The government’s proposed changes to current employment law would impact Working Time Regulations in Great Britain
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has raised concerns over the government’s proposed changes to the Working Time Regulations.
The Working Time Regulations impose different limitations on the hours worked by individuals, with the aim of protecting workers’ wellbeing by ensuring they have the right to adequate rest between periods of work.
The government is proposing to retain all current protections for workers under the current regulations.
However, it proposes to remove the current record-keeping requirements for the Working Time Regulations, which requires employers to maintain an objective, reliable and accessible system that measures the duration of time worked each day for every worker.
While not averse to a broader review of current policies, the CIOB is “strongly opposed” to the government’s plans to remove the record-keeping requirements due to the potential risks to construction workers’ health and safety.
Niamh Evans, policy and public affairs officer north at the CIOB, said: “In 2022 alone, the construction industry recorded 45 work-related deaths and the industry leads the charts for the frequency of such tragic accidents.
“As the world’s leading professional body for the construction industry, we are strongly opposed to proposals to scrap the current record-keeping requirements for the Working Time Regulations.
“We understand the lure of removing what can be deemed as red tape, but the suggested amendments to retained EU employment law would only allow the restrictions on working time to be broken more widely, which could be detrimental to both the physical and mental wellbeing of construction workers.”
Current record-keeping requirements specifically support compliance with workers’ rights to a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period, a minimum uninterrupted period of rest of 24 hours in each seven-day period, and the maximum weekly working time limit.
Evans added: “By keeping robust records of working times, employers are better positioned to ensure staff are not overworked and have adequate rest periods between shifts. This requirement is vital in a high-risk industry such as construction.
“While we are not opposed to reviewing the existing policy, we urge the government not to put employees at risk for the sake of saving time on administration, and hope that there is further discussion on how workers’ wellbeing and safety can be supported through ensuring adequate rest from work.”
The government’s consultation on Reforming Retained EU Employment Law closed on 7 July.