2010 Reply to 1st phase consultation of the Working Time Directive

Acknowledging that fundamental changes have occurred in the world of work over the last 20 years, the Commission has invited the social partners to reflect broadly on the kind of working time regulation the EU will need in order to cope with the challenges of the 21st century.

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Ceemet key messages

  • The management of working time is a crucial factor in determining a company's competitiveness, impacting on the organisation and production processes of a company. At a time of globalised economies and markets, cyclical changes and just-in-time production methods, working time needs to be managed in a way so that employers can cope quickly and efficiently with these challenges both in terms of the number of hours worked and their flexible organisation. During the economic crisis, it is noticeable that flexible working time arrangements have been used by many companies as a buffer that has enabled them to cope with reduced orders, thus sometimes avoiding dismissals in the short term.
  • The flexibility and adaptability of working time also contributes to meeting the wishes and expectations of individual workers through, for example, the opportunity for enhanced earnings or helping to support the work-life balance requirements of individuals. Furthermore, demographic changes and projected skills shortages are likely to maintain or increase the need for flexible working time arrangements.
  • Ceemet is pleased that the European Commission acknowledges these trends in the consultation document which takes a broader view of the world of work and the changes that have occurred since the Working Time Directive was first discussed, rather than simply tries to address some of the complex issues relating to this Directive.

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