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“Generation 2004 stands by staff on standby” yet again

Following our recent article on standby duty compensation [1], once again Generation 2004 recently stood by colleagues who were under pressure to ‘volunteer’ to set up and fulfil a standby guaranteeing to be available to work at short notice outside the normal Commission working hours: Monday to Friday 07.00-23.00. That meant that they were expected to be ready to work across evenings, weekends and public holidays as soon as any phone call was received and with no guidance on any compensation: financial or otherwise. With the support of Generation 2004, the outcome is that the service in question has reconsidered its standby needs and scrapped the rota [1].

Our position is that staff should receive financial compensation for standby duty and work.   All staff should get the same financial compensation for being available to work out of hours – whichever DG they work in and wherever they work [2].

Generation 2004 understands that Covid-19 containment measures are exceptional circumstances, but with everyone already under considerable daily stress, adding to our obligations and reducing our (already limited!) free time further erodes the fine line dividing work and home [2], a situation which is far from ideal.

If you are being asked to do standby duty without compensation – then get in touch with us [3]. Generation 2004 will stand by you.

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[1] Here is the text of the email our colleague sent to hierarchy:

Please share the detailed DG standby rules (required by Staff Regulations, Article 55 [4]) to answer the example questions below and so manage everyone’s expectations.

  1. How quickly are staff expected to react to the advisory phone call and start work?
  2. Would those working until 23.00 be excused from core-time start the following day of 09.30? (Working Time Directive [5]: ‘in every 24 hours a worker is entitled to a minimum of 11 consecutive hours of rest’.)
  3. Have staff to comply with core time and then do the additional hours? One person covering a whole day would declare 15 hours in SYSPER.
  4. Are we genuinely volunteering or obliged to serve?
  5. How do the rules apply to those who do not work full time?
  6. What financial, time credit or other compensation is provided to staff undertaking the standby duties (Council Regulations on standby duty (No 495/77 [6])).

Thanks for your help,

[2] The Central Staff Committee is also investigating standby provision [7] among the services.

[*] Update 10.05.2021: ‘A period of stand-by time according to a stand-by system is not, in its entirety, working time unless the constraints imposed on the worker very significantly affect his or her ability to manage, during that period, his or her free time. The organisational difficulties that a period of stand-by time may entail for the worker and which are the result of natural factors or the free choice of that worker are not relevant’ (Court of Justice of the European Union, PRESS RELEASE No 35/21 [8], Luxembourg, 9 March 2021, Judgments in Cases C-344/19)