HSE catches just three firms

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Only three employers in the UK have been brought to book for floutingWorking Time law – 16 months after it came into force.Under the Working Time directive – introduced in October 1998 – most staffshould not work more than 48 hours a week, a rule experts say many companieswould find hard to adhere to.But figures show the Health and Safety Executive has served improvementnotices on just three employers for failing to reduce staff hours since 1998.Of those, two have cut the number of hours worked, while the third is beinggiven time to comply with the law.A further five have been served with improvement notices over breaches ofother provisions in the directive.Overall, since the directive came into force in the UK, the executive hasreceived 339 complaints. Of those, 152 have been investigated resulting in theeight enforcement notices.A spokesman denied the executive had insufficient staff to enforce the law.”It takes time for a law like this to bed down. I think we have juststarted up a cycle where complaints are coming in and are being dealtwith.” He added that improvement notices were only served if an employer fails tocomply with the law after being approached by the HSE. Prosecution would onlyfollow if this also failed.Of the 144 where no action was taken, he was unable to say how manycomplaints had been dismissed and how many needed no further action because theemployer complied voluntarily.• Meanwhile, a new survey has found only one in 20 employers is providing arange of family-friendly measures.Families and the Labour Market, compiled by the Family Policy Studies Centre,found only 5 per cent of employers voluntarily provided all four categories offamily-friendly initiatives: maternity benefits, paternity leave, childcarearrangements and non-standard working hours.Centre director Ceridwen Roberts said long hours and a lack of flexible workpolicies put unacceptable pressure on employees responsible for the care ofchildren or elderly relatives.www.hse.gov.uk Euro institutions clash over Work Time law detailA political struggle has developed between the European Parliament and theEU Council of Ministers over plans to introduce Working Time legislation tojunior doctors, sea fishermen and non-mobile transport workers, threatening todelay its introduction for months.An official EU conciliation committee has been set up in an attempt to bringtogether the two institutions, but if there is no agreement, long-termstalemate is expected to result. Its first meeting will be held next week.Officials at the council secretariat in Brussels said that MEP’s had beenpressing for strict limits on rest periods for sea fishermen, along with theestablishment of an average maximum 48 hour working week, over 12 months.They said the council – which represents EU Member States – wanted a moreflexible formula, which referred to fishermen being given “adequate”rest periods.They added that there was discord over the implementation time for bringingjunior doctors into the ambit of the legislation, with parliament wanting fouryears and the council nine. The parliament has also called for junior doctorsto work no more than an average 54 hours a week. HSE catches just three firmsOn 15 Feb 2000 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img

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