Alan McCormack | Senior Associate

Ghostbusters! (Shift Work)

In most professions, there tend to be particularly busy times of year when staff are under additional pressure. One profession that we anticipate might have an increased level of demand for their services this Halloween season is the ghostbusting trade!

Ghostbusting requires staff to be available at all hours to deal with potential threats as they arise, so we thought it would be appropriate to provide some information on the rights of workers whose jobs involve an element of being on-call.

Under the Working Time Directive, “working time” is “any period during which a worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his activities or duties, in accordance with national laws and/or practice”. Whether or not this definition applies to being on-call has been the subject of some contention, however the case law provides that on-call time counts as working time if the worker is required to be physically present at a place determined by the employer, and is required to be available to their employer at the place of work to provide services.

If a worker’s on call time counts as working time, then they are entitled to the normal rights that they would be during any other working time, such as to be paid the National Minimum Wage and be allowed appropriate breaks.

Ghostbusters are also more likely to work at night, given the increased risk of ghosts appearing at this time. There are additional rules in UK law in relation to night working; for example, night workers must not work more than an average of 8 hours in a 24-hour period. This is normally averaged over 17 weeks, but can be averaged over a longer period of up to 52 weeks if this is agreed between workers and their employer. However, if the job involves special hazards or mental or physical strain, night workers cannot work more than 8 hours in any 24 hour period. Workers aged 16 and 17 are not allowed to work at night at all.

At Jackson Boyd, we are yet to deal with any claims involving ghostbusting, but we live in hope! However, if any of these issues affect you, who you gonna call? Jackson Boyd! On 0333 060 0705 or use our online contact form.

Alan McCormack

Alan McCormack

Employment Law Team

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