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UK: The daily working hours are not clearly defined in legislation however, the maximum weekly working hours (including overtime) are 48 hours averaged over a reference period of 17 weeks. There are some special exemptions allowing a 26-week reference period and the possibility of its extension to even one year where a collective or workforce agreement or an agreement between the worker and employer provides for this. Workers can also opt out of the maximum weekly hour limit of 48 hours. For employees that have normal working hours, overtime usually means any time worked beyond these hours. Employers do not have to pay workers a premium rate for overtime. However, employees’ average pay for the total hours worked must not fall below the National Minimum Wage. An employee’s employment contract will usually include details of any overtime pay rates and how they are worked out. Employees only have to work overtime if their contract says so. Even if it does, by law, they cannot usually be forced to work more than an average of 48 hours per week. An employee can agree to work longer - but this agreement must be in writing and signed by them. Since the overtime rate has not been defined in the legislation, an employment contract must have information whether overtime is compulsory or voluntary, rates of overtime pay, when overtime is payable, etc. Overtimes rates are agreed on an industry wide basis or between worker and employer. There is no minimum statutory level and overtime pay rates vary from business to business. Source: §234 of Employment Rights Act (ERA), 1996; Regulation 4 of the Working Time Regulations 1998; www.gov.uk/overtime-your-rights
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