Small business groups have welcomed a decision which will allow individuals the right to opt out of the EU Working Time Directive.
The Forum of Private Business (FPB) believes the decision by Finland, which holds the rotating EU Presidency, will keep the UK's labour market flexible.
Finland had drafted a compromise aimed at breaking the deadlock over the scrapping of the opt-out, which would include tighter restrictions on its use. However, it decided not to press ahead after a minority of member states said the compromise did not impose enough restrictions.
FPB chief executive Nick Goulding said: "We are glad UK firms can continue to make use of the opt-out. We hope the current presidency and the upcoming German presidency do not take this situation as a mandate to impose even more burdens."