Working Time Regulations – 48-hour week for doctors in trainingWednesday, October 28th, 2009
From 31 July 2009, the average maximum working week for doctors in training reduced from 56 hours to 48 hours. However, in order to enable certain parts of the National Health Service to deliver adequate health service and medical care, the Working Time Regulations 1998 were amended, with effect from 1 August 2009, so that an average 52-hour week maximum applies to doctors in training in specified employments. The employer, specialist service, grade and, in some cases, rota, to which the 52-hour limit applies are listed in a new Schedule to the 1998 Regulations.
A list of employments to which the 52-hour limit also applies has been added to the Schedule by means of further Regulations which are effective from 2 November 2009.
The Regulations take advantage of an additional two-year transitional period provided by the European Working Time Directive for Member States to use where there are difficulties in maintaining health services and medical care. The 52-hour limit in the specified employments remains in force until 31 July 2011. However, the Working Time Directive also makes provision for a further one-year transitional period and this will be the subject of separate legislation if it needs to be used from 2011.
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