The plaintiff, who was working as an assistant?doctor in a hospital, was obliged to be on stand?by for emergency duties. He was running six such duties per month, which were reimbursed partly by compensatory time?off and partly by extra remuneration. Stand?by duties followed the regular duty and amounted to 16 hours on weekdays, 25 hours on Saturdays (8:30am to 9:30am Sunday) and 22 hours and 45 minutes on Sundays (8:30am to 7:17am Monday). The plaintiff spent these hours in the hospital and rendered his services, if called for. During the times he was not needed, he could sleep in a room at the hospital. On average, he was working 49% of the time of the stand?by duty. The plaintiff argued that, in the light of Directive 93/104/EEC the entire time for his on?duty service were to be considered as full?working time in the meaning of the German law on working time. The defendant was of the opinion that, in the light of jurisprudence and the prevailing doctrine, the idle time within the framework of a stand?by duty had to be considered resting, and not working time.
The European Court of Justice was asked by the second instance labour Court to rule on the question whether such stand?by duties are idle time or working time. The ECJ held that such duty?calls are indeed working time, since such work bears the hallmark of the notion of working time in the meaning of Directive 93/104/EEC. It was, inter alia, decisive that the Plaintiff had to stay at a place determined by the employer and that he had to be at the latter?s disposal to render his services immediately if need be.European Review of Private Law