Telegraph readers on post-Brexit rule changes to 48-hour week: 'This must never happen'

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Telegraph Readers
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts, during a visit to the Openreach - Peter Byrne/AP
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts, during a visit to the Openreach - Peter Byrne/AP

British businesses could be released from the shackles of labour laws with Boris Johnson considering a post-Brexit overhaul of current regulations.

In particular, the 48-hour working week is one of the regulations being targeted by the Government, but the proposal could face fierce resistance from trade unions.

With the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) asking business leaders for their views on a potential overhaul, we've asked Telegraph readers what changes they would like to see to current regulations, including what they think of plans to scrap 48-hour working week red tape.

Read on to see what your fellow readers have had to say and then share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this article.

'This must never happen'

@Miss Lemon:

“This is one of the things Remainers used, as reasons they didn't want to leave, Boris must not prove them right.

“People work long enough, this must never happen.”

'Should ensure employees don't burn out'

@Ben Farrell:

"Make it mandatory for employers to pay double rate overtime for any overtime for hours worked past 40 hours and I am happy to wave away the EU working time directive.

"Otherwise no, its a good directive to ensure employees don't get burned out working excess hours without getting a healthy work break."

'Boris needs to do more than this'

@Mike Birch:

“So is it going to be 50, 60, 70 or more hours we should all be working? I always thought the idea of recording hours was so you could work out how much to pay people.

“If this is the best Boris can do with Brexit then he can forget it”

'We should not go backwards on working hours'

@Mike Smith:

“We need to improve productivity, not go backwards on working hours - greater investment in education and levelling up

“Perhaps less availability of cheap foreign labour will help.”

'Unemployment would rise'

@Ivor Stuart:

“Well, whatever state or phase of the economy we're in, there are only so many hours-worth of work. Extend the maximum hours people are allowed to work and the potential for reducing unemployment itself reduces.

“Add increasing automation to that and we'll soon be faced with more unemployed, less earners, less consumption and capitalism starts to fail.

“The wealthy business owners will have to start thinking of new ways to acquire their wealth.”

'The 48 hour law traps people'

@Andrew Wilmot:

“Great news for ambitious, hard working people who want to make something of their lives.

“The 48 hour law traps people into one job and wage, and limits their full potential to earn more, if they want, or need to.

“From leaving school and college I worked long hours, with often multiple jobs. Not because I was low paid, but because I wanted to succeed and save for my future.

“When I started up my own business, I was working for an employer full-time for income security. There were 60-70 hour weeks, and away from home some nights. I was up until midnight, or later, often started at 5am and worked most weekends to get my business going. I bought my house in six years, never had a mortgage.

“My point is that the 48 hour rule puts working people into a corner, and limits their choices to better themselves, if they want, or have ambitions.”

'Lower the minimum wage'

@Mattchew James:

“They need to scrap the Working Time Directive and the minimum wage, or lower the minimum wage substantially. Or wait until the pound weakens enough to ‘do it for us’.

“In return for this, zero hours contracts should be banned and employment agencies handicapped as they are taking a big cut of a firm’s money, every hour of every day.”

'Scrap zero-hour contracts first'

@David Barnett:

“The Anglo Saxon work ethic is very strong as long as it shows in the pay packet.

“If the 48 hours a week rule is abandoned then all hours above 48 should be double rate and any hours above 56 should be treble pay. I would think the unions would be happy with an arrangement like that.

“However, I'd be more impressed if Johnson outlawed the use of zero-hours contracts which are iniquitous even if some workers do like them.

“The whole area of the labour laws for the gig economy needs to be overhauled.”

'I’ve worked 100 hour weeks'

@Olan Bayawo:

“I want to be able to choose the hours that I work, not a lazy, part time working EU bureaucrat.

“When I was younger I regularly worked 60, 70, 80 and sometimes even 100 hour weeks. My choice to rack up all that overtime for my first mortgage when interest rates were 14 per cent.”

‘Abolish minimum wage’

@Richard Rawsthorn:

“At last, Johnson's proposing something of which I approve. I hope he goes far enough. Workers’ rights are based on the principle that an employer cannot dismiss an employee without good cause and that is tested in a tribunal. I have never understood this rule.

“Also the minimum wage should be abolished because there are so many people who are incapable of earning it. They are doomed to permanent unemployment.

“I do see the difficulty of supporting a family on the minimum wage and perhaps negative income tax would be the solution.”

Should 48-hour working week regulations be scrapped? Let us know what changes you'd like to see to labour laws in the comments below.