Recent Developments in EU Employment Law

Author:Mr Stefan Corbanie
Profession:Eversheds LLP

At a recent meeting of the EU Employment and Social Affairs

Council, agreement was finally reached after many years in

relation to the working time opt-out and definitions of on-call

time, as well as new proposals to extend employment protection

to temporary agency workers. The agreements now go to the

European Parliament for approval.

According to the Commission press release (in the absence of

the revised text of both Directives being available at the time

of writing):

The main points of agreement in the Working Time

Directive are:

on-call time to be split into active and inactive on-call

time. Active on-call time to be counted as working time

inactive on-call time may not be counted as rest time and

can be counted as working time if national laws or social

partners agree

the standard maximum limit remains at 48 working hours

per week unless an individual worker chooses otherwise


a new protective limit (cap) for workers who opt out:

maximum working week of 60 hours unless social partners agree


new cap for workers who opt-out if inactive on-call time

is counted as working time: maximum working week of 65


the cap protects all workers employed for longer than 10

weeks with one employer

workers can opt-out only under certain conditions, such

as: no signature during first month of employment, no


for not signing or withdrawing opt-out, employers must

keep records on working hours of opted-out workers.

The main points of agreement in the Temporary Agency

Workers Directive:

equal treatment as of day one for temporary agency

workers as well as regular workers in terms of pay, maternity

leave and leave

possibility to derogate from this through collective

agreements and through agreements between social partners at

national level

temporary agency workers to be informed about permanent

employment opportunities in the user enterprise

equal access to collective facilities (canteen, child

care facilities, transport service)

Member States have to improve temporary agency

workers' access to training and child care facilities in

periods between their assignments so as to increase their


Member States have to ensure penalties for non-compliance

by temporary agencies and enterprises.

Rueffert case - ECJ decides collective agreement is


In Rechtsanwalt Dr Dirk Rueffert (as liquidator of the

assets of Objekt und Bauregie GmbH & Co KG) v Land

Niedersachsen C-346/06, Polish construction workers were


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