Why is readiness important

On-call duty: you need to know that!

who in On-call service is waiting at home for a call from his employer. The work that those affected are waiting for is work that doesn't exist yet and probably never will. So far, the waiting time that one in On-call service spends, not as working time - with negative consequences for remuneration. That could change fundamentally now ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

On-call duty: what is it?

During the On-call service the employee does not have to work. But he has to go for one possible employment keep ready.

In principle, he can focus on one self-chosen location hold up. Usually these are your own four walls. But he has to be reachable by phone, cell phone or beeper and work to one in advance set time be able to record. For example, he is not allowed to go abroad spontaneously.

Also the employee can during on-call duty sleep, eat, read, watch TV. What he is not allowed to do, however: “act contrary to the purpose of willingness to work”, as lawyers put it. So drug consumption or alcohol binge are taboo.

In contrast to this, you hold yourself during one On-call service at a place specified by the employer, usually directly in the company. This is especially important when every minute presumably counts. Doctors in clinics are a classic example.

And then there are those Work on demand. While the (theoretical) work period for on-call and on-call duty is clearly delimited, this is not the case for work on call.

Here the employer can in principle at any time approaching the employee. However, the employee can refuse the shift if it has not been preceded by a period of four days.

How common is on-call duty?

Work according to an investigation by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) six percent of employees in Germany on call. That’s a total 2.4 million People.

Emergency services affect 5.5 percent of the workforce, which corresponds to 2.2 million people. Call work, in turn, must 4.5 percent of employees - that's a total of 1.8 million. Compared to the previous year, the rates have thus decreased slightly.

The most widespread are on-call and on-call services Full-time employees, less for mini jobbers and part-time workers. It's the other way around for on-demand work. It mainly affects helper jobs, for example in gastronomy.

The typical employees on call is middle-aged and male - so says the IAB, whose study is based on SOEP data. On-call work and on-call duty are even more widespread in East Germany than in the West.

On-call duty is common in these industries:

  • Security professions
  • Medical and non-medical health care professionals
  • Construction and finishing trades
  • IT and scientific service professions
  • Manufacturing jobs
  • Agriculture, forestry and horticulture professions
  • Transport and logistics professions
  • Food and hospitality professions

And: the bigger the company, the more likely it is On-call service. So she is in establishments with more than 2,000 employees according to the IAB much more often than in small businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Background: Large companies create a 24/7 availability for sure. This applies to utility companies as well as to hospitals.

Also interesting: Companies with a works council use on-call duty comparatively often, as do companies with collective bargaining agreements. The opposite is the case Work on demand much less often in companies with a works council.

Is on-call duty working hours?

Until recently, it was clear and simple: on-call duty does not count as working time. On-call duty is rest time that could be interrupted by working hours. This also says the Working Hours Act. Working hours only include the time that the employee actually spends at his or her place of work during on-call duty with his work spends.

But: The European Court of Justice ruled in February 2018 that on-call duty was very good as working time is to be seen. Namely when the employee in shortest time must be available.

The case concerned Rudy Matzak, a reserve firefighter from the Belgian city of Nivelles. Matzak was obliged to be ready for work in the evenings and at the weekend for one week a month. He had to in eight minutes at the most appear at the fire station. Matzak now wanted to be remunerated for this passive on-call duty.

Rightly so, said the European Court of Justice. In the opinion of the judges, passive on-call duty is also working time within the meaning of the EU Working Time Directive, provided that the employer temporal or geographical specifications that makes the employer in his Leisure activities restrict. This is the case with the firefighter, as he had eight minutes to appear at work.

working hours in the sense of the Working Hours Directive, it always occurs when the employee is at a location specified by the employer and has to be available to the employer in order to immediately receive the Work performance to be able to provide. It is ultimately irrelevant whether the employee has to be in the employer's premises, at home or in a narrow, geographical radius.

On-call service on the other hand, there is only then if the employee - within certain limits - freely about his abode can determine. But, according to the judges, he cannot do that if, as in Matzak's case, he has to be at work within ten or 20 minutes.

How is on-call duty paid?

Mind you, the judgment of the European Court of Justice says nothing about how on-call services must be remunerated. That is the task of the national courts, as the judges emphasized.

Usually, a reduced remuneration is paid for on-call duty. But you must at least minimum wage be. We also have one for on-call duty flat fee and surcharges (e.g. for travel times) established for each service. Here it depends on the individual case and the provisions in the employment contract or collective agreement.

But: Purely under labor law, on-call duty is not working time and therefore does not have to be remunerated. According to the ECJ ruling, it depends heavily on whether the respective service is to be classified as on-call duty or on-call duty.

In any case, the maximum daily working time of ten hours must not be exceeded, even when on call.

And one more note: The on-call duty is not considered overtime under labor law. Therefore, the remuneration paid for on-call duty must also be included in the calculation of the Vacation allowance must be taken into account.

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