Health: Working Hours

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:21 am on 25 October 2007.

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Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 11:21, 25 October 2007

My Lords, workers cannot be compelled to work more than 48 hours a week because they have this protection. They can exercise their own choice and opt out—and, as my noble friend indicated, very many do. We recognise that the pressures on some workers to opt out may not be wholly healthy but a reflection of their very low earning power per hour. The Government emphasise that we need to strike a work/life balance that guarantees that sufficient leisure and time at home are available to bring up children. We are concerned that excessive hours can interfere with that. However, workers who are unfairly treated have recourse to tribunals, as my noble friend indicated.