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Expansion of the meaning of working time

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For many employers, the concept of “working time” can be difficult to pin down. In particular, the question as to whether time spent “on call” can count as working time has been the subject of various European case law decisions over the last decade.

Working time is defined in the Working Time Directive (WTD) as any period during which a worker is carrying out his duties and is at his employer’s disposal.

Historically, when considering this issue the courts have tended to focus on the worker’s location during periods of time spent on call. However, in the recent Belgian case of Ville de Nivelles v. Matzak, the ECJ appears to be moving away from that line of thinking.

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