Labour Research October 2004

Features: Law queries

Time on call

Does "working time" for the purposes of the Working Time Regulations include time when we are on call?

Time on call is counted as working time if you have to remain on the employer's premises, but not if you are allowed to go home (or anywhere else). This was decided by the European Court of Justice in the case of SIMAP (see below), which concerned doctors who had to stay in the health centre while they were on call. Even time that they spent asleep counted towards working time because they were required to stay at the centre.

However, if you do not have to attend the workplace during your on-call time, then you will only be able to count any time that you were actually called upon to work.

* Sindicato de Medicos de Asistencia Publica (SIMAP) v Conselleria de Sanidad y Consumo de la Generalidad Valenciana [2000] IRLR 845

* For further information, see LRD booklet "Working time".