HC Deb 14 June 2000 vol 351 c659W
Mr. White

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the future of the UK opt-outs under the EU Directive on the protection of young people at work. [126395]

Mr. Alan Johnson

The Directive on the Protection of Young People at Work (94/33/EC) provides a time-limited opt-out for the UK from certain of its provisions. The opt-out expires on 22 June 2000 and the UK will not be pursuing an extension. The Government will be undertaking a full consultation of all interested parties on proposals for the necessary amendments to the Working Time Regulations, in order to give effect to the previously excluded provisions in UK law. We will seek views on the most appropriate use of the derogations which are available in the Directive, in order to balance the proper protection of young people from being required to work long hours against the need to avoid unnecessary burdens on business and to respond to practical problems in particular areas and sectors.