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Can an employer refuse to offer overtime to an employee if they fail to sign an opt-out agreement to the Working Time Regulations?

10 January 2012 #Employment


The Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Arriva London South Ltd v Nicolaou UKEAT/0293/11 has confirmed that an employer can, as a policy, refuse to offer overtime to employees if they fail to sign an opt-out agreement to the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR). 

Under the WTR working hours are limited to 48 hours a week unless an employee agrees in writing to opt-out.  Employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the limits are complied with and if an employer breaches this provision, they face criminal sanctions.

The EAT held that Arriva’s policy ensured their compliance with the WTR and therefore it was a reasonable policy to adopt.  The EAT held that: “It would be a strange result if this employer were to be condemned for adopting a reasonable policy designed to ensure that its employees who exercised their right not to opt out of the 48 hour week maintained that right.”

This is welcome news to employers who have employees working over 48 hours a week and want to ensure their compliance with the WTR.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at employmentunit@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

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