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Title: The case for the reflexive regulation of weekly working time in the UK
Author: Hobbs, R. J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis presents a study of the regulation of weekly working time in the context of the UK industrial relations system following the implementation of the working Time Directive (WTD) into UK law in 1998 and seeks to make a significant contribution to learning on the subject of enhancing the contextual sensitivity of regulatory strategies and legal mechanisms. The study offers a normative and positive evaluation of various provisions of the WTD and of reforms to the Directive proposed by the EU institutions. In particular the concern is with the provision allowing individual workers to opt-out of the 48-hour limit on average weekly working time, the provision allowing a derogation from the weekly 48-hour limit for workers whose working time is unmeasured and the provision allowing the reference period for averaging the 48-hour limit to be extended from four months to twelve months by a collectively negotiated agreement. An original qualitative empirical study, using the case study research method, investigates the application and operation of the different legal mechanisms provided for in the Directive and the perceptions of various industrial relations actors and public officials as to the efficacy of the regulatory provisions and the potential impact of prospective revisions to the WTD. This original empirical material is supplemented by a meta-analysis of existing qualitative and quantitative data that investigates the health, social and economic effects of long working hours. The empirical inquiry and normative evaluation are framed by an analytical framework that draws on insights from autopoietic systems theory and the law and economics academic literature. The thesis argues in favour of a reflexive legal strategy of regulated self-regulation which entails the retention of the individual opt-out from the 48 hour limit on weekly working hours but with more stringent conditions applying to employers’ use of opt outs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available