Working Time Directive 2003

Directive 2003/88/EC
European Union directive
Title Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time
Made by European Parliament & Council of the EU
Made under Art. 137(2)
Journal reference L 299, 2003-11-18, p. 9
Date made 2003-11-04
Preparative texts
EESC opinion C 61, 2003-03-14, p. 123
EP opinion 2002-12-17
Current legislation

The Working Time Directive 2003/88/EC, is a Directive of the European Union. It gives EU workers the right to at least 4 weeks (28 days) in paid holidays each year, rest breaks, and rest of at least 11 hours in any 24 hours; restricts excessive night work; a day off after a week's work; and provides for a right to work no more than 48 hours per week. It was issued as an update on earlier versions from 22 June 2000 and 23 November 1993.[1] Since excessive working time is cited as a major cause of stress, depression and illness, the stated purpose of the Directive is to protect people's health and safety.


Like all European Union directives, this is an instrument which requires member states to enact its provisions in national legislation. The directive applies to all member states however, it is possible to opt out of the '48-hour working week' and work longer hours, [2] but not the other requirements.

After the 1993 Council Negotiations, when the Directive was agreed to after an 11-1 vote, UK Employment Secretary David Hunt said "It is a flagrant abuse of Community rules. It has been brought forward as such simply to allow majority voting – a ploy to smuggle through part of the Social Chapter by the back door. The UK strongly opposes any attempt to tell people that they can no longer work the hours they want."[3]


Aims and definitions


Working week

Paid holidays

Night work

Case law

The Working Time Directive has also been clarified and interpreted through a number of rulings in the European Court of Justice. The most notable of these have been the "SIMAP" and "Jaeger" judgments (Sindicato de Médicos de Asistencia Pública v Conselleria de Sanidad y Consumo de la Generalidad Valenciana, 2000 and Landeshauptstadt Kiel v Jaeger, 2003).

The SIMAP judgment defined all time when the worker was required to be present on site as actual working hours, for the purposes of work and rest calculations. The Jaeger judgment confirmed that this was the case even if workers could sleep when their services were not required.

See also


  1. formerly Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993
  2. UK Government - Opting out of the 48 hour week
  3. The Scotsman, “Britain plans court challenge over limit on working week”, 2 June 1993.
  4. See further Russell v Transocean International Resources Ltd [2011] UKSC 57, [19]

External links

Documents from the European Council, Commission, and Parliament
Judgments from the European Court of Justice
Non-governmental organization documents
With regard to the United Kingdom
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/15/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.