Leading regional recruitment specialist Concept Staffing has welcomed the retention of the UK opt-out from the European Working Time Directive.
MEPs had voted last December to end the opt-out from the maximum 48-hour working week that business leaders feared would have had a major impact on business across Wales and the rest of the UK.
The UK and other European countries were opposed to the move and after talks between MEPs, member states and the European Commission in Brussels failed to come to a consensus on how to proceed, the individual opt-outs will continue.
Concept’s director Karen Sharpin said: “Losing this opt-out would have been a real blow to UK plc, particularly at this time when workforce flexibility is vital to the survival of many businesses and industries.
“At Concept Staffing we work daily with thousands of employers across the UK, and we know that the flexibility of their workforce will also prove especially crucial when looking to attack the economic upturn when it comes.
“Retaining the opt-out will help ensure businesses can respond in the most effective and pro-active way to fluctuating customer demand.”
David Yeandle, head of employment policy at EEF, the Manufactuers’ Organisation, said: “Manufacturers will be relieved that they and their employees can now continue to use the individual opt-out from the average 48-hour working week following the collapse of discussions in Brussels last night.
“This ends the current attempt by the European Parliament to phase out the individual opt-out and the Government and its allies in other member states are to be congratulated on maintaining a firm position on this important issue.
“Retaining the opt-out will help employers to manage working time so that they can respond quickly and efficiently to changing customer demands and enable employees to choose to earn more by working longer hours.”