EU to limit work week

The PR industry is set to be hit by EU-wide legislation limiting the working week to 48 hours, according to agency bosses and legal experts.

The EU Parliament is expected to drop the UK’s ‘opt-out’ when it votes on 17 December. This comes weeks after its employment and social affairs committee voted to remove opt-out. The law would come into force three years later.

CIPR research suggests 29 per cent of agency PROs work more than 48 hours a week on average. The industry is thought to be at particular risk, given the culture of client and media interaction in the evening.

Tania Stevenson, profess-ional support lawyer at Clifford Chance, said: ‘We are likely to see more case law on what constitutes working time, but anything that is a job requirement and benefits the employer’s business is likely to qualify.’

Edelman CEO David Brain said the regulations would cause headaches for business.  ‘It will be used in circumstances where there is antagonism between employee and employer,’ he suggested.

Brain added that he had seen little difference in working practices across Edelman’s European offices.

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