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Too little rest did not fly

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calendar 16 May 2024
globus Sweden

Three airline employees did not receive their scheduled rest time due to flight delays. The Labour Court found that the airline company had breached the Cabin Agreement by not ensuring appropriate rest time for the employees.

An airline company had scheduled a 13-hour rest period for three of its employees at Arlanda Airport. However, the employees did not get the rest period due to flight delays.

The airline company was covered by a provision in the cabin agreement that ensures all cabin crew have at least a 13-hour rest period. The question before the court was whether the agreement should be interpreted as 13 scheduled rest hours or 13 actual rest hours.  

Delays or no delays

The company breached the cabin agreement because the three employees had received less than 13 hours of actual rest time. It did not matter that the airline had scheduled an appropriately long rest period.

The wording of the agreement did not support a difference between scheduled and actual rest periods. The court noted that cabin crews are forced to continue working despite delays, but this should not impact the minimum rest period until their next flight.

IUNO’s opinion

Employees have protected rest periods that companies must respect. Therefore, companies must track employees' overtime and on-call time. This applies whether the employee works full-time or part-time. We have previously written about an EU ruling from 2019 that established that companies must track employees’ working hours here.

IUNO recommends that companies that do not already have one implement a system for tracking employee overtime as soon as possible. The system must comply with existing employment and data protection rules. Failure to comply with the working hour rules could result in a sanction fee being paid for each hour of unlawful working time.

[The Swedish Labour Court’s decision of 3 April 2024 in case 24/24]

An airline company had scheduled a 13-hour rest period for three of its employees at Arlanda Airport. However, the employees did not get the rest period due to flight delays.

The airline company was covered by a provision in the cabin agreement that ensures all cabin crew have at least a 13-hour rest period. The question before the court was whether the agreement should be interpreted as 13 scheduled rest hours or 13 actual rest hours.  

Delays or no delays

The company breached the cabin agreement because the three employees had received less than 13 hours of actual rest time. It did not matter that the airline had scheduled an appropriately long rest period.

The wording of the agreement did not support a difference between scheduled and actual rest periods. The court noted that cabin crews are forced to continue working despite delays, but this should not impact the minimum rest period until their next flight.

IUNO’s opinion

Employees have protected rest periods that companies must respect. Therefore, companies must track employees' overtime and on-call time. This applies whether the employee works full-time or part-time. We have previously written about an EU ruling from 2019 that established that companies must track employees’ working hours here.

IUNO recommends that companies that do not already have one implement a system for tracking employee overtime as soon as possible. The system must comply with existing employment and data protection rules. Failure to comply with the working hour rules could result in a sanction fee being paid for each hour of unlawful working time.

[The Swedish Labour Court’s decision of 3 April 2024 in case 24/24]

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Anders

Etgen Reitz

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Etgen Reitz

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