To protect workers’ health and safety, minimum rules are needed on working time in all EU Member States.
Under the EU’s Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC), each Member State must ensure that every worker is entitled to:
The Directive also sets out special rules for working time in a small range of sectors: doctors in training, offshore workers, sea fishing workers, workers in urban passenger transport... (There are separate directives on working time for certain workers in specific transport sectors)
The European Commission is currently reviewing Directive 2003/88/EC, by means of a two-stage consultation of the social partners at EU level and a detailed impact assessment. In December 2010, the Commission adopted a second-stage consultation paper asking workers' and employers' representatives for their views on possible changes to the Directive. The Commission also adopted a report on how the current working time rules are being implemented in the Member States and made available an independent study on the social and economic impact of the Directive.
Documentation is available on the Directive, its two forerunners, and on the 2004-2009 proposal to amend the Directive.
The following Directives were consolidated and replaced by Directive: 2003/88/EC
(This proposal was not adopted, since the European Parliament and the Council could not reach agreement on it)