Legal Article - Employment Law

Working Time Agreement

The Regulations allow for some of the measures to be adapted through agreements between workers and employers so as to allow the flexibility to take account of the specific needs of local working arrangements. There are three types of agreement:

• collective agreements between an independent trade union and an employer or employers’ association;

• Workforce arrangements where there is no trade union. These may apply to the whole of the workforce or a group of workers within it. Where it is to apply to a group of workers, the group must share a workplace, function or organisational unit within a business. To be valid, a workforce agreement must:

a. be in writing
b. have been circulated in draft to all workers to whom it applies together with guidance to assist their understanding of it;
c. be signed, before it comes into effect, either

• by all the representatives of the members of the workforce or group of workers; or

• if there are 20 workers or less employed by a company, either by all the representatives of the workforce or by a majority of the workforce;

d. has effect for no more than five years.

The employer must arrange the election of the representatives. To do so, the employer should:

I. decides on the number of representatives. This will depend on the size of the workforce or the group to be represented.

ii. Ensure so far as is reasonably practicable that the elections are conducted by secret ballot;

iii. Ensure the votes are counted fairly and accurately;
iv. Allow each worker a vote for each representative to be elected to represent them;

v. ensure candidates are members of the workforce on the date of the election or, in the case of a group, a member of the group to whom the agreement is to apply,

vi. Not to unreasonably exclude any member of the workforce from standing as a candidate.

It is possible for an elected representative to be elected for other purposes such as a representative of employee safety or collective redundancies, so long as it is made clear to those voting that the representatives were being elected for both purposes.

• Relevant agreements: any agreement in writing which is legally binding between a worker and their employer. Relevant agreements may include provisions of a collective agreement or maybe between an individual worker and employer, such as in a contract of employment.

Compensatory Rest. Some of the exceptions described above require either an equivalent period of compensatory rest, or in exceptional cases, where providing this is not possible, be given other appropriate protection. An equivalent period of rest should be considered to be a period of rest as long as that the worker was entitled to but not able to take. Compensatory rest should be provided within a reasonable time from when the entitlement to rest was modified.


Published: 03 Jun 2011


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