What is a workforce agreement on working hours?

A workforce agreement is an agreement between an employer and its workers regarding the application of certain provisions in the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833). A workforce agreement relating to working hours must be in writing, have effect for a specified period (not exceeding five years) and apply either to all members of the workforce or to all members of the workforce who belong to a particular group - excluding workers whose terms and conditions of employment are provided for in a collective agreement. Any collective or workforce agreement that purports to override an adult worker's right to opt out of the 48-hour week will be null and void.