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Parliamentary questions
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12 January 2021
Priority question for written answer  P-000123/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Chris MacManus (The Left)
 Subject: Interpretation of Directive 2003/88/EC

Can the Commission confirm whether Ireland has incorrectly interpreted Directive 2003/88/EC? Ireland will only accept standby time as working time when the employee is required to stay at home, thereby excluding any time the employee is on call, within a required radius of work, but not at home.

This is due to a narrow interpretation of the Court judgment of 21 February 2018 in case C‑518/15, which states that:

‘Article 2 of Directive 2003/88 must be interpreted as meaning that stand-by time which a worker spends at home with the duty to respond to calls from his employer within 8 minutes, very significantly restricting the opportunities for other activities, must be regarded as “working time”’.

This extract must be read in consideration of the opinion given in the same case:

‘The order for reference also uses the expression “home-based on-call time” [...]. Since, however, it appears clear that there is no requirement either to have one’s residence within the 8-minute radius of the fire station or, should one do so, to remain in that residence during the periods concerned, I have used the expressions “stand-by time” and ‘stand-by duty’ below to represent time when the worker must be contactable by, and readily available to perform duties for, the employer but need not be present at the place of work.’.

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