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Case law: Employees on call but required to be near work are entitled to rest periods

Employees required to stay within a particular area while on call were entitled to rest periods under the Working Time Regulations, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled. Employers must provide workers with rest periods unless they can actually show they are getting the quality of rest intended under the Regulations.

Legal Alert

This update was published in Legal Alert – September 2014

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

Ambulance crew on call during night shifts had to find accommodation within three miles of their base station so they could meet call-out targets of three minutes. This meant they could not be at home. They claimed their time on call was therefore working time under the Regulations and they were entitled to rest periods.

The EAT ruled that it was working time because the crew's time was clearly not their own while they were on duty. They were required to be within an area chosen by their employer – for example, they could not choose to be at home – and could not therefore enjoy the rest the Regulations were designed to provide.

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