European Working Time Directive

European Working Time Directive

Working Time Directive: Doctors in training Introduction

The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) is health and safety legislation and comes into effect for doctors in training in August 2004 in a staged implementation.

This deadline is not negotiable. It is fixed in law. There will be no provision to opt-out of any part of the requirements. 
Timetable of Implementation

The key aspects of the EWTD, as it will apply to doctors in training are:

Working hours per week

  • By August 2004, a reduction to overall average weekly working hours of 58 hours
  • An interim 56-hour week by August 2007
  • A further reduction to 48 hours August 2009 (this could be extended to 2012) 

Rest provisions from August 2004

  • 11 hours' continuous rest in every 24 hour period
  • Minimum 20 minute break when shift exceeds 6 hours
  • Minimum 24 hour rest in every 7 days or Minimum 48 hour rest in every 14 days
  • Minimum 4 weeks' annual leave
  • Maximum 8 hours work in 24 for night workers (if applicable)

Where New Deal maximum limits are more favourable then these criteria will still apply.

Related links 

NHS Modernisation Agency
Skills for Health FAQ
Department of Health FAQ