Case law: Workers can be asked to work 12 days between weekly 24-hour rest breaks

Employers can give employees their statutory 24-hour break in each seven-day period at any point within each such period, following an EU ruling. For example, they can give one at the beginning of a seven-day period and another at the end of the next seven-day period – with the effect that there are 12 days between two 24-hour rest periods.

An employee in Portugal was made redundant. He claimed his employer should have given him the 24 hours off within each seven-day period that he was entitled to under EU law after each consecutive period of six days.

The Court of Justice of the European Union said that the rules required an employer to give a worker 24 hours of rest within each seven-day period. This could be satisfied by giving him the 24-hour rest period on the first day of one seven-day period, and give him the next 24-hour period off on the last day of the next seven-day period. There could therefore be 12 days between each 24-hour rest period over those 14 days.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Employers should consider whether they wish to spread employees' 24-hour rest periods differently across different seven-day periods, so that there are up to 12 days between one 24-hour rest period and the next

Case ref: Maio Marques da Rosa [2017] EUECJ C-306/16

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