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Employment A-Z

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Working Time

Truslove and anor v Scottish Ambulance Service UKEATS/0053/13

On call time when an employee is required to be away from home is 'working time'.

SAS required on call night cover officers to stay in accommodation within 3 miles of the relevant ambulance station which meant that officers were, in practice, away from home. There was no requirement to wear their uniform but they did have to mobilise within 3 minutes of a call out. T claimed their on-call night work was 'working time'.

Reg 2(a) of the WTR states that 'working time' = any period during which he is working, at his employer's disposal and carrying out his activities or duties.

The ET dismissed T's claim as he was not required to stay at one specific location e.g. doctors who are 'on-call' must remain at the hospital.

The EAT stated that time which is not working time is rest and vice versa. The ET had taken the wrong view of case law and should have relied on the ECJ case of Jaeger, where health and safety, working environment and improvement of living conditions purposes were underlined. The correct question is whether the person is obliged to be present and available at the place determined by the employer.

An employer specifying a location and lack of freedom to be anywhere else is the distinguishing feature. In the instant case, T had to remain within the 3 mile radius and could not be at home. Therefore, on-call time is working time.