Time and are in a position to anticipate, understand, plan and adapt to any changes which might come down the line.

Effective workforce planning and management software can provide 100% visibility on when and how long employees are working and offer tools to ensure full compliance with Working Time Regulations.

Many organisations feel exposed because they don’t have a single central repository of accurate working time data that supports governance and helps identify pressure points and risks.

Increasing visibility, accuracy and control over Working Time information also allows organisations to model future workforce scenarios using a range of variable factors and criteria.

Software enables complex variations in labour supply and demand to be modelled and tested so that the organisation can plan effectively and react quickly to various scenarios.

In addition to the technical capabilities required to manage variation, it’s also important that a ‘change-ready’ mind-set is embedded in the workforce.

Engagement and adopting a partnership approach with employees will encourage flexibility and put organisations in a stronger position to manage change, whether the UK is inside the EU or not. 

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