The European Parliament has voted to remove the UKs opt-out from the Working Time Regulations, meaning employees will not be allowed to work more than 48 hours per week on average over 12-week periods.
It is thought the rule will affect as many as three million workers in the UK and the CIPD has warned against a statutory restriction, claiming it is up to employers and employees to decide how to accommodate a better work-life balance.
Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the CIPD, said: "The CIPD opposes long working hours but believes a health work-life balance is best achieved through better work organisation and progressive people management.
"This is not the final nail in the coffin though as the opt-out will remain until 2012 in any case and there are further rounds of negotiations to be held with the employment ministers of the various EU countries. We urge the Government to remain firm and refrain from this opt-out to protect the long-term flexibility of the UK labour market."
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