European Commission: Working Time Directive Applicable To Armed Forces

Together with the proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission published two important documents on the Working Time Directive (WTD) on 26 April 2017:

  • An interpretative communication which aims at giving guidance and clarity for the implementation of the Working Time Directive. The interpretative communication mainly reviews the case-law established by the European Court of Justice on the issue in over 50 judgements since 1993. Most importantly for military personnel, the Commission establishes that the working time directive is applicable to the armed forces. The exclusion of workers – including military personnel – must be interpreted restrictively and take into account the nature of the tasks performed rather that than the sector of employment.
  • An implementation report which assess the current state of play in the different member states. The report highlights the fact that in some Member States, categories of workers are excluded from the scope of the WTD implementation – in the public sector these are most commonly the armed forces – and clearly states that such arrangements are not consistent with the requirements of the WTD.

EUROMIL is actively involved in the issue and wrote a letter to the responsible Commissioner Thyssen to explain the particular situation of military personnel earlier this year. Therefore, EUROMIL is pleased to see these clarifications concerning the working time of military personnel at a European level and hopes for a quick implementation in national law.

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