25/07/2003

Government extends protection for NI workers

New measures to protect around 15,000 additional workers from excessive hours and unreasonable working patterns have been introduced by the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL).

The regulations, which come into operation on 1 August 2003, will affect employment sectors previously excluded from the 1998 Working Time Directive including:
  • non-mobile workers in the road, rail, air and sea transport sectors
  • mobile workers in the rail and non-HGV road transport sectors
  • offshore oil and gas workers
  • doctors in training (phased in over several years)
Starting in August, workers in these sectors will be entitled to a range of new working benefits including an average 48-hour working week; four weeks’ paid annual holiday; rest breaks; health assessments for night workers; and an 8-hour limit on night working.

A spokesperson for DEL said: "By laying down minimum health and safety requirements for the organisation of Working Time, the regulations will protect workers from excessive hours and unreasonable working patterns, which ultimately will benefit employers and workers. The regulations make a positive contribution to productivity and encourage better work-life balance."

The Working Time (Amendment No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) will come into effect on 1st August 2003.

(MB)

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