ECC decision on the use of daily rest periods when providing an weekly rest

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On 02.03.2023 the Court of Justice (ECC) issued a decision in Case C -477/21 regarding the preliminary ruling made in the framework of a dispute between a worker (a driver employed in Hungary) and his employer, regarding the use of use at periods of daily rest when providing a weekly rest.

1. The dispute in the main production and preliminary ruling:

Machiner, who is an employee of Máv-Start, the Hungarian National Railway Company, challenged the Mishkolc District Court the decision of his employer not to provide him with a daily rest period of at least eleven consecutive hours (which according to the directive to organize working hours should be is used by the worker for each period of twenty -four hours) when this rest precedes or follows a period of weekly rest or period of leave. In turn, Máv-Start claims that since the collective agreement applicable to the case under consideration provides a minimum period of weekly rest (at least 42 hours), which is significantly longer than the requirements under the Directive (24 hours), the employee it was by no means a disadvantage because of his decision.

Miskolci törvényszék (District Court, Mishkolz) asks the court to determine whether, according to the Directive, a daily rest period, provided immediately after a weekly rest, is part of this weekly rest.

In the decision, the court notes that the periods of daily and weekly rests represent two independent rights that pursue different goals. A daily rest allows the worker to rest away from the working environment over a certain number of hours, which not only must be consistent but also to follow the immediate period of work. The weekly rest allows the worker to rest at every period of seven days. Workers should therefore guarantee the effective use of each of these rights.

However, a position in which a daily rest is part of a weekly rest, it would emphasize the right to a daily rest, with the worker deprived of the ability to actually use a daily rest when he or she enjoys his right to a weekly rest. In this context, the Court finds that the Directive not only determines a total minimum period of time based on the right to a weekly rest, but also explicitly states that the period should be recognized as a daily rest to that period. It follows that a daily rest is not part of a weekly rest, but is added to it, even if it precedes it directly.

The Court also noted that the more favorable provisions provided for in the Hungarian legal framework than the directive in the minimum length of the weekly rest may not deprive the worker of other rights provided by this directive, and in particular the right of a daily rest. Therefore, the daily rest must be provided regardless of the length of the weekly rest provided for in the applicable national legal framework.

2. How is the issue of the length of the day and the weekly rest in Bulgaria?

The Bulgarian Labor Code (LC) provides for more favorable provisions for the employee regarding the daily and weekly rest than the minimum requirements in the directive. For example, the normal working time during the day is up to 8 hours.

According to Art. 152 of the Labor Code, the employee is entitled to a continuous daily rest, which may not be less than 12 hours. For a five -day work week, the employee is entitled to a weekly rest of two consecutive days, one of which is at first on Sunday. In these cases, the employee is provided for at least 48 hours of continuous weekly rest.

The requirements for a continuous minimum daily and weekly rest are also mandatory for employees working on a non -work day according to Art. 139a, Al. 6 of the Labor Code.

There is only known specifics in the case of a summary calculation of working hours. With them, the continuous weekly rest is not less than 36 hours (Article 153, paragraph 2 of the Labor Code). In addition, when changing the changes in the summary calculation of working hours, the continuous weekly rest may be less than the specified amount, but not less than 24 hours, in cases where the actual and technical organization of work in the enterprise impose This (Article 153, paragraph 3 of the Labor Code).

Regardless of the distribution of work and weekends, the working week may not be more than 48 hours, and the duration of the weekly rest is less than 24 hours.

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