Can a worker be required to opt out of the average 48-hour working week?

No, an employer cannot require a worker to opt out of the 48-hour week. Workers can voluntarily agree to work more than an average of 48 hours per week, but the employer must not put them under any pressure to reach such an agreement. If an employer penalises, victimises, disciplines or subjects a worker to any other detriment for refusing (or proposing to refuse) to agree to opt out of the 48-hour working week, they may bring a claim for compensation in the employment tribunal.

If an employer dismisses an employee for refusing (or proposing to refuse) to agree to opt out of the 48-hour working week, they can claim automatic unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal. The employee can bring this claim regardless of their length of service with the employer.