On 18 March, CEEP addressed a letter on Working Time Directive to Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility.

The letter accompanied CEEP answer to the open consultation on the revision of the WTD and reiterated a long standing public services’ employers position : for employers providing public services on a 24/7 basis, it is crucial to revise the Working Time Directive. Such a change was asked since 2003, when judgments of the European Court of Justice (SiMAP and Jaeger) had introduced a re-interpretation of the concept of working time. Those adaptations proved to often be unfit for purpose and unsustainable, entailing a growing use of opt out in public services.

The approach to a revision must be clearly based on the recognition that the world is very different today in comparison to what it was over 20 years ago, and that the Working Time Directive, as it stands, does not reflect at all those changes. A revision should be based on a complete shift of paradigm and provide a cross-sectoral framework solution to today’s employers’ and workers’ needs. To adapt and face the transformations within the labour market, the Working Time Directive should become a stable, clear and more certain legal instrument, able to give the needed flexibility to national law or collective bargaining in order to address the matters which are highly dependent of national circumstances and practice of the labour law.

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