Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Local and regional governments as employers

Working time - 01.04.2004

Commission's proposal on working time : CEMR deplores lack of clarity
"A good document but several key points need clarification". This is CEMR's position on the communication from the Commission on the organization of working time.
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions Employers' Platform (CEMR-EP), as a full social partner at community level, calls on the Commission to clarify the intended definition of "working time".
Recent rulings by the European Court of Justice (SIMAP judgement and Jaeger jugement) have made the issue more complex. In the case of the Jaeger judgement, CEMR' Employers' Platform is concerned about the Court's interpretation of what constitutes working time and their position on the granting of compensatory rest. Tough the Council directive limits the working time to 48 hours a week, in the Jaeger ruling the European Court of Justice has interpreted the directive as meaning that working time is the time you spent at work, including resting or sleeping time in the workplace.
This interpretation could have a dramatic impact on local and regional governement who could be forced to either recruit more staff (fire-fighters, ambulance, security...) or to reduce the cover of their services.
CEMR's Employers' Platform believes that originally the Council directive was meant to have a health and safety effect by limiting the time spent working; it was not meant to give a precise definition of working time.
CEMR-EP opposes the abolition of the "48 hour opt-out". It supports the principle that the opt-out must be a voluntary action by an individual employee, and that the employee's agreement should be free and informed.
For the full position paper, please click here
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