New provisions on working time come into force on 23 August 2013, including:

  • allowing average working time to be calculated over a reference period of up to 12 months. This will allow employers greater flexibility in planning, which should reduce the need for overtime and help keep labour costs down;
  • allowing employers to introduce a flexible working time system, under which employees may start and finish work at different times on different days (e.g. work starts between 8 am and 10 am and finishes between 4 pm and 6 pm).

These changes may be introduced under a collective agreement, by agreement with a trades union or, where there is no trades union, in consultation with the employees’ representative. The flexible working time system may also be introduced at an employee’s written request.