Working Time Directive: Ministers to slash off EU red tape to save £1bn a year in major Brexit win

Ministers are exploring big changes to an EU-era statute in order to save businesses £1 billion per year while capitalising on Brexit liberties.

The Working Time Directive requires most workers to work an average of 48 hours each week, including overtime.

The Telegraph says the Department for Business and Trade is considering eliminating the obligation for employers to track the amount of hours their workers work.

According to officials, the measure may save businesses more than £1 billion every year while without jeopardising workers’ rights.

A Government spokesperson said: “This Government has no intention of abandoning our strong record on workers’ rights, which are amongst the highest in the world.

“The Retained EU Law Bill will make sure that the UK’s rules and regulations best serve the interests of the country as a whole and support workers and businesses to build a thriving economy.”

The Retained EU Law Bill, which has passed through the Commons and is now in the Lords, prepares the way for Brussels-derived laws still on the UK statute book to be repealed.

The bill had set an end-of-year deadline for the repeal of the 4,000 EU-era laws.

However, it is expected to be altered to give ministers the authority to repeal further items of Brussels legislation beyond 2023 if necessary.

The Working Time Directive is one of the most important pieces of EU legislation still in force in the United Kingdom.

Some employers believe that it reduces UK productivity by preventing companies from paying employees to work overtime during peak seasons.

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Employees in specific industries, such as the emergency services, have the option to opt out.

The repeal of the EU directive is likely to spark a fight with trade unions, who have warned that the move will impair employee well-being.