August 05
2020
Dolores Utrilla
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13th February 2020
Employment & Immigration Justice & Litigation

AG advises a broad interpretation of ‘working time’ and recalls the principle of primacy for national courts

Today, Advocate General (AG) Pitruzzella delivered his Opinion in XR v Dopravní podnik hl.m. Prahy a.s. (C-107/19), a case stemming from a request for a preliminary ruling lodged by the District Court of Prague No. 9 (Obvodní soud pro Prahu 9).

The referring court had posed three questions to the Court of Justice of the EU. The first and second questions concerned the interpretation of the concept ‘working time’ under Article 2 of the Working Time Directive and its applicability to an employee’s breaktime, when he or she must be available to his employer within two minutes, in case there is an emergency call. The third question related to the ability of a first instance court to depart from binding opinions of higher courts when such opinions conflict with EU law.

In his Opinion, the AG suggests that the CJEU reply to the first two questions in the sense that the concept of ‘working time’ is applicable to the breaktime granted to a worker during his daily working time, during which he or she must be available within two minutes in case he or she is needed. According to the AG’s opinion, the occasional and unforeseeable nature or the frequency of departures for intervention during this break period do not affect that.

On the third question, the AG suggests that the CJEU reply that EU law precludes a national court, which must give judgment after its decision has been set aside by a higher court and the case has been referred back to it, from being bound, in accordance with national procedural law, by legal assessments made by that higher court, if those assessments do not comply with EU law.

Read the Opinion here (in French).

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