Time on call held to be ‘working time’ by tribunal

Two paramedics have won their claim that time spent on call away from the workplace should be classed as working time.

The Working Time Regulations stipulate that employees are generally entitled to daily rest of 11 uninterrupted hours.

The paramedics in this case were told they would have to provide cover on call at an ambulance station other than their usual base station. They were allowed to choose their own accommodation but it had to be within three miles of the station for which they were providing cover.

This meant that they couldn’t go home to rest, as they would normally be able to do when on call for their base station.

The paramedics took legal action after their bosses told them that the time on call would be considered rest time.

The case went to the Employment Appeal Tribunal which ruled in favour of the paramedics.

It held that the fact that they were not able to be at home made it unlikely that they would get the quality of rest to which they are entitled under the Working Time Regulations. The time on call therefore had to be considered working time.

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