Rights, regulation and risk

Jamie Harvey

Jamie Harvey


The Working Time Directive (WTD) is an EU regulation governing workers’ rights. Ok, not the most interesting start to a blog post, but bear with me. This stuff is important.


Last month the European Court of Justice ruled that time spent by workers travelling to and from first and last appointments counts as working time. Long story short, many workers with no fixed office (e.g. care workers or tradesmen) aren’t getting paid for the time it takes them to get to their first appointment, or home from their last appointment, which will now need to change.

This piqued our interest as building the WTD regulations into Rotaready (so the requirements are automatically considered) is a feature we’ve recently developed.

The WTD is pretty hefty

Here’s a basic version of the key principles:


  1. You can work a maximum of 48 hours per week (averaged over 17 weeks)
  2. You must have at least one day off per week (averaged over two weeks)
  3. You must have at least 11 hours rest in a 24 hour period
  4. You must have at least 20 minutes break if working a shift over 6 hours long

And that’s a simplified form. You don’t want to get into the details for under 18s or for night workers (or indeed for under 18 night workers). Trust me.

So what?

On top of all the rules, over 18s can choose to opt out, meaning the rules don’t apply to them. You can probably see where I’m going with this: staying compliant with the WTD when creating rotas is an additional difficulty on top of what’s an already complicated enough process. And obviously, staying compliant is pretty important.

The recent ruling by the ECJ means businesses may end up…

  • hiring more staff to cover the longer working hours
  • increasing pay to ensure wages don’t drop below the minimum wage
  • permitting more breaks
  • asking staff to opt out of the WTD

Or, they could start using Rotaready to improve scheduling efficiency and remove the headache.

Rotaready saves the day

Rotaready ensures you comply with the WTD through the features listed below:

  • Capture staff birthdays so Rotaready knows which WTD rules to apply
  • Capture whether staff have opted out of the WTD
  • WTD rules are built into Rotaready meaning automatically generated schedules will be WTD compliant
  • WTD rules are built into Rotaready’s validation and checked every time you make a change to a rota. You can rest easy knowing any issues you introduce will be flagged

Were you aware of how complicated the requirements are? Whether you’re an employer or employee (or worker), we’d love to hear from you.

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