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Parliamentary questions
30 April 2018
E-001392/2018
Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission

The Working Time Directive(1) and the Court of Justice of the EU define the ‘working time’ as the time when the worker is physically present at a place determined by the employer and available to provide the appropriate services immediately(2).

According to the Court, ‘on-call time’ where workers are required to remain present at the workplace must be regarded as ‘working time’(3). Conversely, stand-by time, where workers are obliged to remain contactable but are not required to be present at the workplace amounts to a rest period. There are two exceptions to this rule. First, the time linked to the actual provision of services must be regarded as ‘working time’(4). Second, stand-by time with the duty to respond to calls from his employer that entail geographical and temporal constraints which very significantly restricts the opportunities for other activities must also be regarded as ‘working time’ in the sense of the Working Time Directive(5).

The correct implementation and enforcement of the EU Directives, as interpreted by the Court and as transposed into national law, is primarily the responsibility of national authorities. However, in line with Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, an incorrect or incomplete transposition of an EU Directive by a Member State could lead to the launch of an infringement proceeding by the European Commission.

(1)Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time, OJ L 299, 18.11.2003, p. 9‐19, the ‘WTD’.
(2)Judgment in case C‐151/02, Jaeger, EU:C:2003:437.
(3)Judgment in case C‐303/98, Simap, EU:C:2000:528.
(4)Judgment in case C‐151/02, Jaeger, EU:C:2003:437.
(5)Judgment in Case C-518/15, Matzak, EU:C:2018:82.

Last updated: 3 May 2018Legal notice