7 May 2015
An Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that meetings for health and safety and trade union representatives qualify as working time with regards to the Working Time Regulations 1998.
The Edwards v Encirc Ltd dispute arose because Edwards only had 6 hours break in between his meeting and the start of his night shift. Regulation 10(1) of the Working Time Regulations 1998 stipulated that 11 hours rest be given in between periods of work.
The case therefore rested on whether Edward’s trade union duties qualified as working time.
The EAT noted that regulation 2(1)(a) of the Working Time Regulations classifies working time as when the worker is (i) working, (ii) at the employer’s disposal, (iii) carrying out his activities or duties.
While the original employment tribunal has accepted the first condition had been satisfied, it has taken the second conditions too literally, according the the EAT.
The EAT ruled that a broader definition be considered, where attending trade union and health and safety meetings are considered part of the individuals working duties, and to the benefit of the employer, in a wider sense. The claims were remitted to the employment tribunal for re-consideration, with the new definition of “Working Time”.