Working Time : Ecj: Czech Legislation Not Compliant with Eu Law

European Social Policy, April 18, 2007 | Go to article overview

Working Time : Ecj: Czech Legislation Not Compliant with Eu Law


The new member states until now have been spared from European judgements on standby time. This is no longer the case. Having received a reference for a preliminary ruling in the form of a complaint from a doctor, the EU Court of Justice has found that Czech legislation on working time does not comply with EU law. The verdict took the form of a simple, unpublished order because case law in this area is clear enough (order handed down on 11 January 2007, Jan Vorel vs. Nemocnice Cesky Krumlov, C-437/05).

Working as a doctor at the Cesky Krumlov hospital (NCK), Mr Vorel contested the way remuneration for standby time was calculated. The hospital introduced three arguments in its defence. First, that it acted in accordance with the national legislation, whereby on-call duty is not considered to be actual working time, but nevertheless does give rise to some financial compensation. Secondly, it maintains that European case law is limited to the finding that on-call duty cannot be classified as rest time and lastly, it argues that discussion is currently in progress with a view to amending the 2003 Working Time Directive. The Court rejected all arguments.

The verdict is based on the permanent case law of the past few years (Simap, Jaeger and Dellas). National legislation under which on-call duty performed by a doctor under a system where he is expected to be physically present at the place of work, but in the course of which he does no actual work, is not treated as wholly constituting working time' is thus contrary to EU law. …

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