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News

IPSA comment on working time directive changes

International Professional Security Association (IPSA) : 22 December, 2008  (Technical Article)
Changes to the working time directive in the UK are still being considered and any changes are unlikely to take immediate effect according to IPSA
Newspapers and websites are starting to report about the likely changes to the frequently used opt-out of the 48 hour maximum working week clause, but what is the impact in the immediate and long term for the security industry?

First of all, Don't Panic! The amendments to the Working Time Directive are not finalised, they still need to go through another stage at the European Parliament. This final stage may introduce some level of compromise. Whilst many UK MEPs have voted in favour of the changes, the UK Government is against the change and is likely to use its influence where possible.

Second, if the changes are approved, there will be a three year period to comply. This will give companies time to reflect on what changes need to be made and to negotiate new contracts with clients and employees.

For those companies looking for loopholes and excuses, I'm sorry but they are one step ahead. What hasn't been as widely reported is that the amendments look also at total working hours, with specific clauses about employees with multiple employers and "the sum of the periods of time worked".

Earlier this year Infologue.com and Security Management Today started their "Make the Change" campaign about working hours and rates of pay, despite this initiative, it may now be a case of legislation "Forcing the Change". It is noted that certain companies are already implementing a 48 hour working week. We still have the issue of rates of pay - will we now be able to persuade clients to pay the rates that Security Officers deserve? We do not want Security Officers forced into the black market in order to make ends meet, but the Minimum Wage simply does not give them sufficient income in a 48 hour week.

The change is not final, but as an industry we don't want to stick our heads in the sand. Change is coming and I hope at long last it creates an opportunity for the security industry to become a financially viable career for Security Officers with an improved life/work balance.
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