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Overview of the Working time directive opt out letter

Protect yourself when you want to disapply the 48 hour limit on average weekly working time for employees based in England, Wales or Scotland, using this working time directive opt out letter. This letter of agreement complies with the Working Time Regulations 1998 and contains everything to make sure you observe the law, including the agreement to opt out, mandatory rights for the worker to withdraw from the agreement.

Use this opt out letter:

  • to agree that the statutory limit of 48 hours average weekly working time does not apply to a particular worker
  • for junior or senior employees
  • only for employees based in England, Wales or Scotland

This opt out letter covers:

  • the workers agreement to opt out of the 48 hour limit on the working week
  • the duration of the agreement
  • mandatory rights for the worker to withdraw from the opt out agreement
  • any consequential changes to hours of work or pay

A Working time directive opt-out letter is a letter by which an employer and an employee agree on opting out from the statutory maximum weekly working hours that apply to employees. It sets out the agreed working pattern and outlines the employee's right to withdraw from the agreement.

An opt-out letter allows you to disapply the statutory 48 hours limit on weekly working time, while remaining in compliance with the law.

Employees can opt-out from the directive as long as it is mutually agreed in writing with the employer.

However some workers cannot opt out, namely:

  • airline staff;
  • workers on ships or boats;
  • workers in the road transport industry, eg delivery drivers;
  • other staff who travel in vehicles covered by EU rules on drivers' hours, eg bus conductors;
  • security guards on a vehicle carrying high-value goods; and
  • people under 18.

Employees can withdraw from the opt-out agreement whenever they like - even if the opt-out provision is part of their employment contract. To do so, the employee must give at least 7 days written notice. A longer notice period may be agreed with the employer, but it can be no longer than 3 months.

Yes - opting out must be voluntary and the employer cannot force employees to agree on it.

When opting out, the employee agrees that their average weekly working time may exceed 48 hours a week.

The length of the opt-out agreement is decided by the parties. They can opt-out for a certain period or indefinitely.

Ask a lawyer for:

  • workers based outside England, Wales or Scotland

This letter of agreement to disapply the limit on average weekly working time complies with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Other names for Working time directive opt out letter

Individual agreement to opt out.